7 Simple Steps To Develop a BI Strategy

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7 Simple Steps To Develop a BI Strategy

If you are an entrepreneur or someone who runs or administers a business, there are two things that you should keep in mind – systems and processes. One must test different strategies and solutions repeatedly and establish a sweet relationship with cold, hard numbers. This is where numbers tell data-driven stories, and business intelligence strategy comes into the picture. 

Business intelligence is the science of using numbers from varied resources to make critical business decisions. With a nicely chartered business intelligence strategy, one gets to sync these systems and processes with multiple goals. On the other hand, business intelligence consulting firms poke in the right direction, pointing to the right tools and training an organization needs to conduct as a part of the strategy. 

Additionally, one gets a business intelligence strategy that not only helps the key stakeholders think across the business components but also coordinates plans, objectives, personnel, and more to ensure that implementing the recently developed strategy is a success.   

7 Simple Steps To Develop a BI Strategy

But how does one develop a BI strategy all in-house or outsourced? Here are seven simple steps to develop a BI strategy:

1. Assemble a Leadership Team and Executive Sponsor

To begin with, it is advisory to select individuals who understand the business and can also work in teams to pull levers when needed. This will have a company-wide impact, so choose your leadership and executive sponsor carefully. Eventually, some of the traits that play a major role in defining what sort of leader and team to choose from include:

  • People who develop policies and procedures
  • Experienced with versatile domains to permute different schools of thought
  • Speak for the company’s long-term goals
  • Have the authority to allocate company money and time for business intelligence instead of going through hierarchy or boards.

If you are looking at an organizational level of change, these are the characteristics to look out for. 

Next, it is time to build out a tech team. This team will work on the technology aspect of the BI team. To simplify it, the executive part of the business intelligence strategy team determines, “How will we infuse BI into our business, and how will BI affect it?”.” In contrast, the technical team will decide the specific technical requirements that get business intelligence up and running. 

2. Establish KPIs with Key Stakeholders

One of the biggest mistakes most companies make at this stage is not having a solid plan. Business intelligence consulting firms suggest you have the data to take your business to the next stage. This solid infrastructure captures all the necessary information at the right time. However, despite the theories, several companies struggle to deliver the expected results. 

At this point, the focus of the BI team should be to arm every employee with better information for improved productivity and for stakeholders to solve overarching business problems. 

Some of the key business problems that you need to ask about at this stage are:

  • What are our key business goals right now? 
  • How will BI support each of these goals specifically?
  • Is there a specific problem or area we need to address immediately with business intelligence?
  • Is there a department that needs business intelligence first, or should our strategic plan be for organization-wide implementation?
  • What results do we need to see from our business intelligence strategy (qualitative or quantitative)? 
  • What is currently outside our BI strategy’s scope, and what should we plan to accomplish with business intelligence later?

3. Audit Current Data Infrastructure and Availability

Now that you know the key parameters and factors determining your company’s growth, it is essential to have all the key stakeholders audit the current data infrastructure and derive meaningful inferences from the pile of data. At this stage, the discussions primarily revolve around your BI setup’s technical specifications and whether additional data needs to be captured in the process. 

Some of the critical questions one needs to ask in the following stage are as follows:

  • What data do you already have as relates to your objectives?
  • What data and BI-related processes do you already have in place for data storage, organization, access, governance, etc.? What does or does not work about those processes?
  • What new data do you need to reach your objectives? What data would be useful to start collecting?
  • What external data sources could you benefit from, whether demographic data or data on competitor performance?
  • Are any new positions or personnel hired to execute your business intelligence strategy?

4. Choose The Right Set of Tools

Once you have understood the ins and outs of your requirements, it is time to boil it down to real-life implementation. Following are the items to look out for while setting up your data infrastructure or interviewing a business intelligence consulting firm:

Data Collection and Management

The basic step to begin your data collection practices is to answer the following questions. These are:

  1. What data will you aim for?
  2. When and where will this data come from?
  3. Who will ensure proper data entry, and how would you gauge the proper collection of data?

Storage and Capacity

One must decide what kind of setup it needs when dealing with storage. Is it a cloud-based solution or data servers established on-premises? The security of these devices could not be ignored, and hence the technical team should be sound enough to carry out the task effectively. 

Data Visualization Tools and Dashboards

Data visualization tools and Dashboards
Data Visualization Tools and Dashboards

Delivering insights through data visualization and visual analytics dashboards tools like Tableau or Microsoft Power BI is essential to the success of any BI strategy. However, one must consider the employees’ data literacy while crafting the visualizations. Do they need an extremely interactive tool or something that can be drilled down to explore the nitty-gritty of the problems, or is it a simpler dashboard with graphs? The choice is yours.

Data Access and Governance

When it comes to data access at various levels in the office, not everyone should know everything about the strategy. This is where data governance comes into the picture. Further, experts suggest measures against data theft (both internal and external); hence, priority should be given to security. 

Choosing the Right BI Consultant/Vendor

Devising and implementing a BI strategy is a resource-intensive process; hence, outsourcing to a BI consultant or vendor sounds like a sound strategy. These individuals have years of experience with different vertical expertise in business intelligence consulting. Figure out the budget permissions and connect with a consultant or vendor per the requirements. 

5. Executing BI Strategies

Once you have crafted the strategy, it becomes crucial to point to the right timelines. When will all the components of the strategy be executed? Will the components be executed in one phase or all at once? And so on. This will add clarity to timelines and help you succeed in executing the strategy.

Your strategy should delineate timelines and communication methods around the rollout of:

  • New data collection technology and practices
  • Communications about new BI strategies and business objectives
  • Your data storage solutions and fulfillment 
  • Success measurement

And so on. 

6. Training

When implementing business intelligence problems, most employees (irrespective of level) fail to use such tools. Hence, it becomes critical for the entire company to organize training or boot camps or face a major haul. On the other hand, using BI solutions should not feel like a hassle; hence, with the training and ease, it should come naturally. 

7. Launching Your Plan and Measuring Success

Now that you have finally made it, all you need to do is now measure the success of the strategy and make tweaks along the way. This could be done in phases. Further, major company-wide achievements could be celebrated with all the employees to keep up and track the growth trajectory of the strategy and boost moral spirits. 

Understanding Successful BI Strategy

Implementing a successful BI strategy with the right set of tools and teams could sound like a piece of cake. However, liberty is important in making decisions and monitoring the KPIs regularly. Additionally, the sales figures should be in favor of your strategy. 

Lastly, work with IT to decide security permissions for the BI stakeholders. You need your primary stakeholders to access data, but concerns over data security should not be left behind. 

Concluding Remarks

Implementing a truly transformational strategy is easier said than done. It involves many parameters that can reward great returns if audited properly. However, the conflict between hiring an agency and doing it all by an in-house team has long been in debate. The choice depends upon several constraints and hence could not be ignored at all costs. DataToBiz believes it is a data-driven company and strives hard to attain our clients’ business goals. For more information, feel free to drop us a message.  

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