Creating a Comprehensive Business Intelligence Strategy

March 13th, 2020

Business intelligence has become more advanced and more available over the last ten years. Every business can benefit from business intelligence, but if you don’t have a business intelligence strategy, you aren’t getting as much out of business intelligence as you could be.

This article will go over how to determine your business intelligence capabilities and how to create a strategy to capture business information and generate useful reports.  With your business intelligence strategy figured out, you can select the business intelligence tool that fits your needs.

How to Build a Business Strategy

To build a business strategy, you’ll first have to figure out what data you are capable of collecting and how capable your staff is at performing complex data analysis.  There’s no sense in collecting data you can’t analyze, and your skilled analysts will be underutilized if they don’t have a lot of data to use.

Determine Key Data and How you Can Collect it

When determining what data is essential for your business, a great place to start is with industry KPIs.  Look at the benchmarks that other organizations in your industry hit on KPIs like sales, or whatever KPIs are specific to your industry.  With this knowledge, you’ll be able to compare your business to the performance of your competitors. After looking at other businesses in your industry, consider how your business is different.  If you have any KPIs that differ from your competitors, make a note of that. Make sure you pick measurable metrics.

Once you know what the critical data you want to capture and analyze is, think about where that data comes from and how it can be captured.  Make a note of data you are already capturing, data you are capable of capturing, and data that you can’t capture. Not all business intelligence tools can pull in data from all data sources, so knowing what your data sources are will help you pick a tool that can use all of your business data.

Consider Analytics and Reporting Needs and Capabilities

Once you’ve determined what data you want to collect, you need to think about how you want to use that data so you can pick the right business intelligence tool for the job.  Most business intelligence tools support data visualization, which allows users to explore data and present their findings about the current state of the business. Business intelligence tools allow for varying degrees of predictive analytics, which enables analysts to make predictions about the future of the business.  

Logistically, its also important to consider what your staff can handle when it comes to data analytics.  Many business intelligence tools make it easy to create visualizations even for inexperienced users, but the more complex analysis gets, the more technical staff is required. If your business wants to do predictive analytics, make sure you have analysts on staff to use the business analytics tools, or make plans to hire some.

Once you know your data needs, and what you want to do with the data, you’re ready to pick the business intelligence software that will bring your business intelligence strategy together.

Select a Business Intelligence Tool

Business intelligence tools range in complexity from simple and usable for non-technical users to advanced and requiring technical analysts.  Business intelligence products on the more straightforward side, like Tableau, allow for the creation of detailed visualizations.  More complex software, like SAP Crystal, include advanced analytics features.  Whether high or low complexity is right for you depends on your analytics needs and the capabilities of your staff.

Business intelligence tools also store data in different ways.  Some tools can pull in data from almost any source, while others can only handle certain data formats or sources.  If you already have a data warehouse, that may not be an important feature for you. If you don’t have a single source of data, though, consider choosing a business intelligence tool that can pool all of your data.

Even with these factors considered, there are a lot of business intelligence software options.  TrustRadius has made a list of our top rated business intelligence software.  Check it out to narrow down your business intelligence options to the best of the best!