7 Key Elements for a Successful Business Intelligence Strategy

Published on: 13 July 2022
Written by: Tridant

What defines a successful business intelligence strategy?

Business intelligence plays an important role in helping organisations improve their decision-making. The right business intelligence strategy ensures your business is able to identify data problems swiftly and accurately; without one, it’s a strenuous task to bring meaning to your data, and make any sense of what can be considered an actionable insight. The data that your company gathers remains just that: data. 

Your business intelligence strategy puts this data to use, helping you to gather it more comprehensively, translate it more accurately, and to use it to make more robust decisions. When executed correctly, it lays out a clear roadmap of what you’re aiming to achieve with your business intelligence practices.

Is your organisation’s business intelligence strategy up to scratch? Here are the 7 key elements that high-performing businesses follow to create a successful business intelligence strategy.

  1. Assess your current architecture

Your business may have business intelligence technologies in place, but are they performing the right roles?

Assessing your current architecture helps to determine where your business intelligence strategy is currently heading. You can use this as a baseline, to identify the issues your business currently faces, map out the tools you’re already using, and pinpoint the gaps where your business intelligence practices need to be improved. 

  1. Set a clear scope for your strategy

Once you’ve identified the gaps in your business intelligence strategy, you’ll know what to fix. 

After all, planning for the future doesn’t work if it’s vague. 

According to Accenture, 81% of businesses don't have a robust data strategy to leverage the full potential of their data. By working out where to improve your business intelligence strategy, and creating scope to achieve this, you’ll already be head and shoulders above your competition. 

Knowing what you want to achieve, both from a strategic point of view and also what you want to get out of a new business intelligence platform, can help to create clear guideposts and goals to work towards. Therefore, it’s important to set a clear scope for the strategy and create an achievable roadmap to guide it.

  1. Identify the right stakeholders

This element works on multiple levels. It’s crucial to identify the right talent and teams within the business who can help deploy your strategy, but it’s also important to think about the end-users. 

To do this, it’s beneficial to gain a clear idea of who needs to see your data, who will be using it, and how they will ultimately use it. Much like planning your overall goals, you’re planning for what you want your business users to achieve. 

  1. Create clear data governance with thorough data infrastructure

Your business intelligence strategy relies on a robust business intelligence platform. But this platform needs reliable data sources to feed into it. 

Having clear governance over your data is crucial to a business intelligence strategy. Governance at every step ensures that you’re always getting the right information, when and where you need it, in the most useful format.

Thorough data infrastructure ensures you’re able to access the data you need from the right sources and guarantees these sources can be trusted.

  1. Choose the right business intelligence platform

When choosing a business intelligence platform for your business, the specific features and capabilities of the platform are important, however, there are a few other critical elements that you need to look for too.

Ease of use

Does your new platform provide an intuitive, easy-to-use service? What level of friction can you expect to see when deploying the new solution? 

Some business intelligence technologies, such as Power BI, Tableau, & Qlik feature straightforward drag-and-drop capabilities when building dashboards, making it smooth and easy to get started. Others… not so much.

This is why it’s so important to have an internal team of experts responsible for managing your data, who understand the ins and outs of your business intelligence software. They can provide the day-to-day support for implementing your strategy, and help to support and train internal users to use it the correct way. If it’s not easy to use from the outset, building this internal capability takes away from the immediate value of your platform.

Support capabilities

What level of support is available, both as integrations and add-ons and at a human element? As well as in-platform support, follow-up support and training are crucial to getting the most out of your new business intelligence platform.

Microsoft Power BI does this really well. It provides training directions directly within its own interface, which helps users to learn as they go, but also gives users access to a wealth of information, answers, and insight within their interactive Power BI Community forums.

Licensing and data needs

Businesses have different data needs, so business intelligence platforms have different licensing tiers based on these needs.

Some companies, for example, may have minimal data needs. Small data sets like this mean they can deploy any business intelligence platform and start working on it immediately. Businesses with large data needs, however, may require more high-end business intelligence tools, purely due to licensing.

Understanding your business’ data size and use cases will help determine which business intelligence solution is right for your needs.

Pricing: cost vs. investment

Don’t think of your business intelligence platform simply as a cost. Instead, look at it as an investment. 

While some platforms may be cheaper, they come with less usability. Others may be more expensive, but have more capability than what your business needs.

Is the price you’re paying going to deliver the results you need?

  1. Set a realistic timeframe

There’s no set timeframe in which to create a successful business intelligence strategy, it just has to be achievable for your business.

In some circumstances, a new business intelligence dashboard can be created in a matter of days. Sweeping business-wide change, on the other hand, takes time, so setting a business intelligence strategy to execute and close out within a matter of months may be unrealistic.

Business intelligence maturity takes years; it takes time to build and source datasets, to truly understand how your business uses its data, and to leverage the full capabilities of your business intelligence technologies or platforms.

The timeframe for your business intelligence strategy depends on what you’re aiming to achieve.

  1. Review your business intelligence strategy regularly

One of the biggest benefits of business intelligence is forecasting, but while business forecasting can help you plan for the future, as trite as it sounds, the future isn’t written yet and your business goals may change. 

Undertaking regular reviews of your strategy ensures that you’re always able to stay on course. Maybe your business has deviated, or maybe you’re exactly where you need to be, and you’re gathering and analysing the right data and using it in the right ways. Reviewing your business intelligence strategy ensures that you know this for certain.

Discuss your business intelligence process with the experts

When looking to deploy business intelligence solutions for your business, it’s important to start off on the right foot. 

Tridant is here to help you manage your business intelligence needs, and steer your business towards a successful future. Contact us today to discuss your requirements, and see how we can help you improve your business intelligence processes.

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