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Business Intelligence Strategy – Beginning Steps


Business Intelligence Strategy

A business intelligence strategy is used to determine where an organization is and where they are going with their BI implementation.  To start building an effective business intelligence strategy requires taking an objective look at your organizations BI capabilities including data, technology and people.


When you begin your discovery into the current capabilities you will need to find and document all data sources that users are leveraging for business decisions.  These should include databases, spreadsheets, portal lists, shared files on the network, etc.  Create a spreadsheet to document the data your locate and include the columns for additional information.  Each data source should be labelled with at least the following columns:

  • Importance – {low, medium, high, critical}
  • Quality – {low, med, high}
  • Future use – {System of Record, move to application, delete data already exists in XXX app, etc}


Once you understand your data, you can then review the existing technologies in the organization.  It is easier to start by documenting the tools that are currently being used leveraged by users in the company.  These should include enterprise wide tools as well as any one off software that may in use.  Work with your AP department or Vendor Management team to look for invoices or contracts that have been paid.  I have seen many instances where companies continue to pay for software that no one is even using.  Other software to consider is cloud based or open source solutions that exist only on a single or few machines.  With each discovery document how many people are using the software and why they are using it.


As you explore the organization and talk to people about what they doing with their data and reporting.  Determine how these people like to work with the data.  Self-service BI may be a goal of many BI software vendors, however, if your organizations culture does not promote this it is often an unobtainable target.  Look for users that know how to do pivot tables in Excel or advance functions.  These are your power users.  Keep track of users that mention they just need a report.  These users often want to see the end result and are not interested in performing any kind of work to get the result.  Understanding your users and how they interact with the data will ultimately decide the direction that you need to implement in your BI Strategy.




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