Business Intelligence (BI), the digitised process of collecting and analysing data, is a fundamental driver for growth in every industry. An effective BI initiative gives you timely, accurate and actionable insights that allow your business to learn quicker, make better decisions, grow faster and more sustainably.

by Gareth Murphy

15 March 2019

Effective BI implementation enables business to accelerate through the innovation loop of experimentation, measurement and learning, and keep pace with technological change.

70 percent of U.S. CEOs believe the next three years will be more critical for their industries, than the last 50 years combined. The same CEOs said data analytics is a top-three investment priority over the next three years.

But while BI is gaining traction, many businesses still fail to implement it successfully. So where does it go wrong? FluidIT sets out seven questions you need to ask:

1. Are all our stakeholders bought in?

BI is a tool for business not a pet project for a core group. Every successful BI initiative starts with the education of key people so they understand how they can use it to be more effective. Without this, your BI implementation will be under-valued, under-used and ultimately, it won’t deliver.

2. Am I asking the right questions aligned to my business strategy?

If you’re not asking the right questions, you’ll make wrong decisions. Get senior leaders on board to define the key performance indicators (KPIs) and the level of detail they need to see. A retailer might ask, ‘How many sales did product X get?’ But when you know the shops’ product placements and understand how this affects sales your strategic decision-making improves.

3. Are we capturing the data electronically?

Without this you’ll get an incomplete answer. BI initiatives only work if the system contains the relevant information. If a business wants to know how store configuration affects sales, it needs a digital record of each store’s configuration and the system can automatically cross-reference this with sales and produce a report.

4. Is the data of adequate quality?

Good quality data is standardised data. If your data is inconsistent, the answers you get will be wrong. Imagine if a business wanted to know why they were getting higher recalls than normal on a new product. If different quality controllers are recording the same issue as ‘faulty part Y’ and as ‘product defect Z’, then this variation will make it impossible to get the right answer out of the system.

5. Is the data stored and accessed centrally?

If your business’s information is captured in disparate systems then you’ll get disparate answers which take time to manually collate and analyse. By feeding separate data sets into one warehouse, BI is easier to implement effectively.

6. Are our analysis and BI tools easy to use?

One of the most powerful motivations for investing in BI is the ability it gives everyone to automatically generate real time reports and portray results in meaningful visualisations.

7. Is the overall solution cost effective?

If the answer is ‘No’, there’s no return on investment. Cloud-based tools have significantly reduced the cost of BI and you should begin your initiative with a full audit of legacy systems and a strategy to integrate them into your BI implementation where possible.

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