Are you afraid your Business Intelligence solution will fall short of original expectations and vision?
In many cases traditional Business Intelligence has continued to over-promise and consistently under-deliver. During the selection process people get caught up in the story about how this new found insight will change their business and business decisions forever, only to find that during implementation time, effort and complexity takes over.
Most people at least understand a BI solution should handle large amounts of their information and assist in identifying and developing new opportunities. Ultimately BI assists a business in understanding historical data and should also attempt to correlate these findings into the future projections.
In reality, a BI solution can be just the opposite, with inconsistent outcomes resulting from layered complexities, high up-front capital expenditure, specialist resource requirements, and lengthy development time frames. To prevent these issues organisations need to fully define and assess the capabilities that will help them to leverage BI against the strongest competitors in their market.
Modern day decision makers want to understand overarching business views and examine increasing levels of detail to not only report outcomes but to then apply actions. Unfortunately, with traditional platforms information can end up being disconnected from the world of the business user and require further time and effort to deliver. This is possibly driven from the fact that historically customers have been tempted to create a “big bang” solution due to the cost, time and effort of creating and updating a BI solution were very high.
A modern Business Intelligence solution should require less IT resources and deliver the solution quickly, while still allowing for further iterations of development to continue. When reviewing a BI solution you can save money, increase the speed of deployment, and create greater end-user buy in if you answer the following questions.
- Aim to reduce upfront and ongoing specialist IT resource dependency. What will be the required level of skills for installation, implementation and BAU?
- Calculate the total cost of ownership for the solution, including licensing, upgrades, installation, resourcing, time to deliver and capital expenditure. What will be the ROI for the project?
- Be wise with tool selection when considering self service capability and simplicity of use. Even though a brand may offer licenses in a variety of tools for different purposes, will this ‘suite’ cause further complexity and confusion during rollout?
- Include business users during the solution selection and development process, otherwise simplicity can be overlooked. Can a business user uncover information without complexity, specialist skills and time consuming processes?
- Tread carefully with a business focused on Excel as a BI solution. Leveraging off an add-in can be beneficial but will Excel create issues with the quality and consistency of information?
- Ensure the platform is agile enough so you can focus on a key business area that will reduce costs, or improve productivity, then have the ability to move onto further incremental delivery. Does the platform lean itself to an iterative development approach?
- Review you data integration method and intended data sources – on-premise, social media, cloud to cloud etc. Can you access these applications in a timely and cost effective manner?
- Allow users to access data anywhere and on any device leveraging web-based dashboards as your primary interface but include alternate output options (e.g. Email, Excel, PDF) to provide flexibility.
In summary, a modern solution should have more transparent time to value and ROI for a business intelligence deployment. A Business Intelligence solution should allow an organisation to prove success on initial high need projects, and then expand over time. The modern web-based platform should empower the end user to quickly and efficiently identify opportunities. By choosing an adaptable analytics platform you will increase the likelihood of ongoing success of a BI program.