What Hinders the Success of BI Initiatives

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): The fourth sign that you don’t have a BI strategy is if your BI team, if you have a BI team, if they can't articulate what the business strategy is. It's a sure sign that you don’t have a business intelligence strategy because the business intelligence strategy should be directly tied to what your organization’s strategy is.

And finally, there should be metrics around your BI strategy that align with your organization’s strategy. On another level you should have metrics around how you are performing and how you are executing on your BI strategy so that you can readjust it and improve it and can also get the money back to reinvest where you need to focus the dollars to increase or improve your BI as your organization matures.

From our experience there are two things that really hinder the success of BI initiatives in projects. One is simply the lack of a clearly articulated business intelligence strategy, and two, there is not the appropriate executive sponsorship or buy-in to business intelligence strategy.

And we have seen this quite a bit. We have been to more mature IT organizations that understand what it takes to make analytics or business intelligence successful.

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They understand that they need to develop the relationship with the business, to put the BI strategy together, to enhance the BI solutions deployed in the organization and the governance around it. But because they don’t have an executive sponsor, they are not able to push those initiatives to the organizations, and they continue to operate with the ad hoc approach that most organizations take.

Having an executive sponsor can significantly facilitate the purchase and implementation of enterprise software by providing crucial support, leadership, and advocacy throughout the process. Firstly, an executive sponsor brings authority and influence within the organization, which can help overcome resistance to change and garner buy-in from key stakeholders. By championing the software initiative at the executive level, the sponsor sets a tone of importance and urgency, motivating teams to actively engage in the selection and adoption process.

Secondly, an executive sponsor plays a pivotal role in aligning the software initiative with strategic business objectives. With a deep understanding of organizational goals and priorities, the sponsor can ensure that the chosen software solution aligns with the company's long-term vision and addresses critical business needs. This alignment enhances the likelihood of successful implementation and maximizes the return on investment by driving tangible business outcomes. Furthermore, an executive sponsor provides invaluable guidance and resources to support the implementation journey. Whether it's allocating budgetary resources, mobilizing cross-functional teams, or resolving organizational roadblocks, the sponsor's leadership and advocacy empower project teams to navigate challenges effectively and stay on course towards achieving project milestones.Additionally, the sponsor serves as a bridge between the project team and executive leadership, facilitating communication, providing strategic direction, and escalating issues as needed.

Finally, an executive sponsor fosters accountability and ownership throughout the organization by demonstrating commitment to the software initiative. By publicly endorsing the project and actively participating in steering committees or project reviews, the sponsor signals to the organization that the software implementation is a top priority. This commitment encourages stakeholders at all levels to actively contribute to the success of the initiative and fosters a culture of collaboration, innovation, and continuous improvement. Overall, having an executive sponsor can significantly enhance the likelihood of success in purchasing and implementing enterprise software by providing strategic guidance, organizational support, and leadership advocacy.

So if we then re-visit this, what questions can be answered if we do have a business intelligence strategy? Well first, it helps us to go to the beginning. From a business perspective what problems are we trying to solve, and do we have the information or access to information that will help us solve those problems?So immediately you can understand what the BI needs are and identify those gaps so you can start targeting your BI strategy to close those gaps. From there, not only is it understanding what the current state is. It’s also understanding what should the future state be, that can also be determined with a BI strategy.

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