Ideas for business intelligence can come from users

Developing a successful business intelligence program means creating a process that works for the company in question. Looking for an objective "best" type of strategy is a mistake, as it doesn't take the many differences between organizations and industries into account. Fortunately, just about every type of firm will have some positive use case involving analytics, as the technology and resources involved cover a wide range of topics. Whereas analytics tools in previous decades were held back by their limitations – such factors as complex interfaces and an inability to work with complex or unstructured facts – these barriers are falling, meaning it's a great time to size up the options.

Involve the team
One of the most potent and exciting concepts in the analytics field today is self-service BI. Placing dashboards in front of more users and opening up new analysis options is an obvious source of value, as these workers will be able to engage in research on their own time and follow up on their own objectives. Smart Data Collective contributor Ray Major recently explained that it's a best practice to get a wide cross-section of employees involved even before the BI deployment goes live. This means fishing for opinions among many different employee groups.

The process Major described involves taking in a huge amount of input. While not all of it will go into use, the dialogue itself is critical. Once leaders glean the needs of their user bodies, Major recommended bringing BI to the masses in a few steps. It may be that the organization is not used to putting analytics toward important decisions. In these cases, it's best to answer some small questions with data. This will likely be a better demonstration of what BI can do than simply telling the staff to trust the programs. Hands-on evidence is convincing and can help analytics take hold.

Getting important answers without coding
When it's time to handle business-centric functions, handing off analytics to non-IT workers is an important option. TechTarget reported that, while some companies outsource their marketing analytics functions to firms that do nothing else, there are more considerations when handling the matter in-house. Marketers are focused on their own competencies rather than coding, which means BI tools for their consumption should be focused on working without any complex processes. The source noted that up-and-coming products have been created for this type of use and don't involve a need for coding. Such processes are even capable of data visualization.

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