BI Strategy: Creating a happy marriage between Business and IT
By Deepa Sankar
Want to take your BI program to the next level?
What are your major road blocks? Does it sound something like the image above? If so, what can you do? Eliminate the noise and deliver BI. Is it that simple? How? Have a clear BI strategy.
Over the years, I have seen BI strategies represented in different forms – architecture diagrams using a whole slew of tools in big data warehouse feeding several datamarts. However, in recent years, this trend has been changing dramatically and organizations are developing their BI strategy beyond architecture diagrams and technology. BI strategies are now being developed for the right reasons, such as:
- The organization is currently unable to effectively execute on its business strategy due to lack of visibility into key performance metrics supporting corporate objectives.
- Companies are having issues with the lack of timely and consistent sales performance and working capital information.
- Information and in-depth understanding of costs and performance are a potential source of competitive differentiation.
Does a BI Strategy really help?
A BI and analytics strategy empowers your workforce, giving them the right information at the right time and enables them to make good decisions. A good analytics strategy not only addresses the information needs of your entire organization, it also aligns IT and business.
Think Big, Start Small
The most critical success factor for an analytics program is to have a proper plan and strategy in place. That doesn’t mean that you need to have all the strategy components defined and executed in one shot to make your BI program successful. It is better to start thinking of BI projects as a “program” and how this program is going to help your organization achieve its goals in the next 1-3 years. It’s important to take your BI project beyond simple reports and dashboards, delivering relevant analytics that will demonstrate value to your business. To start, identify 2-3 key business areas that require immediate attention and demonstrate the power of analytics by addressing these problem areas. These quick wins will help you to secure senior executive and business buy-in for your BI program. Expand the scope of your program, build a plan based on business priority, develop a roadmap and start executing on it.
Steps to build a solid BI strategy
- Find a high level executive sponsor from the business.
- Make sure your BI program objectives are well aligned with your business objectives.
- You may also want to build a business case on how this program will benefit the business.
- Next step is to understand the business problem or needs that will be addressed by analytics. It’s important to make sure these business issues that you are planning to address are aligned with your overall objectives.
- You will notice when you start aligning the business needs with your overall objectives, it will be much easier to prioritize them and gain business stakeholder approvals.
- Identify analytics capabilities required to address these business problems.
- Build a prioritized roadmap.
- Gain business buy-in and secure budget.
- Make sure you have the right organization and resources in place to support this initiative.
- Start executing on your plan.
- Identify metrics and monitor to check progress.
- Prepare for end user training and support.
- Business objectives/priorities may change over time – make sure to validate and update your program roadmap. And keep delivering relevant analytics to your business.
Here are some great resources to help take your BI program to the next level:
- 4 step approach to BI strategy webcast.
- A self-assessment questionnaire to get you started on your BI strategy.
- An infographic on how companies are leveraging BI strategy to maximize their BI investments.