mercredi 12 mars 2014

6 Key Elements of Successful Business Intelligence

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Inside-ERP Jan 22

Success in Business Intelligence (BI) is composed of several elements. Here are six of them which are key to a successful BI effort.

1. Leadership
Active, committed leadership from the top is a vitally important element. Repeated studies have shown that a lack of commitment at the top is a major reason BI projects fail.

This means more than passive approval. Top leadership has to be actively committed to the BI initiative. Also, it not only sets strategy and defines goals, but it also serves to sparkplug the initative. 

2. Strategy
Strategy is another important factor. You have to have a clear vision of what you're trying to accomplish and how you intend to get there. Further, this vision has to be aligned with your business goals.

The fundamental question your strategy has to answer is: “How can we use BI to best support our business goals.” This implies that you have clearly thought out goals for the business. A clear vision of what you're trying to accomplish is vital to setting strategy.

As much as possible, strategy focuses on the higher level questions, many of them “what” questions rather than “how” questions. Strategy is a high-level exercise designed to squeeze as much value out of BI as possible, by closely aligning the use of BI with the business overall goals.

Strategy is usually developed in the beginning of a BI effort and remains fairly constant through the life of the effort. It is generally best developed by top managers in conjunction with line managers.

3. People
Dedicated people are also central to making BI succeed.

This includes not just the people who use BI, but also the supporting players. Quality staff becomes more important as BI works to wring value out of the operation.

Training is an important part of having good people. The most talented employees aren't much good if they don't understand their roles and how the system is supposed to work.

4. Process
It's important to integrate BI into the regular business processes. BI isn't much good if you don't use it, and one of the common problem with BI effort is the BI tool simply isn't used enough.

BI should be part of every applicable, whether in the form of reports showing the state of the business or as a hands-on tool to extract new and unique insights from the data.

This isn't as easy as it should be because employees often don't use BI on a day to day basis. The cure for this is partially a matter of training to make sure the employees are comfortable with BI and partially a matter of the quality of the people, especially how accepting they are to change.

5. Technology
This one comes far down the list for a reason. While technology is an important enabler for BI, it is not the dominant factor. A great many companies have gotten into trouble by treating BI as a technology project only.

Even the best people need to be backed up by the best technology. The best technology for your business is the one that best supports your business effort. It should be powerful enough to answer the questions you are asking, and easy to use in order to encourage ad hoc queries. As much as possible, BI technology should be adapted to self-service so line employees can get their answers without needing help from the IT department.

6. Organizational Dynamics
Finally, the organizational dynamics have to be in place to make BI central to your business' efforts. This means change in your business processes and the organization has to accept change. This is another place where top level support is vital.

Ideally, you want to create a business culture that embraces change and understands and values what BI can do for the organization. This takes constant effort from the top to encourage and support organizational change.

Taken together these elements make for a successful BI effort. They aren't the only things BI needs to succeed, for example sufficient resources and training for your people, but these are the main ones.

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