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Creating a Successful Business Intelligence Program

Creating a Successful Business Intelligence Program

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Published by Carl Sawatzky
How to Create a Successful Business Intelligence Program
Thanks to the advancement of database and data storage technologies, as well as increased front-end functionalities, Business Intelligence (BI) initiatives are no longer plagued with the challenges they faced in the past. This White Paper defines BI, explores the benefits to the organization, then outlines the steps needed to implement an effective BI program and drive it forward successfully.
How to Create a Successful Business Intelligence Program
Thanks to the advancement of database and data storage technologies, as well as increased front-end functionalities, Business Intelligence (BI) initiatives are no longer plagued with the challenges they faced in the past. This White Paper defines BI, explores the benefits to the organization, then outlines the steps needed to implement an effective BI program and drive it forward successfully.

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Published by: Carl Sawatzky on Jul 27, 2009
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How to Create a Successful
Business Intelligence Programme
Peter Dillon-ParkinAble Solutions UK Ltd
 
1-800-843-8733www.learningtree.ca
©2009 Learning Tree International. All Rights Reserved.
 
Introduction:The Business Intelligence (BI) Paradox
..........
11. The Business Intelligence Challenge
........
22. Defning Business Intelligence Needs
......
22.1. What Data is Needed?
......................
22.2. What Are the Desired Outcomesor the Business?
................................
33. Success Factors or BusinessIntelligence Initiatives
...............................
34. The Five Levels and Six CriticalAttributes o BI Maturity
...........................
34.1. Level 1: Inormal
................................
4 
4.1.1. Critical Attribute 1:Strong Executive Support
....................
4 
4.1.2. Critical Attribute 2:Key Stakeholder Identifcation
............
44.2. Level 2: Defned
.................................
4 
4.2.1. Critical Attribute 3: EarlyCreation o a Business IntelligenceCompetency Center (BICC)
.................
4 
4.2.2. Critical Attribute 4:Clear Outcome Identifcation
.............
4 4.3. Level 3: Managed
...............................
6 
4.3.1. Critical Attribute 5: Tying CSFsand KPIs to Business Drivers
...............
6 4.4. Level 4: Controlled
.............................
6
4.4.1. Critical Attribute 6:Analytics Awareness
 
...........................
64.5. Level 5: Optimised
.............................
75. Driving Your BI Initiative Forward
............
7Reerences
......................................................
7About Learning Tree International
.................
8About the Author
...........................................
8
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LEARNING TREE INTERNATIONAL
 
White Paper
Introduction:
The Business Intelligence (BI) Paradox
Back in the 1980s, I recall being asked by a client—a major supermarketchain in the UK—to provide them with reorder gures or every oneo their stores. At that time, I was unable to accommodate their requestor two very good reasons: First, there were no tools available to me atthe time that would allow me to work with the databases on the mini-mainrame I was using and, second, I couldn’t build a le big enoughon the mini-mainrame, since the maximum size I could achieve was66MB! Back then, the lack o tools meant I had to invent my own, which was quite challenging. Ultimately, the only way I could meetthe customer’s requirements was to ofoad the data onto a PC andpurchase an external 100MB disk to hold the data, along with a copy o the Paradox RDMS to analyse it.But this example is just one o many rom that time. The early business
intelligence (BI) initiatives—Decision Support Services (DSS), Executive
Inormation Systems (EIS) and Management Inormation Systems(MIS)—had the same mission as BI initiatives o today, which wasto provide accurate answers to questions about the enterprise in atimely manner, support decision-making activities with accurateintelligence and identiy actionable outcomes. And yet they all ailed,banished to the dustbin o history. What’s more, they ounderedprimarily because they lacked the appropriate sotware tools and tech-nical inrastructure—the acilitating technologies—that could supportthe needs o the business.Fast orward to present day: Now many households possess over aterabyte o storage distributed over various devices, making thesizing issues I aced in the ‘80s seem quaint. In addition, the technicalinrastructure that underpins BI—databases, storage and ront-endunctionality—are now largely commoditised, meaning that any technology company that wants to assemble and bring to market aBI solution can do so. There are also many robust, reliable businessintelligence tools widely available, rom open source sotware tocommercial oerings like Microsot BI Studio, Cognos, SAP andso orth.Furthermore, technical issues that plagued early BI initiatives have virtually disappeared to the point where a reasonably intelligentdatabase manager can design a digital dashboard or use a PivotTableto report on data in Excel. Add to this the act that the storage requiredor the denormalised databases that support BI initiatives has becomequite inexpensive, and the twin problems o tools and storage havebeen comprehensively vanquished.So why, you may ask, in the BI Rapid Survey Report
(1)
carried outby the National Computing Centre, did 21% o respondents reportthat their BI system did not have the data they needed? And why,according to the same report, have 87% o BI projects not lived upto expectations?This is the business intelligence paradox that I will address in thispaper along with providing strategies that will ensure the imple-mentation o a successul BI programme.
1
Business Intelligence Programme
1-800-843-8733
 
www.learningtree.ca
©2009 Learning Tree International. All Rights Reserved.
 
