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Business Intelligence Strategy: Components, Steps, Implementation

by | Mar 29, 2024 | Business Intelligence

Business intelligence has become an integral element of operations for many companies that prioritize continual growth and improvement. But it takes more than having the right tools and stakeholders in place. You need a business intelligence strategy to organize your endeavor. In this way, you give it a structure you can evaluate, improve, and replicate.

Key insights

  • An effective business intelligence strategy can reduce your costs and simultaneously improve outcomes.
  • In the modern business climate, a business intelligence strategy can help you adjust to changing markets and emerging technologies.
  • With LANSA BI, you can build a comprehensive business intelligence system using low-code tools.

What Is a Business Intelligence Strategy?

A business intelligence (BI) strategy is a roadmap or blueprint that guides how you use data in your organization. It also includes details regarding the key stakeholders that support and help implement your strategy. Like any strategy, you can use it to make sure you are hitting key objectives as you execute your plan. However, the success of your business intelligence plan depends on how you use the data. A BI strategy outlines the scope of your program, as well as the tools you use and ways to visualize and analyze your data.

Importance of BI Strategy in Modern Business Environments

A business intelligence strategy is a core component for any company that wants to use data to fine-tune its decision-making processes. The benefits of business intelligence can include:

  • Gain insights into the behavior of customers. This includes what they tend to buy, their likes, habits, and dislikes. Using this data you can adjust your products and services and how you interact with customers in order to meet their needs.
  • Create a competitive advantage. When you analyze your competition’s moves and market trends, you can decide how to adjust your business intelligence techniques accordingly. In this way, you remain a step ahead instead of merely reacting to changes.
  • Improve operational efficiency. Business intelligence makes it easier to identify inefficient systems and make adjustments. This applies to a range of operations, including production systems, supply chain management, internal processes, and more.
  • Leverage predictive analysis. Using predictive analysis, you can identify trends that can impact the future of your business. When you can see what is coming around the corner, it is easier to adjust your strategy ahead of, and take advantage of, trends and minimize the impact of adverse changes.
  • Boost profitability and resilience. Using business intelligence, you can analyze the cost of goods sold and use that data to improve your profit margins. This makes your company more resilient to changes in the market and economic downturns.

 

10 Steps to Develop a Business Intelligence Strategy

The following 10 steps are based on best practices that business analysts and decision-makers have found effective while crafting their BI plans. The steps in business intelligence include:

1. Define BI Objectives

It is important to base the objectives of your strategic business intelligence on the needs of your business, as opposed to what theoretically helps other companies in your sector.

For instance, if your goal is to analyze customer buying patterns, your BI solution would not have to integrate data from your production processes.

Likewise, you want to align your BI strategy with organizational objectives, such as improving customer retention, boosting operational efficiency, or enhancing job satisfaction.

2. Assess Current State

To assess your current state, you need to evaluate your existing data infrastructure and capabilities. For example, you may have a data warehouse that collects information from several business apps, which is a good start. To make your BI strategy as effective as possible, however, you would want to include plans for how to integrate this data into a central solution.

Many organizations choose to use a BI maturity model during this step. A maturity model pinpoints ways you can improve when it comes to your reporting, analyses, and reaching BI performance benchmarks, as well as using your BI system to generate value for your business

3. Choose a Sponsor

Your sponsor is the person you rely on to get buy-in from executives and key decision-makers. For some companies, the best choice for a sponsor is their chief data officer. Depending on the structure of your organization, the COO or CIO may be an effective choice as well. The sponsor also needs to understand the kind of training and support it will take to deploy your BI initiative.

Once your program has seen some success, you can generate reports, show them to your sponsor, and encourage them to share the results with other executives.

4. Identify the Key Stakeholders

A business intelligence initiative is not merely an IT project because it requires data from multiple departments and, more importantly, impacts a wide range of team members. While identifying key stakeholders, it is important to list out everyone involved in making the program a success and all those whose daily activities will be impacted by your system.

As you reach out, you can ask them about:

  • How they use data to be more productive or accomplish their goals
  • What kinds of data and analytical systems have been working well for them
  • Which data analysis procedures have had disappointing results

5. Create your BI Team

Implementing your strategy falls on the shoulders of your BI team, so you want to choose people who understand both the technical elements of business intelligence and how to make it usable for everyday employees.

Since your solution will be used by many different stakeholders, it is best to design a cross-functional team consisting of:

  • Someone in IT who works with analytics that can manage your software platform
  • Someone who can integrate the platform with your existing data architecture, such as an enterprise architect
  • A steward who can make sure the data is understandable across departments and document how to use your BI solution
  • Admin that can create user groups and issue permissions

6. Define the Scope of BI

The scope of your BI solution depends on how you want it to impact day-to-day operations in your company. For example, you may want to create dashboards for customer service representatives or quality control officers. For some companies, business intelligence initiatives make the most sense for marketing and sales. For instance, you can use a BI platform to create a marketing dashboard that tracks the results of campaigns.

