How to Create Meaningful Business Intelligence Solutions

It can be overwhelming when integrating a business intelligence platform if you try to take everything on at once. The process of reaching your goals of increased revenue or streamlined operations will not happen in a day. It takes time to implement and achieve a BI strategy. Therefore focus on small steps if you want to succeed. In order to help you get started on your BI journey, we’ve gone ahead and created a 6 step guide on how to create meaningful business intelligence solutions.

1. Choose a BI Platform

The most important step to take is to choose the most appropriate BI platform for your company. Not all business intelligence systems are created equal. Investing in one that can meet your needs as a business is critical. Make sure that the platform you choose is compatible with your existing data infrastructure, or else you’ll need to spend extra money developing integration tools to make it work. This can create a headache right off the bat and cause you to go over budget.

Choose a BI platform that provides you with access to real-time data and a view of relevant content. You’ll also want something that allows you to interact with data within a visual interface and lets you take a deeper dive and find your insights within the data. Collaboration is another important aspect of a BI platform. Working with members from other departments on data analysis will ensure a unified approach toward your business intelligence goals.

2. Create a BI Team

Once you’ve chosen the right business intelligence platform, it’s time to get a team together. Your BI team should include someone from every department who will be affected by the BI strategy. These team members will be leaders in their respective departments, in charge of implementing the technology into day-to-day operations and communicating about shared goals. Once you’ve created a unified BI strategy based on achieving specific goals, these team members will be the ones on the ground putting your plan into action.

Some of the roles and responsibilities of a BI team usually include an analytics director to manage the BI platform and an enterprise architect to integrate the technology into your existing infrastructure. You’ll also need a site administrator to manage the content and ensure everyone has the necessary access to the platform. As well as a data steward to oversee the data and keep track of all the processes and procedures for using the BI system.

3. Explore Your Needs

Before you can take the step of creating actionable goals, you need to explore what it is you’re hoping to get out of a BI platform. Interview different team members to learn how they use data in their work. Find out what problems they run into throughout data collection and analysis. This can clue you to any inefficiencies and obstacles BI will help you overcome.

It will also help you determine the scope of your BI strategy. For example, are you using business intelligence to improve customer service? To reduce spending and maximise efficiency? Or to create accurate predictions of future revenue to minimise risk? Business intelligence can help you in various areas, but the only way to develop concrete goals is to explore where the need is.

4. Select Concrete Goals

Once you’ve figured out the weak spots or areas for growth in your company, you’re ready to set goals. These should be specific and actionable, giving you a concrete indicator of success. For example, while increasing revenue is a worthy goal, it isn’t detailed enough to determine whether or not you’re successful. What if you only increase revenue by 0.5%? Is that enough to keep ahead of your competitors? Whatever your goals are, make sure to be as specific as possible. Raising customer retention by 10%, reducing product waste by 15%, and meeting your project deadlines are admirable goals that you can use business intelligence to achieve.

5. Identify Data Sources

In order to make the most of your business intelligence platform, you need clear data sources from which to pull. While previous BI solutions required a singular data warehouse to host data, modern BI platforms can analyse data from disparate sources. Both structured and unstructured data should be used for analysis to help you make decisions. Structured data, stored in a database, used to be the only kind of data you could analyse and use. With modern BI solutions, you can incorporate unstructured data in places like emails, customer service chats, news articles, and more. These forms of data can inform your decision making and help you achieve your goals.

6. Set Benchmarks

The last step you’ll want to take to create meaningful business solutions is to set individual benchmarks for progress. If your goal is to reduce product waste by 15% eventually, you will need individual milestones that help you measure how successful your efforts are. If you’ve been implementing your BI strategy for 2 months but have yet to see your product waste go down by 1%, then this may mean you need to switch tactics. These benchmarks all make up a BI roadmap that will guide you along the process toward reaching your goals.

These six steps mark the beginning of your journey towards being a company that puts data at the forefront of your decision making. You don’t have to do everything all at once, but you can begin the process with just a few small steps. If you’re intimidated by the notion of overhauling your entire business strategy and integrating a business intelligence platform, don’t be. All it takes is a willingness to get started and a strong foundation in order to achieve your BI goals.