As with any new technology, the success of the initiative lies in its effective planning, implementation and adoption. It’s critical to successfully complete each of these three phases to gain the full value of your new solution. Complete buy-in from the executive team plays an important role and should be secured before undertaking any new technology solution that will affect the daily operations of associates throughout the company. Organizations that spend the time to gather that consensus and support the initiative are those that benefit the most. Consider the following five potential challenges to your BI project and learn tips to address them.
BI initiatives require a significant investment and are typically launched to address specific needs or fill existing gaps. While those overarching goals may be apparent to all stakeholders, a loose definition of tactics for how to accomplish these goals can lead to diminished results, lack of collaboration and tension across departments.
Start with a solid strategy that articulates your objectives and aligns with company goals. Take the time to document and define each objective in detail. Work with your BI consultant when creating your strategy and rely on their experience and expertise to help define best practices.
Choosing metrics that provide the needed insight to drive new routes of decision-making can be tricky. It can be particularly challenging to get department leaders and/or upper management to agree on them, but it is critical to choose those that support fact-based decision-making.
First, get clear on the top three to five metrics that your executive team believe are most crucial to business operations. Collaborate with department heads to identify the top two to three metrics they need to measure. Consider which of those most directly correlate to the metrics defined by senior management. This process will streamline the identification of your final set of metrics.
The accuracy of your company data determines the value received from your BI solution. Unfortunately, it is difficult for many companies to ensure clean, current and consistent data is getting pulled from various business systems across the company.
Take the time to assess, review and repair data within your business systems before you begin your BI implementation. Create projects as needed to clean up your databases and employ processes that will ensure more consistent data entry moving forward. This can be a significant time investment, but it will greatly improve the end results of your BI reporting.
New technology solutions almost always require new employee processes and time for training. Even the best strategy, plan and solutions can fail without a successful rollout and training program.
Identify an internal champion for your BI initiative. It will be critical to have a person leading the charge and promoting the value and benefits to all employees that will be affected. Be clear on expectations and prepare communicates from the executive team that emphasizes their commitment to this new initiative. Establish a complete training program and provide access to internal BI experts for employees who have questions or need clarification.
Return on Investment
ROI is one of the most telling metrics to the success of your project. As noted above, there are many variables that affect the results of a BI project. Lack of clarity or focus can derail your success and lead to results that don’t measure up to expectations.
Create BI results that are immediately useful to senior leadership and other revenue-focused areas of the business. If your BI team is diligent in addressing the points addressed above, time to ROI can occur quickly. Keep a narrow focus to start rather than trying to ‘boil the ocean.’
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