Often businesses can become so wrapped up in data warehousing and centralization that they forget why they started their business intelligence project in the first place: to produce useful information that can be used to increase revenue and create stronger client relationships. It is important that your software package can deliver the necessary intelligence to the people in your company who need it. In order to get started, youll need to look at a couple aspects of your business intelligence project.
Who is Involved
Purchasing business intelligence software will make implementing and managing your BI project much easier, but it wont replace a good project manager. Look for someone in your company that can keep the project focused and can clearly establish and communicate goals for the project. This person should understand the business so that they know what kind of reports will help your company and which will be a waste of time to generate. They need to be able to set expectations and create interest in the project. They will also need to make sure that the end users understand how the information generated can help them do business, which will require training and information sessions on how to use the data.
Your Business Intelligence Software
Your software package needs to support your business goals. You will want a software provider that can offer you technology that will grow with your business as the market changes and the volume of your data increases. You will want something that is tailored to your business, but is not too rigid. The best software will have a Meta Data layer that will make the business intelligence it produces easy for end users to understand. It is far more likely that the people in your company will use BI to make critical decisions if the information is clear and doesnt have technical details that are less important than its meaning for the business. Ideally, end users will be able to generate their own reports with the ability to navigate different data sources and access data in near real time.
Your Business Intelligence Plan
As all of the necessary components fall into place, an effective process will have to be established. Once the software is set up, some sort of support system should be in place for end users. Either it can be in house, spearheaded by the project manager, or your software provider can offer it. A group of power users should be trained within the company since your software provider wont know enough about your business to understand the specifics of the reports or train new users. These people will need to be introduced to the software early in the process. They will then be able to help ease the rest of the company into using business intelligence regularly. Your project manager should create a plan that shows the necessary steps to create reports as well as the different levels of support, so that users know who to contact when they hit a snag.
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