Consider this scenario:
You are about to start an implementation of business intelligence program. You want your project to be a success. You want the program to meet your current needs, provide a solid foundation for future growth and gain significant business adoption.
So how do you go about it?
Just deploying business intelligence software will not make you an intelligent organisation. You need to consider how this program fits with your people, culture and processes.
It is a common recommendation to start a project with an executive buy-in. It’s no different with business intelligence projects, however the executive buy-in in this case will need to go beyond just the funding approval. Strong and ongoing commitment is required to make the tough decisions regarding changes in business processes and organisational culture that will occur as a result of the initiative.
It is important to remember that business intelligence projects will impact how people work with information. It can require a significant change in the way business decisions are made. More often than not, the culture of the organisation must shift from guessing and experience based decision-making, to a fact-based decision-making model. This can be a big change for an organisation and it is absolutely critical that you gain buy-in and support from all of the main stakeholders across the organisation not just top management layer. The project must align with their individual objectives as well as those of the organisation as whole.
Collaboration is the key here. It will be necessary for everyone to be on board and to collaborate in the implementation of any business intelligence solution devised.
How do you do that?
Business case and business value must be defined and understood by everyone involved before the implementation starts. Everyone needs to understand how this solution will contribute to improved business processes. After all, the only reason for the existence of any software, including business intelligence software is for the improvement of business processes.
And while getting initial business buy-in is a challenging task , maintaining it can be much more difficult. Plan to show measurable success early on in the initiative. Avoid getting into long 6-8 month implementations with aims to cover everything at once. Chose platforms that will allow you to start small and expand. Start with low hanging fruit and build on it incrementally before embarking on the next phase.
There is no standard answer to the question where should you start. Everyone is different and the first project should focus on your most visible needs/business issue.
For the first project stage, choose an initiative that will really showcase the value of the project to the organisation. Look for a business area that is narrow enough in scope but with broad impact to quickly demonstrate results. And don’t forget to communicate/broadcast those wins.
And last but not least, develop a roadmap to guide the program through subsequent phases. The road map should include future plans, communication and change management strategies and skills sets required to move the program from one stage to the next.
This will ensure that your business is engaged throughout the program and increase the likelihood of success. Otherwise the program will lose momentum and is destined to fail.