Data doesn’t hang around for any organisation and, when it comes to getting the value you need from it, sooner is always better.

As smart organisations rely on data to make informed decisions that improve the way they operate, it’s never been more important to ensure decision makers can effectively drive value with data. It’s essential they can get the right information, to use it the right way, as and when they need to.

So, with an ongoing demand to turn data into actionable insights, what’s the best way to go about it? Here are three key factors to help you make better business decisions.

Time

When it comes to data, speed is crucial. In just one second, 48,112GB of internet traffic is generated, there are 62,315 Google searches and 2,620,678 emails sent – all of which contain data that could potentially impact your business.

With so much new data constantly becoming available, decision makers need to determine the value it can bring to their organisations as quickly and easily as possible. Research for a recent TDWI report found that of all the respondents asked, “nearly half (48%) said it was “very important” to reduce the amount of time and resources spent on data preparation processes for BI and analytics.” It highlighted an overall dissatisfaction with the time it takes for business intelligence (BI) to deliver valuable data and insights to the user.

Time is of the essence and, if you’re looking to deliver value quicker, then you need to have a carefully-planned BI strategy in place. One which adapts to the ever-changing needs of your business, unlocks genuine high-value BI and works towards achieving your business goals. When your people know exactly what information is needed to meet your objectives, they’ll also know exactly what data is of value. By only managing the data that’s necessary, there’ll be far less wasted time, effort and resources, and far more successful BI projects.

Technology

Self-service BI mobile BI and visual analytics tools have all meant users can enjoy quick access to the data they need. Cloud-based BI software, which 50% of executive management teams view as critical and very important to their information needs, has also allowed users to get value faster.

Dashboards should display data in a way which enables users to interpret information to the benefit of the business and their efforts in meeting their objectives. In turn, the BI solutions you have in place must continuously evolve, to give your organisation a competitive advantage via the data-driven decisions that are made. For instance, a previous article explored the concept of pre-mortem KPIs which allows users to prevent issues from occurring instead of waiting to analyse data after the problem has happened.

Time is also a relevant factor when it comes to BI technology. Instead of spending time sourcing and processing data, your people should be focusing their efforts extracting, and then applying, insights from it. By having software in place that reduces the time spent sourcing relevant data, your people can spend more time gathering the value needed to improve their decision-making.

Yet, what’s the use of having the best BI software for the job if your people don’t know how to use it correctly? A whopping 64% of business and technology decision makers have difficulty getting answers from their dashboard metrics. Whether you have one data analyst or one hundred data analysts, specialist training services will make sure they can use your existing BI tools and technology to their maximum advantage. It’s crucial to develop in-house BI experts with the skills and confidence required to get BI right, instead of simply spending money on additional technology that still gives you the same results.

Team

To drive the delivery of effective BI solutions your team must be on board from the beginning. When everyone adheres to a single BI culture, you’re considerably more likely get the value and, ultimately, the results, that you’re looking for.

The earlier new BI solutions are introduced to your team, the more likely they are to adopt the new changes they present. When they’re involved from the word go, it’s also far more likely you’ll create a company-wide BI culture where people are encouraged to think about data-driven decision making.

However, creating such a BI culture means equipping your team with the right knowledge first. How do you expect them to stay focused and enthused if they aren’t fully confident on how they must work with data to meet your objectives? Great BI is achieved when your team is working together to solve problems, interpret and apply data properly, and to increase business value. Without a collaborative approach to BI, then you’re likely to find team divides and differences quickly escalate.  Get a collaborative, confident team approach in place first with a proactive and detailed strategy, and positive results from BI projects will follow.

About the Author

Jon Stafford

Jon Stafford

I have over 13 years experience in creating effective BI that turns data into insight and value. I’ve worked in many industries, combining my extensive business knowledge and background in solution development to deliver successful BI strategies, solutions, training and coaching.

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