After a fantastic SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando, I am back home in California. Mentioning SAPPHIRE NOW as a large event is an understatement. This is a show hosted in a single hall, capable of hosting keynotes, partner and SAP exhibits, and catering to the needs of around 20,000 attendees across the world for over three days.
I was at the BI Strategy expert table in Analytics campus with our Center of Excellence team – Pat Saporito, Colin Dover and Oliver Weigel. We had great discussions with several of our customers on various aspects of BI strategy and there was a huge amount of interest on this topic.
Here are some key questions that came up over and again during our discussions:
- We have some BI tools in place. We need to invest more on BI tools. Our business has asked us to come up with a strategy.
- We have several departmental BI solutions and we want to justify BI spending
- How can a BICC help our BI program?
- How can SAP help in building a BI strategy?
Business Intelligence strategy is absolutely the right direction to address all of the above questions.
Top reasons why you need a BI strategy:
- The most critical success factor for a BI or an analytics program is to have a proper plan and strategy in place. A BI strategy will help align the top business initiatives of your company with your BI objectives and help bring together all the ongoing BI efforts across the company. And thus justifies enterprise spending for BI.
- A typical organization has a broad spectrum of end users from decision makers who make strategic decisions, employees who make day-to-day tactical decisions to managers, analysts who make operational decisions. A solid BI strategy will enable organizations toward effective and pervasive use of BI and analytics resources, taking account of this broad spectrum of end users and decision-making processes that exist in any organization.
- An effective BI Competency Center as part of your overall BI Strategy is a critical element in increasing BI adoption, enabling BI self-service, and ensuring that your organization has the right analytic capabilities to deliver analytic business value. BICC incorporates Governance, Program Management, BI Strategy Roadmap & Milestones, Education and Training, and Support. Business Intelligence Competency Center (BICC) is a cross-functional team with specific tasks, roles, responsibilities and processes for supporting and promoting the effective use of Business Intelligence across organizations (Gartner 2001). BICCs are largely engaged in the organization and implementation areas of a BI Strategy.
- Lastly a BI strategy requires continuous alignment with your business goals. It is not a one time task.
SAP has created a repeatable methodology to build and update your BI strategy. It starts by understanding business needs by line of business (departments). From there, a simple gap analysis is done to identify areas that need immediate attention. This approach helps uncover business needs in any organization and reduces the complexity of creating an enterprise-wide BI strategy.
Here are some useful resources that you could leverage while developing your BI strategy:
- BI Strategy self-assessment
- Developing a BI strategy – Video from SAPPHIRE NOW 2013
- How to develop a BI strategy webcast
All organizations need a BI strategy irrespective of the size. It’s better to start thinking big and then take small steps at a time.