As we look to the future of computing in the era of big data, one major hot topic continues to surface: business intelligence. Business intelligence (BI) refers to the ability to leverage incredible amounts of data by gathering, organizing, and analyzing it. This enables business executives and IT professionals to make strategic decisions and gain a competitive advantage by turning big data into actionable intelligence in a timely fashion.
While many business leaders have come to appreciate the benefits they can achieve by harnessing the power of BI, implementing the tools necessary to get there can be daunting. That’s why it’s important to start small and begin with a BI road map!
Building a road map, or a BI solution plan, can make a huge difference in your overall success. Like planning a road trip, a BI road map gives you the chance to plan for what you really need on the way to your destination. A road map also helps break the large project up into many smaller, more manageable pieces to streamline the process and make it less overwhelming. Further still, implementing your BI plan with the help of a road map allows you to reap the benefits of individual solutions along the way — before BI is fully available — to give you and your team early results and the flexibility you need to make changes as you go. Lastly, it helps keep the project on time and within scope as well as ensure its completion and success.
Five keys to a successful BI road map
In your BI planning and road map design, consider the following:
- Take a step back to see the big picture. Be clear about your current requirements and what you need your BI solution to do once fully developed. Make sure your plan accounts for the flexibility necessary for your growing business. Don’t get lost in the details: Design a BI solution that will truly meet your requirements and give you the tools you’ll need as your business keeps evolving.
- Pick a leader. It’s key to have one person lead the initiative. This helps streamline the process and keeps key objectives and timelines from falling through the cracks.
- Don’t forget about data warehousing. Data is the heart of BI — huge amounts of it. It’s not enough to simply collect the data; you must also find a safe and effective solution for storing, organizing, and managing it through a system known as data warehousing. Plan for this in your road map.
- Know your key performance indicators (KPIs). One of the main benefits of implementing a BI solution for your company is tracking KPIs. These should include industry standards and custom metrics unique to your business that help you determine business success and give you insights into where you can improve.
- Leverage the help of a partner. Tackling a BI project alone can be a huge undertaking. Working with a well-versed and experienced partner can give you the insights and creative solutions you need to make your BI solution successful.
Look for a BI managed services partner who will help you identify the holes in your data management and discover ways you can use BI to meet your most pressing needs. Finding a partner who will work with you to understand your short- and long-term goals as well as create a detailed BI road map that outlines your needs is key. Most important, leverage the assistance of a partner who will help you implement a solution that works for you.