January 12, 2010, 7:15 AM — Today, there is a continuing demand for businesses to be transparent about internal processes, finances, and performance metrics. As businesses look to computing to cut costs while increasing revenues, CTOs, IT Managers, and just about everyone at the management level must justify the existence of projects, software and hardware systems - and even personnel. In this light, business intelligence may be viewed as a necessary evil by some people, but there is no denying that this type of intelligence is after all necessary, as it has never played a more dramatic role than today.
In fact, the Research firm Gartner Inc. has predicted that in two years, more than thirty-five percent of the world's top 5000 companies will make significant decision errors about business and market growth. On the flip-side of the coin, internal decision-making will encounter roadblocks as the results of incorrect or incomplete information because employees often get bogged down when it comes to reporting the minutiae of their day-to-day work. In fact, it is not surprising to find that among the largest global corporations, there are some people that stick to age-old data gathering, reporting and analysis by spreadsheets. The challenge is in how to wean organizations from the old ways of dealing with business intelligence.
When business intelligence is not smart enough to survive in today's environment, it is time to rethink Business Intelligence strategies – here are some tips:
Business Intelligence Tips
1. Align Business Intelligence with business processes
Workers need to appreciate how and why metrics should matter to them and the project as a whole. Moreover, management-level users should identify at which point of an entire process that business intelligence must figure.
2. Engage your key users
If you are introducing a new BI system in place of old spreadsheets and slide show presentations, engage your key users as early as possible to identify what they need and what they expect from the business intelligence application. Build a continuous feedback loop surrounding their use of the systems and the enhancements that the users expect from the tools made available to them.
3. Know the pros and cons of investing in a new Business Intelligence system.
As tedious and unreliable as the spreadsheets may be, old-school spreadsheets just might be what works for most users. If funding is not an issue though, chances are that you need to upgrade your system, and you need to complete this task knowing both the positive and negative aspects of performing this upgrade. Check out the cost and benefits of investing in BI software - and assess the organization’s information needs vis-a-vis current data management and project processes.
4. Evangelize the use of BI with a little fun
One reason that workers often discuss ineffective data collection and management is that to them, BI is another layer on top of all of their other day-to-day functions. As BI may not be the most glamorous aspect of most technology and information processing, a promotion for its use within the organization might go a long way. Start with a reward program for BI’s most effective use and integration within project processes and see how this program goes. Afterwards though, remember to share the insights gathered from the experience of using BI effectively with everyone.