Business Intelligence Advisors tell us that BI can fail for a number of reasons: management may not have first identified what business processes would best benefit from the analytics, there may be a lack of management support, or users may be poorly trained. Additionally, any BI tool or application has to be user-friendly or it isn’t going to be used by everyone who needs it. And of course, the end intelligence results must be actionable.
For years, companies have been generating oceans of potentially performance enhancing data. The scope of what was once considered traditional business data has ballooned, as the Internet has birthed new social hangouts, new communities, and new ways to engage people on the move. Meanwhile, the science of business Intelligence, competitive intelligence, and analytics has been evolving ever more innovative ways to slice, dice, and reconfigure all that data to create actionable information. The good news is that the new type of BI application doesn’t necessarily require specific questions to get actionable answers anymore.
Before talking to a Business Intelligence Advisor or any Business Intelligence Companies, IT leaders need to sit down and engage business stakeholders at their companies in conversations about broadening the scope of data to include new sources of business data such as social media, tweets, etc., (i.e., Big Data) and work with them as full business partners to define what value IT could extract from all this raw unfiltered data and how it can be used.
IT is at the forefront of the collection of high quality, credible data and filtering it from the rubbish. IT should help determine how the data will be consumed and work as an advisor to business management on how to ensure that the data collected is aligned with business strategy. IT needs to work with business to find benchmarks and metrics, and define objectives. Data-vetting questions IT leaders should ask Business Intelligence Companies include: What key metrics are needed? What are the data sources? What does it mean? How do we get certain data streams to those that most need that particular data?
Even the best business intelligence tool will fail because of political and cultural issues, and especially, the lack of business management support. Furthermore, Business Intelligence Advisors suggest that a good BI application should provide transparency through all levels of the business from the top down to the ground, and helps companies to react quickly to competition or economic and market changes.
Business Intelligence Advisors remind us that BI should not be looked upon as some sort of silver bullet, but should provide real-world, real-time decision support to improve business processes, customer service, reduce costs, retain relationships with old customers and help identify new ones. It should intrinsically be linked to business processes and application and data management.
Before you jump on the BI bandwagon IT leaders will want first get management on board and work with them to plan out what business processes to target before you talk to your Business Intelligence Advisors or Business Intelligence Companies about appropriate tools. A great BI tool or application will never compensate for poor planning. Make sure tools are user-friendly so that end users will use the tool. Finally, be prepared for decision support data that could transform your enterprise!