1. The Business Intelligence Challenge
Organisations oten suer because they pay too muchattention to vendors who sell BI as a cure-all or unspeciedills. In airness, the vendor’s job is, ater all, to sell as muchconsultancy as they can (or as much as is asked or). However,a vendor can
never
know our organisation the way that wedo, hence the need to identiy the desired outcomes o a BIinitiative internally 
before
engaging with vendors. However,this requires a common vision within the organisation as to what business intelligence actually 
is
and what it can(or won’t) be used or.Let’s begin by understanding some terms. A “closed-ended”tool is one that perorms only one unction. A cookie cutter isa good example, as there’s really only one thing we can do with it. Many organisations buy BI solutions as i they weresimilarly closed-ended—a “x” or a problem that is otenunstated. Their opposite—“open-ended” tools—are morefexible. They are like a saw, which can cut trees but can alsobe used to make urniture, build a house or even be played asan instrument.Treating BI solutions as closed-ended tools leads to impreci-sion about what we want BI or. BI is an open-ended tool thatrequires the denition o needs and objectives beore we buy into a solution. And be aware: i the guy we’ve put in chargeo doing that assessment works or the business that sells asolution, I believe you can guess with some degree o certainty  which solution we’re going to get.In short, early on in the process o selecting a BI solution, weneed to analyse the useulness o BI to our organisation and what outcomes we expect rom our investment.
2. Defning Business Intelligence Needs
So what must be considered rst? The perceptive managerneeds to ask questions about BI:
•WhatisthedesiredoutcomefromaBIsolution?•Havewepresentedastrongenoughbusinesscase
 in support o the BI solution?
•Whodoweneedtotalktowithintheorganisation?
Outside the organisation?
•Shouldweattackstrategicortacticalproblemsrst?•Whatproblemshouldwestartwith?•Istherea“minimumoption”whereweget80%of
 the benet or 20% o the investment?
•Whatdataisneeded?•Whatarethedesiredbusinessoutcomes?•Afterallthis…doweneedBIatall?
 As these questions are being addressed, it’s critical to startbuilding a cross-discipline team in the areas o businessanalysis, project management, IT and the wider businesscommunity as their involvement will be crucial to the process.
2.1. What Data is Needed?
BI consists o both enabling and acilitating technologies.Enabling technologies are technologies that generate the datathat BI “consumes”. Examples o enabling technologies are:
•EnterpriseResourcePlanning(ERP)
 
Applications used by large organisations to manageinventory, resources and business processes acrossall departments in the enterprise.
•ElectronicPoint-Of-Sale(EPOS)
 
Systems that streamline stock control and ordering systems through bar-code scanning and allow theautomatic processing o credit card paymentsor goods.
•RadioFrequencyIDentication(RFID)tagging 
 
Inventory data stored on a tag transmitted via radio.Oten used to track buying habits, this technology is leading to an explosion in the sheer volume o data due to the possibility o all tags being uniquerather than generic.Businesses oten ocus solely on these types o enabling technology to provide data or their BI initiatives. This datais both structured and
internal
to our business—in short,the data we already have easy access to. Many organisationsonly analyse structured and internal data. But there are othertypes o data, too. For example,
unstructured data
reers todata we have access to but haven’t systematised, such ase-mails, project plans and the inormation stored away inling cabinets. On the other hand,
external data
reers to data we don’t possess but need to know about, like competitorinormation, published comments and share-price graphs. According to IDC/Teradata
(2)
 , 55% o the inormation thatdecision makers currently deal with or decision making isunstructured and external. This is why users o BI systemscomplain about “missing data”. Alastair Sim o SAS puts itbest: “
Organisations are not using BI to drive the decision making that will allow them to grow and innovate because they are not seeing structured and unstructured data as a single source”.
2
©2009 Learning Tree International. All Rights Reserved.
Business Intelligence Programme
1-800-843-8733
www.learningtree.ca
 
LEARNING TREE INTERNATIONAL
 
White Paper

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