Deploying a Business Intelligence Solution
While off-the-shelf BI products are certainly available, the best business intelligence results will come from custom BI solutions. Every business has its own set of idiosyncrasies, and the most complete BI solution is one that takes all of these unique characteristics into account, working with them rather than despite them.Many BI solutions make use of data warehousing, which organizes raw data from multiple disparate sources (your business’s marketing, accounting and sales departments, for example) into one place. A data warehouse gives you the option of treating your data as either one single entity, or as a collection of separate parts.A quality BI engineer can use the capabilities of a data warehouse to build a solution that is rolled out in phases. Perhaps you’d like to start with one set of data, such as financial, and deploy your custom solution on that section first. You can get analytics and self-service dashboards for your business personnel up and running, and begin to build out the next section - let’s say supply chain data - as you and your team is getting used to the first.This segmented roll-out allows a company to concentrate on bite-sized chunks of data, rather than being overwhelmed by access to everything at once. This helps employees get their heads around the new BI system. This process is more manageable, offering focused initial insights. Small wins encourage the adoption of the new BI system and create demand for more data. Small wins turn into large wins for the organization as more data is unveiled.
The Phased Approach to Deploying Business Intelligence
An effective approach to producing a BI solution for your business begins with defining your objectives and then an iterative process to plan and deploy the solution in phases:
The BI consultant first works with the business to discover, define and prioritize the objectives of the solution with an emphasis on creating an environment of self-service analysis. The overall objectives lead to a series of iterations, allowing the BI solution to scale across the organization. Each iteration is composed of 5 steps outlined below.
After identifying the goals of the solution and the parameters laid down by the business for this phase, the BI consultant works with the business to prototype the visual analytics that will be the output of this iteration of the overall BI solution.
Work on the solution proper begins with design of the database schema, ETL processes, and reports or visualizations.
With the design now established, the solution is developed into a workable product that meets the goals laid out in the previous steps. The BI solution will be tested in a real-world situation. If bugs or issues are identified then the BI consultant will return to the Develop phase to resolve them.
Once both the business is satisfied that the solution is ready, it is deployed for use by business personnel. User training is provided if necessary.Often, the discovery, prototyping, and planning for the next iteration can begin while the development and validation of the current phase are in process. Each iteration delivers a fully functional BI solution to the end users. Our comprehensive guide, "What is Business Intelligence" covers this and many other topics related to Business Intelligence. If you are considering planning or deploying a solution, it is a must read. Some of the main topics include suggestions for making determinations regarding:
Investing in Business Intelligence
Ensuring success for a BI initiative
Measuring the ROI Business Intelligence
Major trends shaping the future of Business Intelligence
If you are ready to discuss your specific challenges or what CSG can offer, you can contact us to learn more about how to start implementing your solution.