business-intelligence | 9 mins read

How to Assemble a Business Intelligence Strategy That Actually Works

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Debdutta Bhattacharjee

By Debdutta Bhattacharjee

What is a Business Intelligence Strategy?

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A substantial amount of data is collected from multiple sources like the point of sale, customer relationship management, employee management, and enterprise resource planning systems, and cached in a central system, leading to the creation of a data warehouse. Business intelligence or BI tools use software to translate this data into actionable insights that help an organization make strategic and tactical decisions.

BI tools delve into data sets and quickly make sense of unstructured information. The findings are presented as business intelligence reports, studies, summaries, charts, graphs, dashboards, maps, and other forms of data visualization that are extremely easy to comprehend. The business owner, as a result, is provided with comprehensive information pertaining to the state of the company.

A business intelligence strategy, in this regard, serves as a blueprint to determinE how the organization will use data reporting and data analytics.

You need a strong business intelligence strategy since simply picking the correct technology and putting it in place isn't enough to ensure that the return on investment will be good.

A business intelligence strategy is a roadmap that allows companies to use data mining and statistics to monitor their performance, search out competitive advantages, and truly be consumer-oriented. It ensures that the company's decisions are firmly data-driven. A business intelligence strategy provides an organization with direction.

Why is it Important to Create a BI Strategy?

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Here's how an effective BI strategy can help you in running a successful business-

1. Save time and effort- A solid business intelligence strategy should assist you in selecting, purchasing, and implementing business intelligence software in the quickest and most efficient manner. A business owner will be able to conserve a great deal of time and energy by having a plan, training schedule, and budget in place beforehand.

2. Reduce costs- An organization relying on a strong business intelligence strategy will be able to prevent unnecessary cost escalations from choosing products and services that are superfluous, or totally unsuited to the organization's specific requirements.

Moreover, by cutting time spent on the nitty-gritty of the business and being prepared well in advance, the organization can save money on labor. Knowing what training options are available and their costs will allow an entrepreneur to budget appropriately and avoid unexpected costs.

3. Achieve a competitive advantage- When you create a delivery strategy in advance, you know exactly what you need. This allows you to narrow down vendors best placed to supply the software features you require. Demos are available, as well as precise price quotes. You can also test-drive the BI software systems to make sure they are good enough for your company.

This will help you select a platform that meets your core needs and has a user experience you and your staff enjoy. You can then comfortably begin the training procedure. A BI strategy helps you save time, effort, and dollars in your hunt for the best business intelligence solution for your organization. Indeed, supply chain management, with the help of a robust business intelligence strategy, is one of the prerequisites for your business to flourish.

4. Make operations focused- Business intelligence that is not oriented towards a goal will still produce insights, but it will not help the organization very much in its efforts to hit a specific target. Therefore, having a clear BI strategy is imperative for getting the most out of your BI data. Decisions taken on the back of prudent BI strategies will be consistent with the company's overall vision. Having a BI strategy also allows employees to stay focused.

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5 Steps to a BI Strategy- No. 1 Build Your BI Team

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The Business Intelligence team of an organization is in charge of putting the BI strategy into action. If your company is small, new workers may be hired or employees may be made to perform multiple tasks. With the help of a business intelligence platform, even non-analysts are able to view reports and dashboards. This is called self service business intelligence.

However, this cross-functional team will be required to implement the BI strategy so that the business intelligence platform can run smoothly. The following are some of the roles and tasks of the BI project team-

1. Managing the software platform, for which you would need an analytics director or an information technology service owner.

2. Connecting the BI platform with the data architecture already in place. An enterprise architect is the right person to perform this task.

3. Organizing the content and creating user groups and permissions. For this, the company would need the services of a site administrator.

4. Putting the business intelligence data in the right context and performing documentation of the procedures involved in using the BI software platform. A data steward should be in charge of this job.

However, this is not a complete list of the people engaged in the BI project. To ensure that the project meets its targets, the company would also need an executive sponsor and a steering committee.

