Top 5 keys to a successful Business Intelligence program: Macquarie Uni

Implementing and maintaining an effective and successful Business Intelligence (BI) program can be challenging. Macquarie University recently launched its reporting and analytics program, Datamart, powered by Yellowfin’s BI solution.

In this short video, Datamart project manager, Andrew Liberale, shares his top five techniques for ensuring a successful BI roll-out.

NOTE: The transcript of the video interview has been edited for clarity and brevity and may not match the narrative in the video in its entirety.

What is the process that other organizations should follow to achieve a Business Intelligence rollout like Macquarie University’s Datamart?

Andrew Liberale, Project Manager, Datamart (Macquarie University) –

“As the program manager for Macquarie University, my primary responsibility is to deliver Macquarie University’s new Business Intelligence capability. What I wanted to share with you today, are the five key success factors that we’ve found during the development and deployment of our new product Datamart, powered by Yellowfin.

“This process has not only ensured our success in a very short timeframe for a relatively small amount of money, but it’s something that others could absolutely use to ensure success as well.

The five key factors are:

1. Conduct research and don’t go it alone

“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.

2. Accuracy of data

“Ensure the accuracy of your data. If the data is not accurate, it will not generate confidence in the user base, users will not see it as a trusted source of information. So first and foremost, they have to have absolute confidence in the data set. We’ve spent six to nine months working on the data set itself, to make sure that it’s accurate.

3. Self-service Business Intelligence: Fast, trustworthy, accessible

“If we have a fast, agile system that can support self-help, that runs on the Web, that can be delivered on iPads, iPhones, desktops, and be completely platform independent, is like gold for us. So Yellowfin absolutely fits that category.

4. Make your key customers part of your project team

“Understand who your customer base is, and get them involved in the project process from day one. We selected single points of contact from all our defined user groups and made them part of the project team to ensure that they were completely across what we were doing. This ensured that they understood what was going on, that they had input into the process, and that they could provide feedback every step of the way to generate a sense of ownership. The result meant that our key customers could see that this was going to solve their problems.

5. Ensure that business and customer needs drive the technology

“Use the business need as the driver of the technology, not the other way around. You don’t want to be deploying a tool without a problem to solve. You want to understand the immediate needs of your customers, or users, and ensure those concerns become the focus.

“In the BI space, everyone for the most part, is intelligence poor – drowning in a sea of data, but with very little timely, actionable, accurate intelligence. So the ability to now equip our customer base with useful and useable reports, that can immediately help them perform their jobs better, is again like gold for us.

Summing up

“Another key thing outside those five steps to a successful implementation, is the need to make things understandable and accessible to non-technical users. People’s eyes glaze over when people mention data warehousing and Business Intelligence, but people understand concepts like data accuracy, self-service and mobility.

“This comes back to the importance of turning this process into a consumable product, because it’s not enough to have a service, it’s not enough to have a system. People need to know what it is, what the benefit is, and what they’re getting themselves into. That’s part of the idea behind branding this project as Datamart – to make it a real, tangible product that people feel that they can relate to, talk about and ultimately use.

“Having a product focus, or a product approach, brings a level of confidence, it allows us to market better, it allows us to communicate more effectively. It also allows people to have a focus. It brings a name to something, people can identify with it.

“So they’re the five points that are absolutely critical for success."