July 24, 2017 • Richard Neisz

Are You Ready to Implement a Business Intelligence Strategy?


Every so often a trend comes along in the tech world that promises unprecedented improvements in productivity and cost savings. While some like Agile Project Management deliver on their promises, others are destined to be forgotten six months later. When it comes to business intelligence strategy and its power to unlock the capabilities of big data, it’s not just a trend but an initiative that can be revolutionary for a business. Studies indicate just a 10% increase in data accessibility for a typical Fortune 1000 company translates to $65 million in increased income. These rewards can make it tempting to dive into BI head first, but there are several aspects to understand before truly being ready to implement a business intelligence strategy.


What Is Business Intelligence?

More than just a vague term, BI encompasses the activities that take information and data produced by an organization and translate it into a usable form used to make informed decisions. With 89% of business leaders believing that big data will revolutionize business operations like the Internet did, it’s no surprise that there’s a huge focus on strategies surrounding data. Despite this spotlight on information, studies show that less than .5% of all data is ever analyzed.


The question of why so few implement a business intelligence strategy comes down to a lack of understanding. Many simply don’t know where to start, while others can’t dedicate the necessary resources to the endeavor. Some dive straight into data without a cohesive strategy, but trying to uncover analytics without a plan is like two construction companies building each end of a bridge without communicating and just hoping to meet in the middle. BI strategy gives the context and direction to data analytics that is necessary for success.


Download Your Start-to-Finish Guide to Implementing Vital Business Intelligence Strategies here.


The First Steps

BI strategy begins at the top, requiring executive participation. If the leaders of a business, whether they be the president or CIO, are not fully on board, then a BI strategy will be a watered-down approach. End-user buy-in is equally as essential. Staff must be asked what problems they are encountering, what information they need to meet certain objectives, and what current data processes have been successful and may fit into a new strategy. With support across the board, BI strategy can become a priority to all in the organization.


At the same time, it’s necessary to determine what goals a BI strategy is meant to accomplish. Simply put, what’s the end game? Is it increased efficiency, lowered costs during a software development lifecycle, or better targeted marketing toward customers? Goals that are as specific as possible help set everyone’s sights on the same prize and help determine Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will gauge the success of these efforts. As proof, using such a BI strategy was key to Coca-Cola improving the consistency of its orange juice products.


Choosing a Business Intelligence Tool

The stage is now set to begin implementing a business intelligence strategy. To do so, you will need to use a software program that can keep track of and report on BI efforts. With so many choices in the market, picking one tool that fits your needs can be difficult and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Using a program not suited to your organization can derail your strategy and become a hindrance instead of helpful. Here are a few popular BI software options and their advantages, with an in-depth list available here.

  • Microsoft Power BI – User-friendly, free for the basic version, mobile capabilities
  • IBM Cognos – Robust full-stack tool, fast and accurate, best-in-class data storehouse
  • Pentaho BI – free open-source version available, excellent data analysis, 24/7 support
  • Oracle BI Enterprise – Interactive, compatible with all data measurements, in-depth tool


Securing Business Intelligence Talent

Even the best BI tools and strategies cannot run themselves. It takes knowledge and a strong data skill set to effectively implement and maintain a BI strategy. However, there’s already a shortage of tech talent, and in niches such as data analysis it is even more pronounced. Some organizations that already have a junior-level data analyst may turn to training and professional development. That can include supporting the employee in obtaining TDWI’s Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP) certification as a start.


Alternatively, and given the rapid speed of evolution in the tech industry, many businesses wanting to implement a BI strategy do not want to delay and risk being surpassed by their competitors. Hiring BI consultants has proven to be a quick, effective, and affordable solution for organizations. As experts, they can come into your workplace, quickly understand the goal of your efforts, and lead operations for all things data. Given that the median salary for a seasoned permanent BI specialist is over $100,000 in the Richmond area, contracted consultants with the same expertise can prove just as successful while staying cost-effective.


Are You Ready to Implement a Business Intelligence Strategy?

It takes a great deal of knowledge and resources to successfully implement a business intelligence strategy. While it’s certainly no easy undertaking, those that can strategically harness their data will reap the rewards and leave their competition behind. Whether you’re just starting out in BI or have stalled in the middle of implementation, Smart Resources can provide the expertise to see your strategy through.


For additional information on BI, download Your Start-to-Finish Guide to Implementing Vital Business Intelligence Strategies today.



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