Leading organizations of all kind are seeking new, smarter ways to improve performance, grow revenue, develop stronger relationships and increase workforce effectiveness – and they expect individuals in every role to contribute to these outcomes. Business Intelligence (BI) is a key factor in achieving such results because it supports informed decision making at every level, enabling managers, executives and knowledge workers to take the most effective action in given situation. BI software connects people with information when and where they need it, and provides capabilities for beyond spreadsheets to deliver a true picture of the business.
Think big, Start small
Midsize companies are perfect candidates for an incremental approach to BI. Because they have limited IT staff and budget, smaller firms need to a practical solution that enables them to deploy components tactically and incrementally. These businesses should “think big” yet scale their approaches to fit a company with fewer resource.
Some companies make the mistake of trying to solve all their challenges at once, and ultimately fail. By focusing on the highest priority business pain point, then selecting which capability will address the issue – such as analysis or reporting, small to midsize firms can more easily stay within their resource capacity and budget, realize business benefits more quickly and provide justifications for further investment.
For example, an organization in the early phases of BI can:
- Start with reports or dashboards for information on how the business is performing
- Add analysis capabilities to gain insight into why certain events or conditions are occurring
- Incorporate planning functionality to link the insight gained from analysis
- Integrate what-if scenario modeling into the planning and analysis process so that action is immediate across the company
With these capabilities in place, small to midsize companies can deliver consistent, reliable information that helps employees understand what happened and why, and what they should be doing to achieve desired outcomes, while creating an easy-to-follow BI growth path.
BI is a moving target, with constantly evolving business demands. There are three basic approaches to BI:
- Approach 1: IT-centric – BI generally starts out as an engineering, IT-driven initiative focused on data collection and analytical toll selection.
- Approach2: information management – in this approach, decisions become more real time, such as call center, CRM or ERP. The workforce speaks in the present tense “how are we doing, what can we tweak” the adjustments in business planning are persistent.
- Approach 3: predictive awareness – “Future tense” where scenario modeling permits examination of new business models, market opportunities and products.
- IT organization must work in partnership with business counterparts to address the decision-making needs of the enterprise, and quantify and qualify the impact of those decisions.
- IT organization must educate itself and business leaders that BI is not a technology tool, but a decision-making environment based on a solid business process orientation and performance management function.
- TI organization must take the lead in establishing a common language for BI that is completely business-oriented, tying BI initiatives to specific business decision and outcomes.
Do you have any recommendations not listed above? Feel free to leave a comment on the Sparq blog!
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