Getting to the heart of it: IT & Business Intelligence

You cannot improve what you do not measure. This is where a Business Intelligence (BI) Strategy comes in.

A BI strategy is a roadmap of sorts that will enable your business to measure its performance and seek out competitive advantages via process overhauls using data mining and statistics. Such a strategy can be effective in any decision-making arena, and we have seen the approach be particularly effective in the area of information technology.

We have seen companies go from losing time, energy, and money on ineffective IT set-ups to leveraging technology and transforming it into a strategic advantage by implementing a thoughtful BI system. Here are three components that, in our experience, are critical to implementing such a system:

Generate c-suite and cross-functional support
While BI strategies are intimately tied to IT, it is critical that someone in your company’s leadership sponsor the movement. CFO’s typically make great sponsors because they have bottom-line responsibility, a broad picture of the enterprise’s business objectives, strategy and goals, and can translate qualitative goals into key performance indicators (KPI) that will support those goals.

When it comes time to deploy that BI strategy, top-down cross-functional support is critical. Data governance is possible only through multi-committee support, and creating new processes for reporting are bolstered by cross-functional relationships, as well as understanding that is built up in the process.

Think big but start small and deliver quickly
When we meet with clients, our combined grand vision for their BI platforms is to develop an integrated, strategic process that will empower their organizations to leverage data in order to understand their customers more intimately and structure their business to more efficiently serve those customers.

While these grand plans are admirable and are of course the end goal, it is important to start with the basics. For example, creating common definitions, assessing the current IT and business situations by asking “What do users need? What level of data storage will be required? What do we currently have?”, and then prioritizing KPI’s accordingly. From these basic requirements, you will be able to create a first proof of concept, build initial reports, and progress from there.

Provide support for new behavior
Change does not come easily to many people. Big changes particularly require nurturing to take root, and it is critical to have a plan in place to support the changes in behavior – and possible reasons for resistance. Providing coaching and open channels of communication will allow you to collectively reach your organizational goals.

If you have further questions or concerns regarding your BI platform, contact us. We are here to help!