Not all organizations are prepared to implement sophisticated business intelligence. But with the right planning and resources, you’ll be ready when the time comes.
You’ve heard the siren call of business intelligence and data analytics. It is no longer the exclusive domain of large, enterprise corporations, and your growing company is ready to jump in.
That’s great! But before you commit, have you considered whether your organization and your team are truly ready for BI?
Take the Quiz: BI Comfort Zone
We founded Bison Analytics in 2006 to deliver on the promise of business intelligence to growing organizations. We were going to do what no one else seemed able to do – supercharge QuickBooks data. Well, let’s just say it was easier said than done. Every time we found a solution to one problem, another would pop up. But we kept at it, and today, the Bison System provides a sophisticated BI solution that was unimaginable when we started out.
Now when we talk to CFO’s and controllers, they are eager to implement reporting and analytics in their growing companies. And why wouldn’t they? With the right tools, they can expect to achieve significant time savings and discover deep insights to drive organizational growth.
FOMU, Bandwidth, and “The Shiny New Thing”
Before committing to “the shiny new thing” it’s important to consider your motivation. For some, there’s a “fear of missing out” – or FOMU if you happen to be a millennial. In other words, they see what BI is doing for other growing businesses, and feel compelled, perhaps even an anxiety, to implement it for their organization. It’s more than just a shiny new thing – it’s a “must have”. Other organizations simply don’t have the bandwidth to implement analytics. There’s one thing to have a tool that provides you with insightful reports. It’s another thing altogether to regularly measure your KPI’s and make informed decisions based upon the data. What we’ve found is that while there has been a democratization of the tools, it does not mean that all organizations are ready to jump into business intelligence. Certainly as a BI vendor, we want companies to reap the great rewards of BI, but organizations need to plan and prepare to implement the tools. It is important that they move in the direction of a culture of analytics.
What is a culture of analytics?
Salesforce eloquently defines the culture of analytics as “the commitment, supported by executives, to place the power of data in the hands of more business users across their company, using modern analytics tools.” In other words, the right tools are put in place for individuals to access the information, along with support and encouragement from management to make decisions based on it. A culture of analytics needs to be nurtured, and not all organizations have the resources or buy-in. It takes a commitment to not just invest in the technology, but to train your team to use the data and the results for “real analysis”.
Some Things To Consider Before Implementing BI
What do you want to get from your analytics tool?
Has your organization considered what reports and KPI’s will help you steer the organization toward growth? For many growing organizations, there are just a handful of reports and dashboards that are crucial for steering their growth.
Does leadership know how individuals want to consume their information?
Creating the reports and dashboards that individuals access and consume requires additional implementation and development resources. Alternatively, a la carte solutions may be less expensive and provide a wealth of options to the individual. However, it puts the onus on them to create the reports, which requires a certain level of training and the associated costs.
On the subject of training, not all individuals within the organization have the same comfort level with analytics, even if the reports and dashboards are delivered to them. Initial culture clashes frequently occur between individuals who embrace analytics and those that do not. Does leadership have the time and resources to train and nurture those who don’t have the comfort level with analytics? Are they able to move beyond the initial resistance?
Does the executive team have a long-term commitment to analysis?
The best course of action for a small business is to adopt a “crawl, walk, run” approach, as noted by SAP. They should implement BI in stages, starting with small steps, and building upon them as they achieve proficiency. This approach allows the organization to learn on a small budget, and the mistakes are not expensive. Hence, in the crawl phase, the objective is to get comfortable with BI technology and implement the aspects that have an immediate impact on day-to-day decision making. In the walk and run phases, the organization can build on its success to go for a higher degree of integration, transitioning from simple reports and executive dashboards to more complicated operational reports, search-based queries, ad hoc analysis, and mobile BI.
Is Your Organization in the BI Comfort Zone?
Not all organizations are prepared to implement sophisticated business intelligence. Indeed, not all organizations need it right now, and that’s ok. Over time, that is bound to change. With the right planning and resources, you’ll be ready when the time comes.