How to implement great business intelligence analytics PART 1

What is your business doing to address the speedy changes in The Internet of Things (IOT), Big Data and make use of the expanding list of specialist cloud analytics software available? How are you planning to boost your budget this fiscal year for business intelligence ? The attraction is clear, imagine the promise of a future where leaders can ask any question about the market or business at breakfast only to have the answer on their smart phone before they get into the car to go to work? Well its possible right? I mean you see the software out there on the market, the demo looked great, the reference customers declared wonders to their bottom line and discovery of new markets. Even the statistics support that for every $1 invested you will get over a $10 return.


What the above story does not tell you, is that behind all that glory and sunshine is a waste land of business project stops, starts, failures, change of directions and frankly total waste of time and money. There are many examples where companies state “yes we implemented that but found it not so beneficial to our business”, “it went well for the first couple of years but we no longer have the in-house skills to develop the system” , “we stopped the project as we found our current reporting system just needed some adjustments and we are very happy thank you”…. the list goes on. This long tail of unfortunate experiences ignores the true potential of business intelligence systems, a systemic change and support to the business that can transform performance. Part of the challenge I see is the rapid attractive growth of specialist analytics software designed within a small specific departmental niche and developed with great cloud support.

The growth of the business intelligence industry is expected at a 30% increase compound growth rate through to 2018. So do not expect a mini bun fight for your money! Medium to large organizations risk entering a phase where localized budget allocations will create new BI (business intelligence) silo behavior and expand their own analytics for their own success. This situation contributes to the key reason for poor holistic implementation of a robust BI solution. The situation also identifies a growing mismatch of the new sales systems. The software business will focus on systems, hardware and process’s , the customer will concentrate on departmental level project management, budget, time resources and return on investment and training. What I find often missing in these situations is the grey area of habit forming, environmental circumstances and understanding of impact to the broader BI ecosystem.

Let us take a step back for a minute and review the whole business intelligence solution process. I prefer to explain the implementation of a business intelligence system as like changing the whole lighting system in your company during the winter (if you read this on the equator then imagine it please). The current seating positions, angles of lighting for viewing screens, storage of items, access through the building, parking spaces outside, in the reception and even the toilet cubicle is affected. To make the whole system work you may need to make no changes in some areas, tailor special solutions to other areas and maybe alter the layout of storage, walkways and seating areas. There is a lot of change for what will be considered, little added value so many areas of the business. However, the benefits of being able to control the whole lighting system, understand that emergency lighting systems meet regulation standards, benefit from some localized full ungraded wiring, sockets and electric distribution boards all add to an improved, safer cost efficient system. Of course, some of the on and off switches will have moved and it will take a while before new habits evolve. So be prepared for some significant changes, annoyances, change of habits but an overall company improvement (provided the work has been conducted by reputable suppliers). Remind departmental heads that overloading one part of the system may require larger capacity in another.

If you embrace the above analogy as a storyline to explain to all areas of the business, it becomes clearer of the impacts and considerations that should be managed. Then your selection process of your business intelligence solution may embrace some of the below leading names in their respective fields.

  • Enterprise BI platforms: SAS, IBM Cognos, WebFOCUS, Birst, BusinessObjects, Pentaho, MicroStrategy,
  • Database integrated products: Oracle BI (OBIEE) & SAP NetWeaver BI, Oracle Hyperion, Microsoft BI,
  • Data Discovery & Visualization: Tableau Software, QlikView, Board
  • Specialists: Style Intelligence, BizzScore, Yellowfin BI, Jaspersoft


Initial considerations in your broad selection criteria should include at least the below elements:

  1. Security
  2. Performance (present and future potential)
  3. Mobile BI (ie html5)
  4. Dashboard tools
  5. Balanced Scorecard
  6. OLAP
  7. Data visualization capabilities and expansion
  8. System infrastructure
  9. Search, help and ease of use
  10. Ease of functionality considering expertise/novice user levels
  11. Big Data opportunity
  12. Cloud architecture
  13. Reporting tools and their development/expansion potential
  14. Range of predictive analysis
  15. Connectivity

You may require external help to define these areas.

This concludes my PART 1 of this 2 part post. PART 2 provides clear highlight key areas and hot top tips to help make your business intelligence upgrade or implementation program a solid success.

JAMSO helps business leaders implement great solutions in business intelligence and offer you additional expertise with training in goal setting and KPI management for your success. Join over 3600 others and follow us on Pinterest with over 20 boards and 1500 pins covering areas such as goals, BI, DataViz, project management, Fintech, Manufacturing, design and KPI specialist areas. You can chat with us and join our 1900 followers on Twitter to gain daily tips, white papers and insights.


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