Business Intelligence Stating Software Available Resource – Business intelligence is the process of turning raw data into useful knowledge It allows you to collect data from various sources, organize it, and then enjoy analytics. Do you need it? Probably yes, as this is the most balanced view of the business you can find But as you can imagine, embarking on such a complex endeavor requires some preparation and we hope to help you with that And if you have already introduced some BI systems in your company, this article will help you get organized as well. Now, let’s talk about your business intelligence strategy Why you need a BI strategy A BI strategy will allow you to address all your data problems and needs, develop and maintain an integrated system. When do you start implementing BI without a strategy? Basically, you focus on getting those graphs but no one in the company has an understanding of why and how to use them. Here’s a handy picture of life before and after a BI strategy
Previously, we posted a guide to implementing BI practices in your organization Now, we’ll go into detail about one step of your implementation plan – documenting a BI strategy
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Vision Why are you building a BI practice in your company and what do you want to achieve?
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Tools and Architecture What dashboards and solutions do we want to build? For which area? And how will they affect those areas?
So, as you look at your company’s corporate strategy, imagine what BI initiatives you want to initiate. That vision then helps you choose the right people to use and manage the chosen processes To support people and processes, you use software tools And finally, you establish the architectural blueprint for its development Now, going over those steps in detail And we’ll start with businesses that already have some form of BI Step 0. Assess Your Current BI Ecosystem You need to set a baseline to know where you are headed. Say, you know that many departments have been using analytics, but the data is often siled – marketing people don’t have sales information, and customer support is tracking user feedback for their internal purposes, or maybe there’s no analytics at all. All-in-all, it seems to work but it’s unclear how effective it is
Therefore, the first task is to talk to all the players in the current BI process: users and IT teams, department managers and stakeholders. As a result, you should have answers to the following questions:
Then, compile a SWOT analysis to organize what you’ve found SWOT analysis, one of the key strategy-making tools, will help reveal your key assets and problems for the next phase. Step 1. Create a vision A vision is a combination of purpose and direction There is no strategy without vision This manifests itself in many important decisions, such as what data we source or who gets insights
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A vision also has a mundane purpose: to explain to people in your organization—those who already have their favorite tools and processes—why they need new ones, and how the change will happen.
Our corporate vision for BI is to create and support an infrastructure with secure and authorized access to data held anywhere in the enterprise. Our corporate standard for BI tools is ________ We staff and measure our BI competency center based on end-user satisfaction surveys and successful deployments. A significant segment of our end-user community requires real-time data access. So, we have provided such infrastructure to accommodate them We currently support ___ users representing ___% of our user population Our goal is to increase usage by ___% by (date). We weigh the potential costs of using BI against the perceived business value and ROI Thus, we have a clear vision of success that is measurable, accountable and defensible
Baer also noted that a vision expressed in this way would help executives whose only goal is to provide employees with cheap equipment and get back to “real work.”
Finally, vision often comes with the BI Maturity Model – the scale that tells you how mature your strategy is. You can find some maturity model explanations on the web, a very popular model coming from Gartner. According to them, there are five maturity levels for BI: naïve, opportunistic, standardized, enterprise, and transformative Using these models helps you identify your areas of progress and what your next goals might be.
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Step 2. Establish the BI governance process BI governance is about defining and implementing the BI infrastructure (Not to be confused with data governance, which ensures the consistent use of data across an organization.) It includes three components:
BI Governance Team Define BI governance members, their roles and responsibilities, tasks, goals, and relationships with various structures in your company. Engage people at all levels, from executives to end users, to bring their perspectives to the table. So, it’s not really a group of BI experts, but a board of representatives from different company sectors
Larger enterprises will benefit from an all-expert group in a Business Intelligence Competency Center (BCCI). BICCs assist in identifying data needs, establishing data management structures, monitoring data quality, and general data integration processes. These are programmers, data scientists and analysts, experts in relational databases and reporting tools. We recommend forming such a team if you have a set of experts or the resources to hire them. BI Tools and Lifecycle Management The BI lifecycle is a framework that supports a BI effort, or more specifically, the architecture and tools used for it. In general, the architecture looks like a pipeline starting with the data source (your ERP, external sources, etc.), then follows a data integration process, or ETL, where the data is transformed and loaded into the repository (data warehouse and data mart). The data is finally displayed in dashboards and interactive tools There are several architectural styles with different configurations of system components
Choosing BI tools Depending on your level of confidence, you can get an end-to-end platform or create your own combination for each stage of the BI process. Depending on whether you want to deploy on-premise or in the cloud, you’ll also find a price-match that’s right for you. Use our guide to the best BI tools to help you with this task
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Developing data integration processes Define data sources and make sure your BI tool can evaluate them Ensure data is of high quality and set up processes for data preparation Consider the architecture of a data warehouse
Ensuring data presentation Decide what types of reports and dashboards your system will display based on end-user needs and KPIs. Use our guide for some data visualization ideas where we also list some handy tools and libraries.
Conduct user acceptance testing User acceptance testing is an often overlooked but complex process where you ask end users to perform certain tasks and collect output information about the usability and performance of the system. Then you create the test case, choose the test time and select the required tools
Training Demonstration End users should be trained to understand data basics and use a visualization platform. Prior to this, non-BI skilled members of the governance team should be trained to understand the data transformation phase Basically, identify where the knowledge gaps are and make sure to fill them as soon as possible. Be prepared to serve users and resolve their issues, in addition to user support training Set up a feedback process and decide how you can respond to it quickly and cost-effectively A user support framework means you cover them from three stand points:
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Data Learning Support – Provide knowledge base to allow users to get answers about incoming data: metadata, data purpose, metrics, data sources, etc.
Tool support – If possible, choose tools with end users, then establish agreed-upon timelines for issue response, and communicate what channels or communications they can use to get support.
Business Support – Ensure that end users not only understand the data but know how to get value from it Assign mentors in each department to help users learn how to deliver value through BI tools, what metrics and dimensions to look for, and how to identify data trends.
By deciding how you approach each of these tasks in the BI lifecycle, create your roadmap. Step 3. Build a BI Roadmap Here, a roadmap is a visual document that shows the deliverables at different stages of the implementation within the timeline. By this step, you already have all the data you need organized and scheduled on the map, you just need to set up time frames and deliverables for each task.
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The roadmap may only include high-level tasks such as “find a BI vendor” or be as narrow as “create a list of the top ten best matches,” but a high-level overview will suffice for strategic mapping. Below is an example of such a roadmap spanning three quadrants It has delivery
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