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Business Intelligence Preparation For SME's

Business intelligence (BI) is increasingly more essential for effective forecasting and decision-making. In reality, understanding everything that's driving your business today may be the only way to ensure continued growth and profitability in the future. However, the biggest challenge facing SME's is not knowing how to start a BI project, and what solution to go with. Here we attempt to answer some of those basic questions.

Here below is a list of high level key considerations for small and midsize businesses, before launching a BI Initiative.

1.    Learn how to assess your current business processes and help determine what types of information is most important to the success of your entire organization. This involves sitting down with sales, marketing, operations and listening to what customers have to say. There needs to be a common ground on what defines success, what metrics should the business strive to deliver against and who will be involved in delivering the success.

2.    Discover how to evaluate, implement, and manage a BI solution in your company as well as who to involve and how to ensure their ongoing commitment to actionable information. When launching a BI initiative it is paramount you get leadership buy-in and that they champion the project and ensures folks further down the ladder set up time to be involved/committed to the project. Once you have the necessary sponsorship, it is important to flesh out the requirements, evaluate possible solutions in the market place that can deliver on those capabilities needed. You can hire experts that have been there and done it before, or write an RFP and get 2-3 proposals back then select the solution that hits most of the success criteria (price, flexibility, timeline, maintenance costs, to name a few).

3.    Explore the functionalities that can immediately improve the way you leverage information and take advantage of every possible opportunity for your business. If Sales had certain key information at their finger tips how could it help them cross-sell and increase revenue. Alternatively, if operations had better understanding of metrics would it identify areas where the company can streamline and reduce waste.

These are just some basic high level considerations to analyse before launching a BI project. For any project to be successful it is about having the necessary skill set to execute, appropriate funding and leadership buy-in, and realistic expectations/timelines signed off by the sponsor.

See previous article reviewing common failures of BI projects:

Avoid BI Project Failure

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