How To Build Business Intelligence Strategy and Roadmap
With the growing significance of Business Intelligence, businesses from all over the world are making efforts to leverage technology using different Business Intelligence strategy. It is common for people in management to jump on the bandwagon considering all the benefits you can get from BI.
Not investing in BI is equivalent to losing market share, losing the competitive edge among significant players, missing key opportunities, and hundreds of other things.
Now, as businesses rush to adopt the BI Managed Services and make critical decisions based on it, it is imperative to understand that having a concrete BI strategy precedes the implementation like any other department.
In this post, we discuss the steps you must follow to build a concrete strategy and the roadmap to implementing BI in your company.
Business Intelligence Strategy & Roadmap
1. Have a BI vision before implementation
There are no bounds to what you can achieve with Microsoft Power BI. It is common for users to feel overwhelmed while building a successful Business Intelligence strategy with the capabilities and jump into getting everything done after analyzing data and making decisions.
You can literally involve BI in every department of your company and optimize things, but basic business principles would say otherwise.
You have to make sure by analyzing and sorting your company’s departments and Power BI POC (Proof of Concept) that need immediate and the most attention.
- It is imperative to start by analyzing key business drivers.
There are specific areas that need the most attention: sales, operations, or HR for your business. You have to then align the BI processes with your company operations so you can automate critical decisions.
Opportunities will arise in each department of your company, but only after you have optimized the critical business drivers will you be able to focus on other aspects that will enhance the results.
2. Involve the management at Day 1
A meeting of the management should happen before building the BI strategy. Every member of the senior management will have specific priorities and a vision for improvement including setting up System Governance.
You have to make sure that the strategy is aligned with every member of the management’s vision. The head of the department can then give you the critical challenges in their department, which can result in significant changes altogether when solved.
This will help you form the priority list!
Iterations in the Business Intelligence strategy will happen like in any other strategy. When you have the most critical deliverables in hand, you will also have the things to improve if deliverables are not met.
This will ensure that you do not focus on less important things while the main ones don’t get attention.
3. Establish a governance mechanism
Like any other operation, you need to make sure to remain on top of your strategy at all times.
There has to be a specific department allocated to Bi along with executives managing the operations.
The governance department must ensure the quality of data that comes and leaves the system. The impact of the insights and the changes that are made should also be evaluated so that continuous improvements are made, and goals set in the strategy are met.
4. Funding the operations
Planning the funding of the BI operations should be planned well in advance as problems in the future can disrupt the whole system.
Sponsors need to be selected and given executive powers to make decisions at regular times to provide a seamless flow.
It is common for companies to choose the CIO or the CTO as the BI strategy’s funding manager, which is technically the wrong approach. The CTO and CIO are in the best position for governance and making strategy, but the person best suited for managing the finances is the CFO or the CMO.
The funding manager should become an executive who managers the bottom line and takes a holistic view of the organization while making funding decisions as compared to the CTO/CIO, who would have just the technology part in mind.
5. Bridging the gap between the operations and the Data team
One of the biggest challenges faced by organizations while planing a Business Intelligence strategy is the collaboration of different teams of the company.
When the data team gets insights from a department’s specific data, you have to ensure proper transfer of not only data but also the insights.
The way data is presented and the way teams understand it makes a big difference in implementation. These implementations usually take years for companies to master, and you can accelerate the process with BI training and planned collaboration.
There should be uniformity in the way insights are presented to teams, and the governance department must make sure that the data team provides actionable steps along with insights.
Some of the critical areas to manage and govern are –
- Sources of data which is fed to the BI team
- The types of insights that are drawn
- Priorities of the data team for finding solutions to the critical business drivers
- How insights are presented to the operations team
- The inclusion of actionable insights and steps
- The number of opportunities found in every sector
- The status of changes happening in operations
- The iterations needed and currently being done in the BI strategy
6. Measuring the success you get
Another critical component of your BI strategy and the roadmap is how you measure the success of your efforts.
Business Intelligence strategy is a long term strategy for your business, and you will make hundreds of iterations before building the perfect strategy that matches your business needs.
Your strategy must include advanced predictive analytic capabilities that define the way you define the success of BI initiatives.
Some of the examples that will help you better understand the process –
- Increased sales when you implement sales insights and insights about the target audience
- Reduced time of production of products after getting insights into the processes which can be improved
- Measuring the increase of link clicks to your landing pages after you analyze and gain insights about improvements on your landings pages
- Increase of employee satisfaction surveys after you get insights about areas to improve in HR
7. Identifying KPIs For Business Intelligence strategy
KPIs or key performance indicators are values that help you calculate the growth and improvement in different sections.
KPIs of all departments should be aligned to the Business Intelligence strategy so you can track the progress and not get lost after a few months of implementation.
- Make sure to take care that you do not have too many KPIs, or basically KPIs for everything in the company. It is luring to optimize each section of the company, but just like the broad-level BI strategy, you should have KPIs for business drivers!
8. Building the perfect Data dictionary
It is common for different departments of a company to have different definitions for Industry jargon. Terms like retention rate, gross margin, lifetime value of a customer can have different meanings.
It is imperative to define the meanings for specific terms so that all members of your team think alike. Measurement of improvements can go for a toss if you don’t have standardization in your processes.
9. Tools and training
BI is new to businesses and having the right tools and training is as important as its implementation.
One of the biggest problems faced by modern companies is the resistance to data insights and a culture of making decisions on gut feelings rather than data.
Also, if your employees are not equipped with the right tools and knowledge, they are bound to look for alternatives. Another issue lies in the proper usage of software and leveraging the features.
Training your employees and enlightening them of the best features will help you build a robust strategy. Effective Power BI consulting will help you to leverage the software and remain on top of data insights. Getting lost in data is what happens without getting the right training.
A professional Power BI consultant will help you identify opportunities. Choose the right set of features according to your Industry and goals. The consultant will help you avoid mistakes and use the software in a manner that directly results in revenue growth!
We have been helping hundreds of companies achieve their goals with the power of Power BI. Contact Us to know how we can help the company become a data-driven organization!
10. Refine your data
Another part of your strategy should be the processes of cleaning your data on a regular basis.
American businesses lose millions of dollars every year because of the low quality of data.
Governance on the data sources should be maintained, and regular checks will help make sure issues are avoided.
The ROI you get from your data efforts and the quality of insights you get will also depend on the quality of data you feed to Power BI. Also, make sure not to overemphasize this part and devote considerable time and effort to maintaining a healthy flow between all channels for a profitable Business Intelligence strategy.
Now that you know all the essential steps to be taken, it is time to build a roadmap. Your roadmap to implementation should consist of each step that needs to be taken.
Start now by building your strategy and take the first step to data success starting today!
With over 25 years of experience in Information Technology and Management Consulting, Errin O’Connor has led hundreds of large-scale enterprise implementations from Business Intelligence, Power BI, Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, IT Security, Azure and Hybrid Cloud eﬀorts for over 165 Fortune 500 companies.