Creating a compelling Business Intelligence & Analytics strategy can be daunting, but it is a critical activity in a world where competitive advantage often goes to the company that is most adept at processing data to inform meaningful business decisions. Get it right, and the advantages are plenty. Get it wrong, and the costs – both in terms of capital and opportunity – are high.
As such, many of our customers have recognized an acute need for ensuring their Business Intelligence and Analytics efforts are strategically driven, and that the strategy is devised in close alignment with the business’ objectives rather than narrowly focused on technical possibilities.
To understand the difference, think back to two decades ago, when the World Wide Web was an emerging technology and conventional wisdom simply said an enterprise organization needed to have some sort of web presence. The companies who emerged with real competitive advantage weren’t those who simply put a check in the “we have a website” box, but those who were able to envision how their position in the market could be advanced by the strategic application of this technological disruption – think e-commerce, mobile banking, streaming music.
Fast forward to the present. We are witnessing a period where data is in abundance – generated by everything from traditional ERP systems to our smart watches – and the technology landscape is richer than ever before. Technology vendors are churning out product updates at unprecedented speeds (Just try keeping up with the latest release of Power BI). Cloud technologies have changed many aspects of the game, from the cost structure of procuring infrastructure to the speed with which we can begin delivering solutions (You can spin up a server faster than you can read this sentence.). Methodologies like Agile and DevOps are being adopted by IT organizations in force, driven by a pressure to respond faster and faster to evolving business needs.
With all the buzz from technology vendors, new methodologies, and avalanches of data available to us, it’s easy for companies to feel lost in the fog of disruption and grow anxious about falling behind. This sort of environment can lead to a sort of “Keeping up with the Joneses” mentality, where companies feel pressure to implement technology for technology’s sake, a mistake which often leads to costly projects that yield no real impact to the bottom line. In recent times, I worked with a new customer who was working through the aftermath of a large, multi-year, multi-million dollar program that was brought to a halt when it became apparent that the value it was delivering back to the business was negligible. In today’s climate, the need for a strategy that is practical, resilient, and rooted in strategic business value is paramount.
In my ten years as a consultant with Thorogood, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s leading companies on various aspects of their Business Intelligence and Analytics strategies – from technology selection to user empowerment to self-service governance. One thing my experience has taught me is that any successful Business Intelligence strategy will keep the “business” part of the equation at the forefront. One of the more interesting aspects of my job is helping companies understand the technical possibilities in the light of those business objectives.
To that end, I recently hosted a multi-part webcast series in which I explored four key areas that should be considered in any company’s Business Intelligence and Analytics strategy – tools, data, people, and process. In the series, I explore a particular topic in each area:
- Tools – Considerations for Front End Tool Selection
- Data – Storing and Modeling Data to Service Dynamic Business Needs
- People – Amplifying your Investment by Empowering Users
- Process – Organizing and Governing BI & Analytics
If you or somebody you know is interested in understanding more about devising a Business Intelligence strategy, I’d encourage you to watch the series, which can be accessed below. For a more concentrated discussion specific to your business, please feel free to reach out via email.
Because Thorogood has extensive experience across a range of Business Intelligence and Analytics services, we are able to provide our customers with strategies and approaches that elicit the confidence organizations need when embarking on a new path. We’ve helped customers with roadmaps across a range of areas, including architectural design, technology selection, training, operational support and data management. If you would like help with your strategy and roadmaps, please feel free to reach out to understand more about how our business-focussed approach to BI & Analytics strategies can serve your company’s goals.