4 things successful BI deployments have in common

Maybe you think it’s profoundly obvious – of course you know what constitutes a successful Business Intelligence (BI) deployment. And whilst you might know how to implement an effective BI project, it’s clear that many don’t.

In a recent survey by technology analyst group, Forrester Research, half of those responding to the study indicated that they have plans to implement or expand their usages of BI within the next 24 months. But here’s the catch. In addition to the findings in the Trends 2011 And Beyond: Business Intelligence report, Forrester acknowledges that over 50 percent of BI programs fail or grind to a halt.

So odds are, these four factors for a successful BI deployment will be of use to at least half of our readership:

1. Attain agreed definitions of key metrics

Establishing what to measure isn’t enough. People from different departments and business backgrounds will have competing definitions and preferences for how key performance indicators and metrics should be measured. It could be as basic as reaching consensus between gross or net profit.

Agreeing on a common interpretation and definition for all metrics used for reporting and analytics will ensure a uniform perspective and understanding of the state of business operations, and progression towards predefined goals.

2. Secure a knowledgeable and committed implementation partner

Your BI vendor needs to provide more than just great software. Ensure your vendor is able and willing to provide the necessary technical and project support to assist you from requirements gathering to implementation and beyond. And because all BI deployments are unique (to a certain extent), ask yourself this – can this vendor work with us in a cooperative and collaborative manner to develop functionality and product enhancements that cater for our specific needs?

Andrew Liberale – Project Manager on Macquarie University’s Datamart implementation – summed it up like this: “Conduct research and discover lessons learnt from those who have been there, and if you haven’t done it before, don’t attempt to do it by yourself. You need to bring in people who know what they’re doing, people who have achieved it before, and Yellowfin certainly fits that category.”

3. Obtain user group buy-in

Impassioned and empowered user groups underpin the long-term success of all fruitful BI deployments. Drive enthusiasm in your BI community by actively including end-users in the buying, implementation and development process. Maintain that eagerness and sense of ownership by empowering users with self-service BI.

4. Notify users of shifting delivery deadlines: Keep the faith

Involve users; but never betray their trust. Having instilled a sense of ownership amongst your BI user base, you’re now obligated to notify them of shifting delivery deadlines. Missed development targets, if left uncommunicated, cause frustration, confusion and a sense of betrayal. The end result? A negative perception of the BI project and a loss of faith.

The outcome?

Recent IDC research stated that the median ROI for a BI and analytics project is 112 percent. If this statistics is even remotely accurate, considering Forrester’s aforementioned assertion that over 50 percent of BI project fail, then successful BI deployments deliver truly outstanding ROI!

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