Your Guide to Business Intelligence Implementation

Rebekah Carter

Before beginning your implementation journey, it is vital to take stock of the four BI tech options

Your Guide to Business Intelligence Implementation

Business Intelligence (BI) can be defined as a set of tools, technologies, and strategies that lets you analyse business data to extract meaningful information and actionable insights, with the sole purpose of making smarter, data-driven decisions.

Data-driven companies earn 80% more revenue per employee on average, besides being 22% more profitable – which is why BI implementation is a top priority for most organisations in 2021. With the right approach, you can unlock significant ROI from your BI investment, automating basic tasks like report generation and periodic reviews while also generating added value.

What Are the 4 Types of BI Solutions?

Business intelligence technology comprises a layered market, with a range of solutions for every level of digital maturity. Before you begin your implementation journey, it is vital to take stock of the four BI tech options available:

  • Data science + business intelligence – This type sits at the “highly mature” end of the spectrum. It allows you to transform, manipulate, and remodel data, in addition to reports and insight generation (e.g., Looker)
  • Self-service business intelligence – This type requires business analyst expertise but can be used by a diverse cross-section of users. Self-service BI tools can be hosted on the cloud, with excellent ease of use (e.g., Domo)
  • Industry-specific BI tools – These are tailored for specific horizontal/vertical requirements – for instance, BI for logistics, executive strategy, product development, CRM, etc. Industry-specific BI tools are typically custom built
  • Embedded business intelligence in apps – This type sits at the “youngest” end of the digital maturity spectrum with very little barrier to entry. A good example is Salesforce, which has embedded analytics and BI to give you data insights

5 Steps for BI Implementation

Keeping these four types in mind, here are the steps you need to follow for a successful BI implementation.

  1. Pinpoint business units and stakeholders

You need to have a clear business use case in mind before short-listing solutions and starting on implementation. Begin with the vertical(s) with pre-existing data resources and assign an owner to head the BI project.

  1. Put together a centre of excellence

The centre of excellence ensures there is a cohesive vision for digital maturity as multiple BI initiatives are executed across the organisation. It should ideally include the respective project owners from each business unit and a centralised governance leader.

  1. Identify the ideal BI solution type

Now, depending on the nature and number of business use cases at work, you can zero in on the best-fit BI solution type from the four alternatives we discussed. For highly complex and unique use cases, data science capabilities may be required. Industry-specific tools are meant for multiple use cases within one business unit.

  1. Conduct vendor assessment and shortlist

Assess the potential vendors in your selected category based on feature specifications, hosting environment, security and compliance, and services support. There’s some vendor lock-in involved with BI, so this is an important decision.

  1. Deploy and measure ROI

Finally, benchmark performance after 6, 12, and 24 months after implementation using the pre-BI baseline to understand the solution’s total economic impact.



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