However, before we can determine whether a BI project was successful, we should decide what business intelligence success looks like.
What Is Business Intelligence Success?
Business intelligence success isn’t just about the technology. Making the right information available to the right people at the right time isn’t enough if they won’t/don’t use it. You can tell whether your business intelligence initiatives are successful by the value of the information-driven decisions that are now being made within the organization.
How will you know if business users are making decisions based on data? Oftentimes, you’ll know it by how bad a day your business intelligence or IT team is having. When business users are banging on IT’s door with issues, delays, and ideas, that’s a good thing, because you know they’re using the tools you’ve provided.
What Isn’t Business Intelligence Success?
A lot of BI professionals spend a lot of time trying to kill spreadsheets in the workplace and measure success around their decreased use. Let’s save some time here. End-users aren’t going to give up their spreadsheets. Instead, we should focus on integrating Excel into a more governed process.
The other mistake a lot of BI professionals make is measuring success by how many people log into their portal. Why should we care if they log into a specific website? We want people to get their data where they need it. Sometimes they need a centralized portal. Sometimes they need it in the middle of a process. And sometimes they need it in an email. Wherever the business needs information is where BI should deliver it.
When Is BI Done?
Due to the changing nature of business and the need to integrate more and larger data sources, the process of BI within a company will be “complete” right after we’ve solved world hunger, invented the better mousetrap, and fashioned a pair of skinny jeans that don’t look ridiculous. Jason Robards said it best in the 1989 classic Parenthood, “There is no end zone. You never cross the goal line, spike the ball, and do your touchdown dance.”
The good news? In BI, as in life, success begets success. So, each time it gets a little easier.