This is the first in a series of four articles about how to ensure that your BI efforts don’t just create reports and dashboards, but generate truly beneficial outcomes for your business.
Part 1: Results Before Reports
There’s an art to implementing business intelligence that’s often overlooked – the true value of business intelligence isn’t the creation of reports and dashboards!
Business intelligence projects can (and often do) generate large volumes of information, and yet the benefit provided by that information can often be low. In fact, in some cases, information has a negative impact when the business contains too much of it and falls foul of the symptoms of ‘information overload’.
Avoiding that situation requires an understanding of the fact that all of the potential value in BI solutions is realised only when people pick up a report or open a dashboard, and then take the right action based upon it. All of the endeavours spent in producing the report or dashboard are wasted if those final steps aren’t happening effectively.
The Quest for BI Value
That’s a pretty sobering realisation. Think of all of the time, effort and investment that regularly goes into a BI project in the run-up to the delivery of the final output. The business analysis, the IT architecture, the data sourcing, data warehousing, ETL, technology implementation, user training, and so on. All of that is ultimately wasted if, in the final moments, people fail to use the BI output to simply take better actions or make better decisions. In the quest for BI value, it all comes down to those few final steps.
So it stands to reason that to ensure BI solutions result in real business benefits, those final steps demand some close attention. To truly deliver high business value, your BI solutions must possess four key qualities. These are not the only qualities that are important, but they are the ones that mean the difference between BI that delivers results, and BI that falls at the final hurdle. To achieve beneficial results, your BI solutions must be:
- Astutely relevant
- Invariably adopted
- Rigorously interpreted
- Robustly applied
Each of those qualities is as essential as the others. Taking any one away, will cause a rapid collapse of the conditions necessary for BI to deliver beneficial results. So in the following four articles, I’ll be digging into each of these qualities and describing ways in which you can ensure that your BI solutions are relevant, adopted, interpreted and applied, to mean that your business gets truly beneficial results from your BI, and not just more reports!