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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