7. Choose the Right BI Tool

The best BI tool for your organization depends on the technical capabilities of those charged with designing your solution. For many companies, a straightforward low-code or no-code business intelligence platform makes it easier to bring in a wider range of stakeholders. No-code and low-code solutions also save considerable time and resources in the development, testing, and maintenance processes.

8. Prepare the Data Infrastructure

Your data infrastructure consists of data sources, data maps, and data transformations that make sure the information that integrates with the system is usable, regardless of where and how it is stored.

Many companies choose to categorize data as either trusted or untrusted. Trusted data refers to that which you keep in databases or you can easily import from existing applications into a database. Untrusted data either comes from outside your organization or from within business processes. For instance, conversations with clients and emails with both be categorized as untrusted data.

9. Define Data Visualization and Analysis

Your data visualization plan outlines how your results will be presented to stakeholders as well as how they will analyze them. One way to ensure a successful data visualization and analysis strategy is to use a business intelligence solution that comes with easy-to-customize reports and analytical tools.

LANSA BI gives you a self-service analytics solution that makes it easy for even non-technical users to design their own BI systems. With LANSA BI, you make data more accessible across your organization and empower everyday users to use it to derive valuable insights.

10. Develop a Business Intelligence Roadmap

A business intelligence roadmap consists of a step-by-step plan for developing your BI strategy. It should be complete with tangible, measurable objectives, milestones, and implementation time frames regarding when each milestone needs to be achieved.

How to Implement an Effective BI Strategy

Implementing a successful BI strategy depends on a combination of several complementary factors:

Build the Infrastructure

As you build your infrastructure, you need to focus on setting up data warehouses, data Lakes, or other storage solutions. These are the foundation of your data infrastructure because they are the source of the information your system will use. It is also important to establish data governance policies and procedures. This may involve adhering to compliance requirements, internal governance standards, or a combination of both.

Document Your BI Strategy

By documenting your business intelligence strategy, you help prevent scope creep from pushing it beyond its original limitations. Your documentation should include the objectives and use cases for your BI system, as well as the stakeholders and resources that will help make it happen.

Encourage Collaboration

Collaboration is essential, especially because a business intelligence system impacts so many different team members. As you collaborate with action-takers across departments, your BI team, and IT, be sure to solicit and provide feedback. In this way, it is easier to keep your design and business intelligence implementation on track and meet the needs of everyone who stands to benefit from it.

Collaborating with a wide array of stakeholders is much simpler when you have a self-service analytics solution, such as LANSA BI. This streamlines the process of creating BI tools for professionals across departments—even if they have little to no IT background.

Review and Update

By first reviewing and then updating your BI strategy, you leverage performance data to improve your system. By constantly iterating and refining your strategy using feedback and insights, you set the stage for continual improvement.

  • Monitoring and evaluating BI strategy performance
  • Iterating and refining the strategy based on feedback and insights

Training and Skill Development

As is the case with many technological solutions, even straightforward business intelligence tools come with a learning curve. This makes it essential to set aside time to train team members regarding how to use their new tools and best practices for optimizing. By establishing a training system, you also cultivate a data-driven culture where people presume the value of data as they make decisions.

Keep up with Emerging Trends

A business intelligence solution you create today will only remain viable if it adjusts to the times. By keeping abreast of emerging trends, you make sure your solution provides the insights modern employees need without sacrificing efficiency. For example, as artificial intelligence continues to develop, adding AI-based automations to business intelligence systems may become increasingly common.

Conclusion

Your BI strategy serves as a north star for your business intelligence initiative because it aligns stakeholders, defines your direction, and ensures your program sticks to established milestones and business goals. In this way, it serves as the GPS of your BI design and implementation, guiding your solution toward success.

FAQs

How do I ensure data quality in my BI strategy?
Ensuring data quality hinges on establishing data transformation systems in your infrastructure and cleaning data to make it more useful.
What hinders BI adoption and how to overcome these challenges?
BI adoption is sometimes hindered by stakeholders who are not 100% invested in its success. To overcome this challenge, you should involve all necessary stakeholders early on in the ideation process and clearly outline how it will make their day-to-day work easier.
How can I measure the success of my BI strategy?
To measure the success of your BI strategy, you should establish baseline performance metrics and then track improvement on a periodic basis. For example, if you are business intelligence system is designed to optimize the use of your customer relationship management (CRM) data, you can track the number of leads generated each month before and after implementation of your BI solution.
How often should I update my BI strategy?
The frequency with which you update your BI strategy depends on your benchmark timeline. However, it’s good to review your strategy at least once every quarter to evaluate its effectiveness and make any necessary adjustments.

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