Creating a Business Intelligence Strategy

Below is the continuation of the transcript of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft on the topic of Business Analytics and Competitive Advantage. The presenter is Mark Flaherty, Chief Marketing Officer at InetSoft.

Mark Flaherty (MF): Now if we take one step deeper into idea of competing with business analytics, we look at what we saw in the CIO priorities survey, that the priorities are aligned with business intelligence, but within that, there is often a discrepancy between the priorities of the business versus the CIO.

For example, we see that the CIO’s number one priority is to improve end user workforce productivity. This is important. This is something that should be focused on. But if we look at what the business exec’s priority is, it’s to acquire and retain customers. So how do we average this out to get a conformed focus on what the priorities are between the technology group and the business execs?

Well, the first step is a to create a business intelligence strategy, and before you understand or talk about what your business intelligence strategy is, let's go to a couple of questions to make sure that you do have one. So many times you realize that you don’t have one, and we see this quite often in different organizations, and maybe see if this is similar to what you may have in your organization.

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The Signs You Have No BI Strategy

So one sign: the BI strategy consists of a BI Architecture slide. We see this a lot. Most times we are talking to the technology group, and they are responsible for the architecture so it makes sense when they talk about BI strategy, they pull out an architecture slide. However, this is only a single component of a BI strategy. It is not a BI strategy.

The next one, IT is asking the business what reports they need. So if you are doing that, chances are you don’t have a well defined and established BI strategy. This often leads to a proliferation of reports on the downside.

Obviously, the business may get questions answered. This is beneficial. You need to operate this way, but you need to make sure that this is aligned with your overall BI strategy again, not just a single component. And a third sign that you don’t have a BI strategy: again from an IT focus, they often say they haven’t established on or can't establish a BI strategy until they have built out their data warehouse, getting their reporting infrastructure put in place. Again, it is not a BI strategy.

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Best Practices for Creating a BI Strategy

Crafting an effective Business Intelligence (BI) strategy is paramount for organizations seeking to derive valuable insights from their data. Firstly, it's essential to start with a clear understanding of the organization's goals and objectives. This involves aligning the BI strategy with the overall business strategy to ensure that BI initiatives directly contribute to achieving key objectives. By establishing a solid foundation rooted in the company's vision and mission, organizations can prioritize BI initiatives that drive real business value.

Secondly, a successful BI strategy hinges on the quality and accessibility of data. Implementing best practices for data governance, data quality management, and data integration lays the groundwork for accurate and reliable insights. Data governance frameworks ensure that data is consistent, secure, and compliant with regulations, instilling confidence in decision-makers. Moreover, organizations must invest in robust data infrastructure and integration capabilities to aggregate disparate data sources effectively. Accessibility is equally crucial; democratizing data access empowers employees across all levels to make data-driven decisions, fostering a culture of analytics-driven innovation.

Lastly, fostering a data-driven culture is imperative for the long-term success of a BI strategy. This involves promoting data literacy across the organization, ensuring that employees possess the necessary skills to interpret and leverage data effectively. Providing comprehensive training programs and cultivating a supportive environment for experimentation and learning are essential components of nurturing a data-driven culture. Furthermore, leadership plays a pivotal role in championing the importance of BI initiatives and fostering collaboration between business units and IT departments. By fostering a culture where data is valued as a strategic asset, organizations can unlock the full potential of their BI investments and drive sustainable growth and innovation.

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