Business intelligence (BI) has quickly grown in popularity among small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) in recent years. One of the primary reasons is that technology has advanced to the point that it is no longer cost prohibitive for the size of an organization to pursue a BI initiative.
BI in general, however, is still a confusing and fragmented concept to many. If ten people were asked to define the meaning of BI, it would likely yield ten different answers. This is because BI is not a singular concept. It is a multifaceted concept that encompasses everything from internal business processes, key metric definitions, data manipulation, integration with your Microsoft Dynamics ERP, decision support systems, the software that is used, and much more.
BI is a way to engage with data, to tell a story, to figure out what to do. There is no ‘one size fits all’ BI solution. However, one the biggest pitfalls, or oversights, when pursuing a new BI project falls around failing to devise, and then document, a BI strategy.
BI can be something that really “turns the light on” in your company. Imagine everybody drawing on the same pool of validated and trusted numbers. Everybody focused on the same numerical targets, and working with the same KPI’s to drive action and improve processes.
It’s the power of data, but it doesn’t happen by itself. It certainly doesn’t happen simply because you installed a piece of software.
You need to establish the vision for your BI strategy before you bring technology into the conversation. This starts by creating a strategy document, which may sound hard and laborious, but it doesn’t have to be.
Think of your strategy document as a roadmap. It should be a plan, a reference, and a guide. It should answer questions, such as:
- Where is your business now?
- Where do you want to go?
- How do you get there?
Answering these will help you identify what you want to achieve with BI in the near future and what types of benefits it will offer your business both short and long term. If you make small adjustments to your strategy along the way, it implies health and growth.
At Jet Reports, we have helped thousands of companies gain success with BI quickly, so we have identified the top threats that can creep into your implementation plans in order to proactively avoid them. Download our free eBook to learn how you can evade and minimize these fatal flaws.