Business Intelligence

PSGS 007: 4 Critical Steps to Creating Effective BI Teams

 Business  Intelligence

"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people." –Eleanor Roosevelt

Guest Post by Brittany Richards

Thanks to software vendors investing heavily in making their applications easier-to-use, accessible via the Web and more affordable, Business  Intelligence (BI) software is now a viable option for employees in sales,  marketing, operations, and other departments to utilize.

But with the proliferation of these tools, business leaders will have to rethink how they address business intelligence governance, or the roles, responsibilities and guidelines it provides its users to ensure BI tools are utilized correctly and appropriately. When it comes to setting up these new BI teams for success, leaders should consider these steps.

#1 Establish Governance to Provide Structure, Guidance and Boundaries

Myron Weber, founder of business intelligence consulting firm Northwood Advisers, notes that establishing a hierarchy of roles and responsibilities is an essential first-step in any organization when deploying a new BI application, but not enough organizations give governance the attention it deserves.

“It’s absolutely essential that stakeholders know what they can and cannot do, what they should and should not do,” says Weber. While there isn’t a simple formula to go about defining governance, your system should be dictated by your current management structure.

For example, larger organizations with a strict chain-of-command would be well served putting together a “BI Bible,” or written guidelines that define who should initiative a project or report, and when. Smaller organizations can drive the direction of its BI users with regular meetings to discuss current and future analyses.

#2 Anoint Internal or External Domain Experts

While users in sales and marketing positions may contain more domain knowledge, they often lack the technical expertise to utilize BI tools to their full potential. For these reasons, it’s important to identify technical experts to assist users with selecting the right regression to run or most appropriate data to pull.

These experts can be internal employees or external resources. David Handmaker, CEO of Next Day Flyers, relies on a senior analyst to assist members of his sales and marketing team when they need to devise a new report or prepare a statistical model for  the first time.

Organizations can alternatively rely on vendor support teams. This is a good option for organizations without the personnel to adequately assist BI users at the time of deployment.

#3 Allow Business Users to Manage Data

Organizations should ensure that they are correctly balancing resources to accurately capture data, while at the same time not needlessly trying to achieve what Weber calls “perfect data.” He questions, “If directionality is all that is necessary for action, why obsess over data accuracy?”

Unfortunately, it’s hard for IT to know where to push for accuracy and where to be more lenient when it comes to data collection and cleansing standards. Weber suggests bringing in the business users to the IT-side of data collection to help make these decisions. Handmaker did this at Next Day Flyers by placing a business analyst in charge of the nightly Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) of its Web visitor and sales data.

#4 Pivot Successful BI Processes to Solve Bigger Problems

Finally, businesses that provide guidance, leadership and set-up BI analysts for success have the potential to create one of the more powerful, strategic groups within the  organization–a resource that is often underutilized. Weber suggests that the most successful business intelligence organizations he works with “evolve their charters over time,” and apply their processes to find (and answer) new questions.

For more on the topic, head to Software Advice’s BI Blog and read the original story.


One thought on “PSGS 007: 4 Critical Steps to Creating Effective BI Teams

  1. First of all I want to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing. I have had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there. I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *