Having a clear view of your data lets you make the right decisions to propel your business forward. The tools and strategies available for data analysis are known as Business Intelligence (BI). There are a lot of solutions out there, and implementing them can be tricky. iQanalytics can help!
A successful BI initiative is not as simple as installing a piece of software such as Power BI, Domo, or Tableau and expecting it to take off. You have to have your data pipeline in order, often in the form of a Data Warehouse (DW). The concepts are so entwined, they are frequently referred to as BI/DW.
Perhaps a greater challenge than data wrangling is user adoption. Many BI efforts fall by the wayside simply because nobody ends up using the tool. Having to learn a new platform can be a lot to ask of users who are already very busy. Creating BI content is a specialized skill that, with rare exception, most tools fail to empower in users. And without compelling content — and fresh content evolving with ever-changing needs of the organization — the chosen BI tool falls out of favor.
How to Succeed at BI
- You need someone with data warehousing experience (even if your BI tool promises you don’t need it).
The ad hoc DW tools in BI products are promising, but things get out of hand quickly in the rapid pace of business without someone who understands DW architecture. You also need this person as a steward of data quality because if users lose confidence in the data provided, you are sunk.
- Limit content creation to skilled users.
Most of the tools are tricky to use, and even the easy ones can provide misleading results if the user joins tables nonsensically. Frustrating tools and invalid content lead to lack of trust in the platform. Some enthusiastic users will insist on create permissions — let them, as they will be your evangelists. (Counterpoint: Domo is the most accessible platform we’ve seen. Empowering more users to create content can eliminate bottlenecks.)
- Make sure users can export underlying data to Excel.
This is a consolation for the previous item. Everybody wants to play with their numbers. As long as they can dump into Excel, they are happy. Consider also that they will want to dress up content for PowerPoint presentations.
- Don’t bite off more (scope) than you can chew (deliver).
A BI/DW system is never “done”. You will constantly be playing catch up to new requirements. Make sure you have the bandwidth to deliver. Scale back the scope if you have to. Once the system goes stale, it’s game over!
Not everybody has time to sift through complex visualizations. Hint: it’s executive management. Provide one page of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at a glance.
- Power BI
- Crystal Reports
- Microsoft SQL Server
- Microsoft Access
- Microsoft Excel
- .NET ASP MVC
- .NET Core