Written by: Tammy Salvo
Business Intelligence (BI). An effective business tool or just another buzzword, which will soon be replaced with some other trend? We think not! However the approach one takes to BI or measuring business performance should not be taken lightly. The sheer concept of developing a Big Data strategy can be as overwhelming as the amount of data itself.
As BI quickly evolves from buzzword to operational necessity, firms must implement analytics to empower decision-making throughout the entire enterprise. Why the sense of urgency? In today’s competitive market firms must gain a competitive advantage. They realize they must have Intelligence-On-Demand to assess operational performance in order to deliver more creative, efficient, and cost-effective services to their clients.
One-Size Does Not Fit All
Since BI solutions are not one-size-fits-all, it is important to take a strategic approach to defining the needs and creating a plan to launch a successful program. As the first part in a three-part series, we will begin with defining the need. Let’s walk through 5 quick steps to answer the question, “Why do we need a BI solution?”
- Why do you need a BI solution?
Grab some coffee, close the door, and take time to think about this step in great detail. Can the firm continue to maintain status quo and reach operational goals? Our experience has shown most firm analytics are limited to financial reporting leaving other business units lacking in any advanced reporting capabilities. Is your firm in a similar reporting situation? Describe the efficiency created by eliminating restricted, static reports generated through lengthy processes. Or the empowerment provided by delivering “Intelligence-On-Demand” to business users enabling direct access to the information they need to make decisions. Define how a better system for storing, saving, and accessing historical data improves performance AND decrease costs.
- What is your objective?
Create your Top 10 list of reasons for implementing a new BI solution. What operational improvements do you want to accomplish? How will you measure success? What challenges are you striving to overcome? Where will this solution save the firm time, money, and resources? Outline what business objectives will be delivered and what business needs will be addressed. Now you’re ready for Step 3.
- What is your current state?
Here is where you’ll evaluate your current BI strategy – processes, people, costs, and technology. Assess how information is currently managed and/or governed, what solutions already exist (i.e. finance, marketing), who the business users are, and associate which business users need access to which information. Create a library of data sources, systems, and platforms as well as the KPI’s currently initiated. If there are special calculations and customized reports, make note of these as well. This step will serve as the foundation of your business requirements.
- What is the current culture regarding BI?
Depending on the corporate culture, you may be either heading into battle or becoming a Data Hero to elicit technology change. If your culture is one of innovation, pivot every decision, discovery, and technological advancement towards this common theme. Either way, you need to be prepared, and understanding is the foundation to preparation.
- What’s missing currently?
Time to perform a Gap Analysis – explaining the current state (completed in Step 3) against your desired future (outlined in Step 1), and determining what is needed to bridge the gap. You need enough information to capture executive buy-in and sponsorship (which we will address in more detail in Part 2), but not so much that your audience becomes a herd of dear in headlights.
So, time to take a breather and digest the information. Although we are dealing with implementing a Big Data Strategy, the process must be done in actionable, baby steps. We will move to Part 2 – The Planning Phase, in our next blog post. Stay tuned!
Helm360 takes the guess work out of business analytics while significantly reducing costs and processing times of advanced reporting initiatives. Leveraging the most state-of-the-art technological advancements, Helm360 allows businesses to view data in real time. Our team of highly innovative, passionate, and intelligent people that thrive on ingenuity are committed to delivering exceptional solutions and services that exceed expectations.