• Introduction
  • Do you really need this?
  • Why do you need a BI strategy?
  • BI implementation Plan Stages: How to document your BI strategy?
  • Successful steps to create an effective BI strategy
  • Takeaway

 

Introduction

Business Intelligence involves converting raw data into useful and meaningful insights. You collect data from various sources, organise it, and then analyse it. 

 

Do you really need this?

Yes. It provides a balanced viewpoint of the business you can acquire. This is a complex endeavour that requires proactive preparation. We hope we can assist you with creating one.

That said, if you are already well-versed with some aspects of the BI strategy in your company, this blog will help you get organised. Now, let’s delve into steps for creating a successful Business Intelligence strategy.

 

Why do you need a BI strategy?

BI strategy lets you address data issues and needs, develop a cohesive structure, and ensure it is maintained. What to expect when implementing BI without a strategy? 

You tend to focus more on getting the graphs done despite the lack of understanding of most people in the organisation in what, why and how to use that data. 

An illustration of life in an organisation before BI strategy.

BI implementation Plan Stages: How to document your BI strategy?

Three elements of a BI Strategy:

Vision: 

  • Reason for creating a BI strategy in your company
  • What objects do organisations want to achieve

Processes and People:

  • Who will be defining the BI strategy?
  • Who will run it?
  • How will they run it?

Architecture and Tools: 

  • Dashboards and solutions to build
  • Areas to focus on
  • Their impact on these areas

So, when you look at your company’s corporate BI strategy-

  • You need to envision the BI initiatives you want to start with. 
  • Ensure the vision helps in choosing the right people who will use and maintain the chosen processes. 
  • Use software tools to support processes and people.
  • Establish the architectural blueprint to develop it. 

 

Successful steps to create an effective BI strategy

We shall begin with businesses that already have some BI strategy.

  • BI Ecosystem

Set a baseline to understand where you are heading. For instance, several departments are using analytics, but the data has been siloed. 

This could mean three things-

  • The marketing department has no access to sales data
  • Customer support has been tracking user feedback for internal purposes. 
  • There is no analytics at all

Therefore, the BI strategy might seem to be working but with no clarity of its effectiveness.

So, the first thing you should do is talk to the department personnel who are running the current BI processes- the IT team, users, managers and stakeholders. 

You should get answers to the following questions:

  • What is the BI vision?
  • Do they have any? 
  • How is the vision aligned with corporate and IT strategy?
  • Who are the BI players?
  • How well-coordinated are they? 
  • Is there any overlapping of functions?
  • How do they handle data management?
  • How do they support BI users?
  • What solutions are they using and how? 
  • Which of those solutions is bringing value?
  • Is the architecture blueprint aligned with their corporate strategy? 
  • Is their licensing model even working?

 

Action:

  • Compile and perform a SWOT analysis
  • Organise what you’ve found

SWOT analysis is an excellent strategy-building tool that will reveal your assets and problem areas.

 

  • Vision

There cannot be a BI strategy without a vision. 

Vision is critical for making decisions:

  • What data to the source?
  • Who will get access to data insights?

A vision can be for a mundane purpose. You may have to explain to people in your company why a vision is critical, who already have their processes and tools, and why they need a new one, and how it will transform the business.

The vision statement should explain the following:

  • Who will be in charge of BI processes?
  • How is your BI strategy aligned with the corporate and IT strategy?
  • How will it support and deliver solutions?
  • Solutions that you plan to implement and where?
  • Infrastructure that you are planning to provide?

 

  • BI Governance Processes

BI governance involves defining and implementing a BI infrastructure. Do not confuse this with data governance, which enables the consistent use of data in a company.

BI governance must include these components:

  • BI governance team that will be responsible for governance processes
  • BI tools and lifecycle management
  • Design and development of BI architecture
  • User support from functional, technical, and data standpoints

 

  • BI Roadmap

The BI roadmap should demonstrate deliverables at different stages of implementation within a timeline frame. You should have the data you want to organise and schedule on the roadmap and set up the timelines and deliverables for each task.

Now that the implementation steps are covered let’s create a BI strategy document.

 

  •  BI Strategy Documentation

The BI strategy document acts as a point of reference for the entire organisation. It should be used for the BI strategy presentation. 

What are the sections included in the BI document?

Executive summary: It presents an overview of the steps and advancement plans to make to reach strategic business goals. 

Alignment of BI strategy with corporate strategy: It presents details about how the BI strategy will bring or add business value, issues it would solve, and new processes supporting existing ones.

Scope and requirements: It presents your BI architecture and roadmap. It has details about vendors, staff, budget and design of architecture. It explains the next steps after the sharing/presentation of the BI document.

BI governance team: The audience meets the team responsible for the efforts. They tell end-users who their immediate managers are.

Alternatives: Review options that have been considered but have been rejected, explaining why they did not work. This will help in highlighting the benefits of your final decisions.

Assessment: Here is where deliverables and success metrics that will be calculated are explained. For example, end-users need to know why you are seeking feedback or tracking their activities.

Appendices: This last bit includes additional information such as chosen vendors, charts, a glossary of terms or jargon used, and a corporate strategy document that one can revisit and compare.

 

  • Review BI Strategy

It is important to measure the success of your BI strategy each year.

Do understand that quantitative metrics alone will not cut through. You need to know the success rate of the business due to the BI strategy and how it has strengthened the relationship between you and your end-users.

You should measure the effectiveness of BI governance to know whether the goals have been met and that priorities have not shifted.

 

Strategising

A BI strategy is created with a corporate and an IT strategy in mind. 

It is important to seek how BI will help you in achieving your business goals. This is also the enterprise architecture’s task, which entails the practice of figuring out how technology could boost your overall business goals and objectives.

Economist and Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter once quoted, “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” 

Therefore, developing a BI strategy might be time-consuming, but it enables you to identify errors and put solutions in place proactively before they arise.

 

Takeaway

BI Strategy is essential for any business growth and gives you a competitive advantage. In order to reap its benefits, you need a robust strategy, planning and analysis. In the absence of a structured roadmap, you could get lost amid meaningless analytics. 

Therefore, staying on the right track and evaluating strategies consistently are vital to enjoying the benefits of your BI strategy. We hope the aforementioned steps act as stepping stones to help you in creating a successful BI strategy.

If you have further insights, tips on creating an effective BI strategy, or have already created a successful one, share them with us. We would love to hear from you.

 

References: