A solid business intelligence strategy has the potential to completely transform your business if done right.
If you choose the wrong strategy or botch the execution, you are throwing away a ton of time and money that your business doesn’t have to waste.
How, then, can you implement a business intelligence strategy that works? Keep reading to discover the answer!
Create a Business Intelligence Strategy Roadmap
When you’re traveling somewhere new, how do you know that you’re headed in the right direction? You consult a roadmap, of course. And a roadmap is exactly what your business intelligence approach needs. To create such a roadmap, you must understand a variety of different factors. One of those is your current corporate strategy. By knowing what direction your company is currently moving in, you can make sure that your business intelligence solutions don’t contradict that plan.
You should also complete a scope analysis involving your BI plans and your business. Who is going to be part of this BI implementation and who is not going to be? And will there be anyone who is affected, but only temporarily? You’ll also need to understand what KPIs you need to meet and how you will measure them. We’ll dive more into this later, but this basically boils down to tracking the right data and using it to verify that your approach is working. With all of these factors in place, you can finally articulate the overall vision behind your business intelligence approach and goals. Such a document allows you to make sure that everyone from your subject matter experts to your key stakeholders is on the same page regarding this project.
Business Intelligence Visualization Strategy
Do you know the three magic words that have defined how we’ve had to approach data in the last decade? “Make it visual.”
The truth is that the raw numbers behind data will make heads spin for consumers and team members alike. But by making that data visual, you can create a compelling narrative and also allow everyone to use your business intelligence implementation to its full potential.
That’s why it’s important to develop a visualization strategy. The heart of such a strategy is deciding on which metrics you need to feature in your BI dashboard and deciding what that visualization is going to look like.
Obviously, both of these decisions hinge on the chief audience for your business intelligence implementation. Upper-level executives and your sales team are going to have different needs and priorities and will each require a unique visualization strategy.
Speaking of upper-level executives, the next step is deceptively simple: you need to get an executive to sponsor each BI solution before you implement it. Doing so is important to your project on multiple levels. On the most basic level, executive endorsements add extra legitimacy to what you are doing. You’ve basically got one of the most important people to sign off on your ideas, and this lets you borrow some of their clouts when you’re trying to get your BI solutions off the ground. On a broader level, though, executive sponsorship can change the entire culture surrounding your workplace. It helps cement the importance of data-led solutions and ultimately helps to get more people on board (especially if your solutions address some of the concerns of those executives).
Understand and Define Key Metrics
We’ve talked a lot about the importance of data and using a data-centric approach. But what is all of that data really doing? You should be collecting data from a wide pool of sources and comparing it to your KPIs. Before you can do that, though, you need to really understand and define the key metrics. Doing this is easier said than done. For example, if you try to track more than 20 organizational KPIs, it can get confusing. So you need to establish KPIs that track everything important without creating unwanted redundancy. Fortunately, you don’t have to do all of this in a vacuum. By investigating what reports were more effective in this past (and which were not), you can establish the most important KPIs for your business intelligence solutions.
Your Business Intelligence Integration Plan
In many ways, the final stage of planning is the integration plan. This is when you take all of your data, corporate goals, and numerous KPIs and figure out how all of it fits together.
Part of any good integration plan is considering the software that your business already uses. If you rely heavily on SaaS software, for example, then you’ll want to use BI software that plays nicely with your existing programs.
Many businesses use customized software to help accomplish their day-to-day goals. If this describes your business, then your team needs to make sure that your business intelligence integrates well with that custom software instead of causing a disruption.
You may need to contact some professional consultants to get everything working. But once your integration plan comes together, your business intelligence implementation will be complete.
Call in the Experts
Where does a successful business intelligence strategy come together? Some would say this happens when you first design your goals and overall vision for your company. However, a winning strategy doesn’t really start until you have the right team in place.
Assembling such a team is easier said than done. For example, you want team members from multiple divisions to maximize your collaborative potential. At the same time, you must ensure that everyone participating is a genuine subject matter expert.
It takes time to assemble such a team, but the results are worth it. You’ll have a diverse array of experts in multiple fields who understand business intelligence from multiple angles. In order to develop robust solutions, you must start with as much information as possible, and this is what a good team of experts brings to the table.
Business Intelligence Strategy: When Things Just Work
Now you know how to an effective business intelligence strategy. But do you know who can make sure that strategy works?
We help companies integrate business intelligence with the entire stack of Microsoft technologies. To see what we can do for your own business intelligence implementation, contact us today!