What is a business intelligence strategy & how to build one?
An adequately drawn business intelligence strategy can be the path towards your company’s growth and success. BI helps you to convert your company’s raw data into meaningful insights. A correct BI tool can help you gather real-time data from scattered sources, organize the same, and present meaningful insights.
BI and Big Data
BI and big data are no more restricted to data scientists. The BI market itself has a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12 % and is forecasted to reach USD 40.50 billion by 2026. This exponential growth obviously isn’t baseless.
The perils of not analyzing data are agonizing and, by far, many. Some of them include falling back in competition, being unaware of customers’ requirements, missing out on strategic growth opportunities, etc. To avoid the above challenges, companies start adopting business intelligence strategies in haste, which is not the ideal option.
Doing something as critical and vital as implementing BI should have proper planning. It does not matter if you’re starting from scratch or migrating to a new integration; you’ll need a robust business intelligence strategy and roadmap.
What is a business intelligence strategy?
Business intelligence strategy gives you an insightful path forward, using which you can gauge your business’s current performance, find competitive advantages, and steer your success. It refers to each step you need to take to implement a BI solution successfully. The process can be broadly divided into three key elements:
What do you want to achieve by implementing the BI solution?
Who and how
Who will be responsible for running the BI strategy? Will it be an internal resource or external?
How are you planning to implement the BI roadmap?
Tools and business operations
Which tool you want to use, and which departments you want to start with?
We have laid down a simple step-by-step guide, which start-ups can use to implement BI strategy in their business.
The simple 5-step BI strategy plan
Step1: Establish the vision with an open mind
Having a vision, which means a direction with purpose, is the first step of any BI strategy. It should be done with an open mind.
Ask yourself why you want to implement BI in your organization and what are your expectations. We all know, BI helps us understand our data. But, which data do you want to understand, and how do you want to channelize your results?
The business intelligence strategy needs to be embedded within your business operations and in line with your objectives.
Step2: Analyse your current situation
To design a precise roadmap, you need to know where your business currently is with respect to business intelligence.
- Do you currently use data for any of your decision-making processes?
- Are there any dashboards in place?
- How equipped is your IT team to develop a data center?
- Are you using any database solutions or any tools? If yes, then what are they?
- Do you use any paid BI tools? How do you manage data currently, and is there any data analytics team in place?
Step3: Establish the BI governance
BI governance primarily consists of BI teams, tools, support, and KPIs.
Once you know where you are, you need to work on the team, tools, support, and KPIs to achieve your vision.
You need to have a pool of resources known as the Business Intelligence Competency Centre (BICC). This includes not just a team of BI experts but employees from different levels and departments, including the end-users.
They identify data requirements, create data governance structures, look over the data quality and data incorporation processes.
If you are just starting, it’s best to use tools like Power BI or Tableau. These drag-and-drop BI tools are easy to use, can collect data from different sources, and understand natural language.
But, make sure that your data sources are authentic and of high quality. Build a data warehouse for storing all the data.
It is something new that you are implementing, so you may face mental blocks from your employees. Make sure to develop a data culture through training, open-house discussions, and support.
Select a mentor in each department who can guide others in data points and use of BI tools. Even end-users need training, or else they will fail to derive meaningful insights.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Since KPIs are the most crucial aspect of growth, identifying them correctly is essential. KPIs highlight the areas in which the business is on the right track and the ones that need improvements.
Your representative from different departments, along with your CDO (Chief Data Operator), can help you decide them. Initially, you might feel every aspect to be necessary. But prioritize carefully, keeping the business’s objective in mind.
Our other blogs on KPIs –
Step4: Document the business intelligence strategic plan
You need to document your business intelligence strategy as a point of reference for the entire organization. So, what should it include?
BI strategy’s alignment with your business plan
Elaborate BI’s value addition, how it will help solve current problems, and how it will benefit the employees performing their roles – state out every point.
Scope and requirements
Here you should lay down the following steps like –
- Required budget and staff.
- The tools and enterprise you are planning to use.
- Will you hire in-house or work with a BI consultant.
Introduce the team members who will lead the project. A clear structure helps everyone know who to reach out to for any data-related query. Furthermore, it reduces confusion.
When stakeholders know the other options evaluated by you and why you didn’t consider them, it clears doubts. Thus, builds confidence in your decision.
State the roles
Stakeholders who are not part of the BI team will also have a role to play. Some might be the end-users, while others might be your data source. In whichever scenario, everyone should know what’s expected from them and why.
Point of reference
Prepare a document for reference, like guidelines for using the tool, meaning of different data terms. And any other details you have not already mentioned in the roadmap document.
Step5: Review your BI strategy
Evaluating your strategy and how effectively it is contributing towards your ROI helps you stick to your vision. So, check on the factors like:
- Is BI bringing in the expected value?
- Are all your data access requests met?
- Has your employees’ productivity increased?
- Are deadlines met better than before?
- Is your BI team functioning optimally?
- Are the tools meeting your requirements?
- What’s your stakeholders’ judgment?
To conclude – Data matters!
In today’s world, staying aloof from digital transformation is not possible. So, better drive a business intelligence strategy that will give you affirm competitive ground.
Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Do not take the business intelligence strategy and roadmap casually. It is indeed the first step towards longer success. Go about it carefully and pay utmost care to each step.