4 Steps to Successful Business Intelligence Implementation

Enterprises don’t just want to implement business intelligence (BI) — they want to do it successfully in terms of cost-effectiveness, efficiency and measurable return on investment. In a fast-paced business landscape where a company’s approach to data serves as a major competitive differentiator in terms of performance, it’s an investment worth getting right from the beginning.

These four steps can help build the foundation of a successful BI strategy.

1. Ensure Buy-in from All Stakeholders

Securing buy-in from all stakeholders — particularly the executives holding the purse strings and the data specialists who will be facilitating the transformation behind the scenes — is crucial. Although it might seem more convenient to forge ahead with the mentality that “it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission,” you’re morel likely to hit an approval roadblock if key stakeholders haven’t been clued in from day one.

As one CEO writes for Biz Journals, getting buy-in from leaders goes hand in hand with evaluating the enterprise culture to determine if it is “ready for BI implementation.”

2. Keep Building a Data-Supportive Culture

If deploying new BI tools is akin to adding fish to a new aquarium, then company culture is like the water in the tank — it has a big influence on how well those “fish” thrive. The conditions need to be right even before you introduce the technology.

Because company leaders are so instrumental in forging company culture based on how they work and communicate with the workforce, the point at which executives are asked to buy into investing in the tech needed to pull off the aspirational BI strategy is also a good time to check in about culture.

What do executives and managers need to communicate to employees about how to think about data, analyze it and incorporate it into decision-making? What roadblocks need to be cleared to enable employees to not just begrudgingly accept more data into their workflows, but to start driving actions with data insights?

3. Compare Tools & Capabilities on the Market

Another pillar is choosing the right business intelligence tools based on your company’s needs and objectives.

As one expert notes for CIO, companies that connect business users directly with BI see better success rates than those who silo BI within the IT department. This requires deploying a self-service BI platform that allows business users to make real-time queries and extract their own actionable insights as needed rather than having to wait for IT to generate reports.

Consider the roles of various stakeholders when choosing technology to minimize the risk of disenfranchising an important group, like front-line employees. The more involvement representatives from stakeholder groups have in helping compare the capabilities available, the higher the chances the tech will be a seamless fit.

4. Measure Adoption & ROI Over Time

Some organizations end up launching their chosen BI tools, then stepping back to wait for the profit margins to skyrocket. While the goal of BI is absolutely to make business outcomes better, there are still a few hurdles to clear — namely getting people to use the tools made available to them and analyze data effectively.

Enterprises are certainly not outliers if they experience low adoption rates without purposeful efforts to get more people to embrace BI and analytics. There are a few reasons this could be:

  • Employees find certain tools difficult to use.
  • Company culture underprioritizes data usage.
  • Employees are resistant to change.
  • Users have low levels of data literacy.

The point stands that BI and analytics implementation is an ongoing process — one that requires measurement and adjustment over time. Fostering a long-term mentality can help companies avoid disappointment.

A lot goes into effective BI implementation but working on various aspects of company culture in conjunction with tech deployment goes a long way.

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