Monday, February 1, 2010

Successful BI Strategy - Part II

A BI initiative is of no use if it is not driven by the objectives of the enterprise. Implementing a BI solution should help an enterprise achieve the objective of advancing business by making the best use of information.

Dos and Don'ts for successful BI/DWH project implementation:

Do not start with a big bang implementation approach. Iterative implementation approach works well with BI project. Identify a business objective and deliver it via BI/DWH within first two-three months. Longer you take to deliver your first output from BI/DWH, higher is the possibility of failure. It is very important to deliver first output from BI/DWH on time with good quality. This will also help in selling BI/DWH vision to business teams. The shorter implementation cycles would be quite beneficial for the end users as well in terms of cost and time as they would have a much better feel of the end product, they would be able to modify the scope based on what is implemented after each cycle.

Do not try to roll out BI/DWH to many departments/groups at a time in first phase. If possible choose either Sales or Finance department for first phase as these areas are more closer to heart of CEO/CFO of the organization. It is easier to gain acceptability of an initiative if it has C-level executives acceptability & support.

Do not over burden end users with lot of trainings initially. If end users have to go through multiple days of trainings to use new BI/DWH system then there is a high probability that they will not use the system. Always look at maturity of a user group before delivering reports to them. If a user group has been using excel based static reports for past few years then give them reports which has drill down and parameter selection criteria. If someone has been using parameters based reports then give them OLAP based reports which will allow them to slice & dice the data on the fly. If someone has been using OLAP based reports then give them access to adhoc reporting tool.These will help in reducing training efforts that are required to use new BI/DWH system.Also, it makes transition to the new system easier and smooth. Lot of time static report users are given access to OLAP cubes which requires huge training efforts and time.Also, it requires steep learning curve, and it often demotivates them from using new BI/DWH system. Do not drastically change the way they are consuming information now. The change has to be gradual.

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