Avoid Business Intelligence meltdown
I cannot remember the number of customers I have been in where their so called “Business Intelligence” was nothing more than a few printable and predefined SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence reports.
Unfortunately that is common, either because Business Intelligence projects starts as a stream within a major transnational (ERP, CRM, etc) project or because it simply starts to replace an old “Management Information System”, pretty much made from scratch by some junior controlling guy who happens to “know excel” very well.
Clearly, the examples above are but an over simplification of reality, but would you really say it does not reflect a bit of your daily problems? If that is your case, then the next question would be: how can we get it right? How can we set up a solution that will:
- will be aligned with Business objects
- will reflect Business KPIs
- will support organization keep track on its evolution
- will feedback organization on the necessary adjustments
- will democratize information so we all can hold a stack on Business results
- will be pretty, simple and accessible from anywhere, anytime
That is not an easy task, but it is not impossible either. The secret in this case, as in most cases actually, is follow the simple PDCA (Plan, Do, Check and Act/Adjust) process. Besides, it is essential to understand Business Intelligence in a bigger scope than merely which tool and which report should I use. I’d suggest to look at list three aspects of Business Intelligence from the beginning:
- People –> which profiles do I need for my specific need? Shall I consider business process, Business Intelligence, Infrastructure and which others experts? How should I organize those people in order to get the job done (not only during the project but also during the running phase). Shall I have a BICC (Business Intelligence Center of Competence)? Will it be part of IT or some business function?
- Process –> how will it my governance look like? How does my architecture will look like? How will my naming convention and change management look like? Who will be the owner of my main master data entities? Who will define each areas KPIs? Who can approve a change in a KPI?
- Technology –> which tools of my BusinessObjects suite will I be using now? What about in the next few months and years? How does my adoption roadmap looks like? Which tools shall I use based on each user profile and consumption method?
Having those three aspects in mind (People, Process and Technology), it is a matter of starting the PDCA process:
- Plan your Business Intelligence engagement
- Do it, make it happen
- Check to see if you are delivering as expected (by business delivery expectations I mean)
- Act/Adjust in case of need, perform necessary corrections or work on your adoption roadmap