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Top 10 Business Intelligence risks (and their solutions) (Part Two)
22 Sep, 2011 - Lachlan James

Thinking about embarking upon a Business Intelligence (BI) project at your organization? In the midst of gathering requirements and finding that things are going awry? Or does it feel like the launch date is peaking its fearsome head over the horizon far too soon? Then check out the first half of this blog series - Top 10 Business Intelligence risks (and their solutions) (Part One) – and then keep reading…

Here’s the second half of our ten most common BI risks list and how you can (hopefully) avoid them:

  1. Over promising and under-delivering: Promising reporting and analytics for all and then delivering a handful of inactionable reports for a few will reduce user confidence in the usefulness of the BI project and the likelihood of ongoing executive sponsorship.
    • Solution:
      • To avoid this situation, develop reports for one user group at a time, say the sales team, moving onto the user group of next highest priority in a systematic fashion. Create and follow a realistic delivery schedule – don’t try to do it all at once.
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  2. Scope Creep: Even if you follow the above advice, and develop a realistic delivery schedule, things can still very easily and very quickly get out-of-hand. New requests and requirements flood in and, in the blink of a (B)eye, you’re suddenly attempting to implement and manage the most gargantuan BI project ever undertaken. Somehow, you’ve vowed to deliver reports on all imaginable metrics/KPIs, for every person, in every department.
    • Solution:
      • Carefully document requirements and scope at each stage of the rollout and stick to it.
      • Account, within reason, for unexpected expenses, data requests, data collation and data cleaning.
      • Be eternally vigilant – don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ when you’re asked, for the thousandth time, for just-that-little-bit-extra.
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  3. Locking everything down from the beginning: Business priorities have changed but the data you’re collecting and the report types you’re producing haven’t. You’re BI program is stagnant, and consequently, irrelevant.
    • Solution:
      • Adopt an iterative development approach. Deliver on requirements in small chunks to ensure that business needs are always being met. Iterative development mitigates the risk of waste, and helps your BI program remain highly relevant, whilst enjoying widespread, sustainable user-adoption.
      • Select a BI tool that is easy-to-use and allows business users to search for and create content independently. Self-service BI will allow users to satisfy many of their reporting needs in near-real-time. And, because users are actively engaging with the product, usage rates will remain strong.
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  4. Losing financial backing: For a multitude of reasons – some legitimate, some political – project funding is cut. Is it all over?
    • Solution:
      • The BI project isn’t over. You just need to reassess what’s possible. Go back to the requirements already gathered and go through them with a ruthless red pen.
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  5. Too many moving parts makes it hard to access information and attain insight: Many BI tools are made up of different applications and components to satisfy both reporting and analysis necessities. Navigating between these modules can be cumbersome and restrictive, particularly for non-technical business users. The result? User abandonment and a missed opportunity.
    • Solution:
      • Ensure that your BI solution is a single integrated application that utilizes a uniform User Interface to move seamlessly across the breadth of the tool’s functionality.

A roadmap to success

Like your BI project to go off without a hitch? Drop us a line at Yellowfin and ask for our proven roadmap to BI success, and discover how Yellowfin is making Business Intelligence easy.

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