Gavin Sheehan, Executive: Business Intelligence & Data Management at Decision Inc, looks at the five critical steps that are needed for a successful Business Intelligence (BI) implementation.
Decision-makers understand that data drives the digital business. And one of the most efficient ways to extract value out of this is through BI. But in a real-time world, companies can ill afford to spend months on an implementation. However, by following several essential steps, turnaround time can dramatically improve, yielding results faster.
In a modern world, service delivery can make or break a brand. Often, the difference between ordinary and outstanding service delivery revolves around the operations management inside an organisation. Think manual and time-intensive processes, analogue solutions, and other more traditionally minded ways of thinking.
Recently, Decision Inc managed a successful BI implementation project at property development group Attacq. This was completed within 24 hours, proving with the right steps in place, it is possible. Here are the most fundamental ones.
Step 1 – Measuring BI
Part of the challenge of any implementation is quantifying success. If this is not possible, then a business has no idea if it is delivering high standards of service delivery. Fundamentally, this requires the digitalisation of processes. And to do so, requires leveraging existing BI solutions and implementing them more effectively.
At the heart of any successful BI project is the operations management tool. Rounding out this trinity is people adoption and change management that are all essential components to successfully implementing BI.
Step 2 – Unified vision
This will greatly contribute to a clarity of what must be achieved. Once this is in place, training people closest to the issues become a natural part of the process. It is all about knowing and understanding the key performance indicators and being totally transparent with the data when it comes to BI.
For example, if branches can access performance metrics, they can compare how well they are doing in relation to one another. The nature of human psychology makes staff competitive and drives them to be better. Having such a transparent view of how they are faring against each other will result in a more efficient, engaging and productive organisation.
From the start, the customer was very decisive and clear in terms of what the project had to entail, who would be the project owner, and all the relevant decision-makers. This significantly speeds up a process that can often get bogged down with red tape.
Step 3 – Putting the basics in place
Even though it might be tempting to over-complicate data analysis and presentation, decision-makers should instead focus on getting the basics in place and building the foundation around that. This entails partnering with the right service provider that can provide guidance from application development all the way through to analytics and BI management.
For our implementation, the scope was very focused. This, in addition to a client that was mature in terms of a technical understanding, contributed to a smoother process that did not have to be overcomplicated.
Step 4 – Teamwork
The success of a rapid BI implementation depends as much on the technical skills as it does on how well partners work together, their understanding of requirements, and managing expectations around training and guiding people on how the system works.
During the implementation, the customer was willing to contribute what was required from their side. They were very engaged throughout the process and invested from day one in terms of project delivery and the development platform.
Step 5 – Change management
Directly impacting the speed of BI is change management.
If employees are included in the journey to implementation, then there will likely be more inclusive buy-in. Furthermore, an adaptable, progressive, and flexible mindset from management to challenge the status quo is also vital. Finally, the CEO also needs to agree to the process and align objectives. This is as much a top-down as it is a bottom-up approach.
Again, with the project, the client was completely focused on ensuring people not only buy in to the new solution, but also invested in training them to familiarise staff with the solution.
By incorporating all these elements, using trusted service providers, and relying on third-party data integration partners with proven track records, companies do not have to be stuck rolling out BI over several months. Instead, as we have shown, implementation can be done more rapidly, yielding faster results, and experiencing benefits as quickly as possible.