Business Intelligence or BI is a practice that empowers small businesses to make better decisions by tracking, processing, storing, and analyzing data to turn it into insights. It almost sounds too good to be true, but today we track and store huge amounts of data. If applied correctly it can serve a very important purpose in your company. Getting lost in the data is an easy thing to do, but with the proper BI toolset you don’t have to worry about analyzing it all yourself. Dashboards are created and the data you need is just there, waiting to be used. You can create reports for all of your department heads to understand who your top performers are, what marketing content works on your target audience, when you should hire, what your cash position will be in 45 days, if you should add a new product to your business, and so on.
There is no denying the end results of implementing BI are incredible and in many cases downright transformative. But how do you get started? A little planning goes a long way and will save you countless headaches along the way. We suggest you do these four things before setting up your BI dashboards.
Identify a BI Champion
You’ll need a leader within your organization who truly understand the value BI can bring to your business. This person will be an advocate for the cause, so to speak, and should be able to organize the resources necessary to make your business intelligence efforts successful. The biggest obstacles for a BI champion are often the initial budget and resources to get started.
You wouldn’t go on a road trip without a map (or Google Maps handy). Planning your BI implementation is no different. You need to create a strategy with input from each area of your business. Critical functions include Finance, Sales & Marketing, Operations, HR and more. Leaders in each of these areas should be involved to help your team frame the picture and identify needs.
Measure What Matters
What are your business drivers? Objectives? These measures are critical to your success with Business Intelligence. Identify the most impactful measures early on and prioritize them. Business Intelligence is a powerful tool but without an objective, you may end up wasting your time and resources.
Think Outside the Box
Sure, you can recreate the reports you are pulling manually. It is common for organizations to leverage BI tools to automate monotonous and repetitive reporting tasks. However, we highly suggest thinking outside the box because the right toolset puts so much more at your fingertips. Challenge your BI team to deliver extraordinary results. Trust me, they are within reach.
BI has the power to transform your business and ensure you are making the best decision you can make to help your organization grow.