No. 2 Select a Business Intelligence Platform

No organization can do without strong business intelligence software, and so it forms an integral part of any BI strategy. Business intelligence software helps organizations discover data and make sense of it. BI solutions make it easier to analyze big data and make data mining a frictionless process. Therefore, the reporting and analytics features of BI tools have to be effective.

Many business intelligence software platforms have similar features, and an entrepreneur should look for the following functionalities while choosing BI software-

1. Access to data and viewing of relevant content in real time, on-demand, on the go, from anywhere in the world, anytime, using any handheld device.

2. Interactivity with information within an interface that is visual in nature.

3. Ability to dig deep into data sets and find fresh insights automatically.

4. A cloud-based system that ensures that data is stored in remote cloud servers and won't disappear if the local computer system crashes.

5. A business intelligence solution should allow a business to get a fair estimate of future demand on the basis of consumer trends, past sales, and seasonal data. A restaurant, for instance, needs software that performs Sales Forecasting and demand forecasting.

Therefore, an accurate prediction of future demand and Restaurant Sales will permit hassle-free management of Restaurant Inventory and the supply chain. This will, in turn, prevent oversupply, undersupply, stock-outs, and wastage of food and money.

Hubworks, which is a platform for restaurant software solutions, offers products like Zip POS Dashboard, Zip Forecasting, and Zip Reporting to meet every business intelligence and business analytics need of a foodservice company.

6. Reporting and analytics features of a BI platform should also provide detailed employee data. This will make employee scheduling easy and efficient, with an eye to cutting labor costs. It should also furnish customer data so that targeted promotions and loyalty programs can be devised. Data science can be used by restaurants to figure out if casual consumers can be converted into loyal patrons, and how it can be done.

No. 3 Involve Decision Making Stakeholders

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Although business intelligence involves software, it is not solely an information technology endeavor. Moreover, although business intelligence requires financial data, it is not simply the responsibility of the finance department. Every team that may be impacted by the business intelligence strategy should be represented.

An organization should involve individuals and teams early on and interview them. It should inquire into the way they make use of data in their job, what works well, and what doesn't. Finally, the organization should outline the scope of its BI based on the information collected.

The organization should also find a sponsor for the project, and this should ideally be a high-ranking executive. Before starting, however, it is very important to seek alignment on the company's BI vision.

Organizations that place an emphasis on data in all departments employ a Chief Data Officer (CDO) to back the BI project. The CDO or a senior sponsor should consider the training and support that will be necessary for deployment, as well as ways to scale up the platform.

The entrepreneur must maintain contact with the sponsor and keep him/her informed about the company's progress. When the BI platform starts to perform as intended, visible reports may be created to be presented to the sponsor, and demonstrate to him/her, as well as the company, that a successful business intelligence strategy is indeed in place.

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No. 4 Outline Objectives for Data Analysis

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It is critical to know from the very beginning exactly what you expect from your BI system. You would need to consider a string of issues. What is the focus of your business intelligence project? Are you looking for data for employee Performance Management, consumer preference tracking, sales monitoring, or inventory management? This will tell you what kind of information you should be gathering.

You also need to know where the data is located. You should be clear about the conclusions you hope to draw from it. It needs to be asked if the data is to be updated in real time, or if it can be accumulated over a period of time, and the key performance indicators to be monitored. The software's users will also have to be identified.

These questions will assist you in determining the type of software you require, the scope of the project, and your ultimate objectives.

No. 5 Draw a Business Intelligence Roadmap

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You should keep the following points in mind when designing a BI roadmap-

  • Keep track of important dates and deadlines, for instance, when the data warehouse will be complete.
  • Be mindful of future needs and make changes to your plan as needed.
  • Be proactive rather than reactive.
Choose a launch date for your platform and for your data warehouse. Prepare to make changes to your BI roadmap as needed. When business intelligence is used in a proactive manner, it is extremely valuable. If your BI strategy is solely focused on responding to the demands of ad hoc reporting, you will not maximize the value of data reporting and Data Analytics.

When new events occur, such as new projects unveiled, or changes in consumer behavior or market trends, make a note on your BI roadmap.

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