How to make your business ready for business intelligence
A frequent question for companies is which business intelligence system they should invest in. This is then rapidly followed by what skills, servers will be needed or should a business pursue a cloud based solution? Then the bottom line question of how long is the return on investment (ROI) for a business intelligence system?
Before you seek answers to these questions it is best to be prepared with some basic knowledge of your existing circumstances and situation. `
I have listed here key information that will help a business identify the current costs attributed to their existing reporting system. When performing the audit to answer these questions I hope you add and highlight some disadvantages with certain approaches and prepare for a strategic answer to the big question of “are you ready for business intelligence?”
· How many Excel experts do you have in the organization and what happens to their work when they are sick or on holiday?
· What are the key data transfer mechanisms used to-date? Manual/ auto upload into excel, other system
· How many hours a day/week/month does EACH worker/manager spend producing reports?
· Do you report results or do you have an organization that is already reporting behavior performance?
· Is there a variety of report formats not standardized in your business?
· What is the distribution mechanism used at the business for reports? (email issue or self service)
· What are the legal and regulatory data requirements for your business data?
· What is the current data security costs and process for your company?
· What is the honest level of data accuracy per report (report in error bands, 0-1%, 1, 1-3%, 3, 1-5%5, 1%-10% and great than 10, 1%)
Prepare for 2 rounds
Using the above questions prepare a case for your leadership to understand the existing costs attributed to reporting, key skills reliance and help identify some new potential opportunities. I recommend you set a money value next to each point so a full financial model can be constructed. This new financial spend awareness will help a business be aware of the costs and also fair investment for future changes and set their own time line expectations for ROI on a new business intelligence system.
The answer to the above questions often generates an opportunity to improve straight away some accuracy issues, short term reporting process flows and skill share amongst the business. I advise to make these changes first, enjoy the improvements and then review the questions again.
Once your business has undergone a second audit, use these figures as the basis case to understand the correct current costs of business intelligence in a more optimal performance environment and then use these figures as the case point to justify any business intelligence solution.
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