Business intelligence success demands attentiveness

There are many different ways to approach business intelligence (BI), as these programs can solve a number of different problems within companies' structures. According to SQL Server Pro contributor Brian Knight, however, there are hazards lurking within attempts to make BI work. While some procedures and approaches can improve the performance of BI and make sure it delivers return on investment, there are also common mistakes that can impose severe limitations.

Avoiding the pitfalls
Knight noted that some companies think about BI on a grand scale. Because the project will be huge when it is done and take many months to complete, users occasionally set aside three months or so for planning but find the project canceled early due to a lack of visible return on investment. Knight suggested that firms instead construct their new programs in sections, developing complete and ready-to-use technology every few weeks.

BI has the power to show quick value, convincing leaders of its value and ensuring continued sponsorship and effort. Knight acknowledged that fact, stating that BI is actually the best way to help companies recoup their investment. He noted that a good program unites the company behind one set of figures, making sure that efforts in different branches of the firm are working in concert. Increasing customer outreach to both new clients and existing subscribers, he stated, is a primary benefit of BI.

Many BI projects fail, despite their initial promise. Knight chalked that futility up to certain programs that display a lack of immediate results, a dearth of sponsorship at the highest corporate levels and data quality discord. If firms can turn these elements around, they are well-positioned to unlock intrinsic BI value. He compared development to the gold rush. Prospectors knew there was actually gold to be found, but only some ever struck it rich. In the BI world, those will be the companies that display best practices.

Internal competency pros
Some BI sections involve "competency centers," teams designed to help various users throughout the company achieve their analytics goals. According to TechTarget, this approach may not be right for some companies. Consultant Jill Dyche told the news provider that some firms begin to develop the concept of a competency center too early, when BI is just getting off the ground at that particular organization. Instead of acting as the first expression of analytics intent, the teams should consist of seasoned experts sharing tips.

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