PART 2 - Implementing you business intelligence analytics
This is PART 2 of my post “How to implement great business intelligence analytics”. In PART 1, I described the changes in business intelligence solutions, potential impacts of analytics software creating silos in an organization. I also listed some of the leading software companies in each respective field and a short list of points to be considered when implementing a BI solution.
PART 2 is created so you have a short check list to help implement great BI analytics to benefit your company, leaders and managers and staff. These are the main short listed items not an exhaustive list. I encourage you to build upon the list with full analysis and solid conversations in fact finding.
To ensure a success first and foremost the leadership needs to be clear with its expectations and agreed within any specifications made in writing. The supplier needs to be clear with their expectations, call out service hours, limits of technical support. If you ever hear either side of the table make a statement like “we usually can find a solution to that sort of thing” then let the bells of St Paul’s church ring in your head for clarification statements. One side may assume that means no cost or within contract, the other side implies “that is not covered in the contract”.
TOP TIP :
“If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is” A much used cliché that is wholly valid when managers commit resources or leaders imply a “no problem at all” approach to potential risks. Again, go back and gain full clarity.
Excel is Excellence
Old habits are tough to change. There are various studies that indicate it takes over 60 days to change a habit. I guess for the 60% of the population that have given up their New Years Resolution by middle April will somewhat agree. Just imagine you have spent several years learning to ski and then the next winter you show up at the slopes and everyone else is snow boarding – it’s a tough pill to swallow and so you carry on skiing “knowing” that you have more control of the piste and less risk to others. This is the case with our experts in Excel excellence (sorry guys and girls no harm intended). These are the key players in the organization that can create macros, pivot tables , chart , link and make the whole data dance like Torvil and Dean’s skate routine to Bolero (now I'm showing my age). It will take many new hours for these experts to embrace and retain their minds in query structures. This is similar to the experience I had moving to a new nation, I was once proficient in my native tongue and had many skills only to discover I needed again to learn the basics.
Top Tip :
Ensure these excel “ambassadors” become part of the implementation team. Be open and honest to highlight the strengths and weakness of key areas. This approach will gain improved adaption and create a path for these experts to become “data excellence ambassadors”.
Software companies make their money through support and licence to customers, customers make more profit through cost control and therefore a software solution business may be quick to sell their system for the sale.
The customer is then only partly running with its potential benefits. We see this scenario in part sales implementation projects. For instance a printing business implements business intelligence to manufacturing , procurement and sales and accounts. Marketing , HR and design run separate systems.
Sometimes we see this from the result of a full implementation plan. Company x decides to implement BI solutions over a 3 year plan. They implement in 2/3 areas and run out of motivation, money, talent, satisfaction to complete the project in the final year.
Seek concurrent licence agreements for financial optimized solutions, keep the full project scope maintained and expect change to the business needs over the term of the project. Also by allowing fast track examples of success in some areas, you may be able to win justification for swifter fully implementation of the BI system.
Learning by doing is great however this can add to frustration and lack of habit change adaption of members when time pressures are tight. INVEST not invest in the training. Use the training money as smart and wise as possible.
Qualify the suppliers trainers through questioning and vetting. Check the training documentation , ease of access, formats available , mastermind forum groups , on-going support and response time commitments. Who have you selected as the in-house future trainers? If they have great communication skills, do they have the technical skills and vice versa.
The most common issue faced with large scale projects is the medium/long term fitness for purpose. A car or computer from 20 years ago was a high precision performance tool in it’s day, today is out performed from different production methods and performance levels. This is the same with business intelligence. You will see changing demands of the business, customer and market demands and capabilities of software solutions. So, the choice of code source language, platforms and growth potentials are critical to understand in the flexibility of its architecture.
Flexibility is the key for future proof use of your data. Short ROI timelines (think a maximum of 36months) of your investment will allow the business to understand short term requirements whilst been open for future technology changes. Define your wish, wants and needs at each reporting and data collection interchange.
This two part post has covered some old, new and potential future changes that will be relevant for any company looking to implement a business intelligence solution and engage with improved analytics. The changes to the industry is creating a lot of change and although this post may not be seen as software seller friendly I trust these participants in the market will address the broader holistic need of their customers.
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