When businesses make strategic investments in new technology solutions, there are typically some pretty high expectations that accompany that investment. This is definitely the case when companies decide to invest in a business intelligence (BI) tool. While a BI implementation should be the impetus for greater detail in reporting and the ability to make decisions based on more in-depth data, some companies struggle to achieve the results they desire, and the implementation actually causes a delay in the acquisition of useful information.
Fortunately, difficult implementations can be avoided with careful planning and close collaboration with an experienced BI provider. By understanding common pitfalls in advance, you can avoid delays and get your BI solution up and running in record time.
5 Tips for a Smooth BI Implementation
Start with thorough research. There are seemingly limitless variations, options, limitations and specifications available when it comes to BI solutions. Depending on the size of your business, you may want to start by reviewing analyst data from sources like Forrester or Gartner or refer to sites like GetApp, G2 Crowd or Capterra. Look in forums for online reviews, ask for customer references from the providers, and talk to your peers about their experiences.
Get clear on your goals. It’s important to fully dissect what it is that you are trying to accomplish – be specific. Know exactly what questions you’ll need to answer to provide the necessary information to make strategic decisions that will impact the business. Define KPIs that represent all departments. Set explicit expectations and agree in advance on how you will calculate ROI and demonstrate business value. Gain consensus on what success looks like.
Secure executive buy-in. Involvement of the executive team and other key stakeholders will become a critical component to the project’s success. Gain executive buy-in early and identify internal champions who have a vested interest and will benefit from BI reporting and dashboards. Consider end-user involvement early in the process as well. The sooner you can determine who will be using the tool, the sooner you can rally that group to become supporters.
Cleanse your data before you begin. One of the most important steps will be identifying the necessary systems to integrate and ensuring the data within those systems is clean. In most cases, companies need to initiate a data clean-up project before beginning their BI implementation. Be sure this project includes new data entry processes to be implemented moving forward. If this step isn’t completed with care, the integrity of your resulting BI reports and dashboards will be in question.
Start small. Choose a few reports that are most critical or that are in systems you’re sure are up-to-date. Ideally, you want something that will be easy to work with to show quick wins and gain further adoption and support. Be sure to provide thorough training and documentation for all users to help ensure adoption in the initiation stages.
Start today and build on your success over time. ClicData has more than a decade of experience partnering with companies like yours to implement efficient BI solutions. If you want to avoid common challenges and see real business benefits in a short time, connect with professional ClicData consultants to schedule a consultation session.