In this, the second of three blog posts about Business Intelligence (BI), we’d like to talk about one of our passions -- using better information to drive more informed business decisions – and the components of a sound BI initiative.
One of the most compelling aspects of an effective BI implementation is how it empowers its users. Business Intelligence is often referred to as the democratization of information: Rather than waiting for IT to compile reports and pull data from disparate information systems, managers and executives alike can easily access and analyze data in real-time on their own, helping them do their jobs and power better decisions. When you pair that with the ability to capture and interpret data that can paint an accurate picture of where your business is going and where it needs to be, a BI implementation can be an invaluable asset for your organization.
What do you need for your BI initiative to succeed? In practice, the scope of BI can be different for every customer and depends on the maturity of the implementation. Considerations include the information that needs to be pulled and pushed, and how the associated data will be consumed. In addition, as a solution matures, more complex strategies are required to govern data models, warehouses, lakes, semantic layers, Extract, Transform and Load (ETL), etc.
One of the most critical underpinnings of a successful BI strategy, however, is common to all BI initiatives: the support of stakeholders and executives. Establishing a committee that can help facilitate decision making and continuously sponsor efforts based on those decisions is crucial to the successful execution and sustainment of a BI strategy. To do so, you need to understand the best way to establish this under the current constraints and conditions within your organization.
Other key considerations include BI governance and infrastructure. For a BI implementation to sustain ROI, ongoing foundational processes and frameworks should be created and modeled to represent the size and complexity of the organization. You also need to assess your current infrastructure, including documenting the source system footprint and establishing which entities are relevant to BI requirements.
For a successful BI initiative, you also need to understand the gaps between the current BI functionality and what is required to produce the most ROI. Looking at the gaps between your current and target state can help you ensure the functionality is the most appropriate solution for your business problems. You will need to construct a framework that defines both entry points and mechanisms to pull and push data and define a semantic model of some capacity to achieve this intuitive access. Once you have assessed your current infrastructure and identified any gaps, other steps include documenting any dependencies in terms of technology initiatives, funding or resource availability; creating a layered view of the architecture provides high-level direction that can be developed into a more granular effort.
The final component is to construct a roadmap that will allow your organization to achieve the end state framework and supporting architecture. This roadmap should consider any constraints and compelling arguments that affect the ability to execute or are linked to corporate objectives and provide complete clarity as to the steps that need to be taken to ensure a successful execution of the BI strategy.
Care to learn more? Our next blog post in this series will detail the ProKarma approach to BI initiatives.