Part of company growth involves insight into your operations, sales data, customer behavior, and more. If you can identify opportunities and trends, you can make the right business decisions.
However, today’s companies are often overwhelmed with data. They have it but don’t know how to use it to their advantage. This is where a business intelligence (BI) strategy comes into play.
How can you leverage BI and create the right strategy for your company’s goals? These tips from a business intelligence consultant can help you identify the right direction for your goals. Knowing how to harness your data can help you measure business performance and create a roadmap for growth.
What is Business Intelligence (BI)?
Business intelligence data analysis turns your data into something meaningful. Rather than existing in silos, BI tools can integrate data and present findings in reports, dashboards, graphs, and more. A BI strategy implementation involves using that data to create actionable goals.
Capturing the data is not the problem. The quality and integrity of the data is always a concern, and businesses should plan to address these issues. But the real focus of BI is giving that data a purpose.
What Would a Business Intelligence Consultant Recommend?
Trends in business intelligence (BI) have shown an increased emphasis on data quality, data discovery, visualization, and data governance. However, the data itself is only one part of the equation. Putting data to work means asking the right questions and knowing how to analyze the information.
Here are some tips a business intelligence consultant would recommend for forming your business intelligence strategy.
1. Keep Your Eyes on the Big Picture
You may have an immediate problem that you need to solve and want to use BI to get there. This may work as a short-term solution. However, you may also find that you put a lot of time and energy into addressing one issue, only to find that it will not help with future problems.
Part of your business intelligence strategy should focus on solutions that can answer many questions over time. Your business intelligence should be adaptable as your company grows and goals change.
Most importantly, your business intelligence should align with your overall business strategy. Whether you are looking to improve operations, increase sales, or provide more efficient service to your customers, your business intelligence analytics should be able to answer identify the relevant data for your goals.
2. Involve the Right People
No matter the size of your business intelligence team, you need to involve a group willing to put changes into practice. Your team should include several roles:
- People who are experts at using tools to retrieve and display data
- People with the right insights to interpret the data
- People who can support the organization by putting the data into practice
Your organization may need training across multiple departments. Your business staff has to understand that the data will help them make better business decisions. If you maintain a strong relationship between your business staff and your business intelligence team, you will have the most success from your business intelligence strategy. Of course, depending on the size of your organization, some of these roles may overlap. You may also find that you need an outside business intelligence consultant for expert guidance in data.
3. Have an Agile Mindset
An agile mindset helps to break down a large project into smaller, more manageable deliverables. Rather than forming a BI strategy that you plan to roll-out in six months, you would take the approach of “What can we accomplish in the next 2-3 weeks?” These short increments are often referred to as “sprints.” An agile project management methodology allows for constant feedback from your business staff. If one aspect is not meeting the business need, it can be identified and remedied quickly, before too much time and effort are spent on something that doesn’t work. If you use an agile approach, your team will need to collaborate for the current sprint to ensure the deliverable are met. An overall project lead will make decisions about the deliverables for the next sprint based on priority. Small wins will help your BI team and business staff builds confidence. You’ll be able to see results quickly and gain momentum in your overall business intelligence strategy.
4. Identify the Pain Points of Business Staff
You may have business staff that already know what data they need to make informed decisions within their departments. They may be manually compiling data in Excel or preparing reports on their own. Unless this is brought to the attention of the business intelligence team, no improvements can be made. The BI team should take the time to talk with leaders within each department and find out what questions exist today and how BI solutions can help. If the “workarounds” that staff are using are needed for their jobs or part of overall company goals, they should be implemented into BI strategy. It may also be that some of these one-off methods can be replaced with more robust analytics and reporting.
5. Find the Right Technology
Technology never stops changing, and your business intelligence strategy should involve staying current on tools. Something that works right now may shift within a few years and be replaced by an even better solution. The tools used may include any or all of the following:
- Data warehousing
- Data analytics
- Ad hoc reporting
- Data discovery or data mining
The technology used should be tightly integrated so that your data does not end up in silos. You need to consider scalability and how these products impact your business staff. A business intelligence consultant has the experience to work with you to explore which combination of tools and services will set your business intelligence analyst up for success.
Get Access to an Expert Business Intelligence Analyst
Data is accumulated with incredible speed and volume, and your company may be unable to uncover actionable insights. They may have the right tools in place, such as Microsoft SQL Server, SSRS, and Microsoft Power BI, but lack the depth of knowledge needed to take the data to the next level.
Experts at IncWork can help you visualize and analyze your data. We can pair you with the right business intelligence consultant for your unique needs. Request a call today to learn more about how a business intelligence consultant can help you.