15 Best Practices for Deploying Business Intelligence Software

Original author: Pat Research
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Hello. At the end of June, we are launching a new BI Analyst course . And today we want to share the first material prepared specifically for the course.

Business intelligence, which can significantly increase the profitability and efficiency of commercial activities, is required by any modern company. However, organizations that do not use new technologies in their business processes are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain relevant information.

Business intelligence (BI) allows you to take a glance at all the relevant data of your company and understand what exactly they mean. Thanks to BI, you can see which operations generate more profit than provide sales revenue and how efficiently the company as a whole works. With the help of BI tools, you can delve into any data and find out where it came from and why exactly these values ​​came out. Business intelligence is sometimes defined as a process that allows you to make the right decisions by effectively utilizing employee competencies, procedures, data, and related tools and methodologies.

What are business intelligence tools?

Business intelligence (BI) is a combination of software applications, techniques and business systems that play a key role in the business processes of any corporation.
Most companies generate huge amounts of data in the course of business. To give access to this data to all departments of the company, a wide arsenal of applications and DBMS is often used.

But the abundance of various programs and systems prevents the timely extraction of useful information and draw conclusions based on them. BI software tools are designed to rectify the situation by replacing disparate data collection and analysis tools.

By software for business analytics, or BI tools, we mean software applications that perform all the tasks of monitoring, collecting and analyzing data, and also allow you to track the patterns in this data and draw conclusions that are necessary for the business. These applications are also able to retrieve and use information stored in corporate databases.

The most common enterprise-class BI systems include tools for working with tables and dashboards for monitoring operations, extracting data and creating reports, processing and analyzing data, viewing content, and other tools for managing enterprise resources. Some BI packages also integrate tools designed for specific industries, such as retail, healthcare, or education.

15 Best Practices for Deploying Business Intelligence Software

Ignorance or inability to apply the best methods for deploying BI tools, as a rule, leads to the adoption of ineffective decisions or even to the adoption of a development plan in accordance with the wrong priorities. To use business intelligence in the best way, you should understand the importance of data and its analysis, as well as understand the processes and tools necessary for effective information processing.

Most organizations also have difficulty obtaining the expected return on investment in acquiring and maintaining BI funds. Another common problem is the abundance of complaints from disappointed users who could not access the data or received erroneous data.

There are various reasons, but in reality such sad situations often arise due to the fact that companies, even having the best software in the industry, are not able to deploy and apply it properly. Of course, it is very important to choose easy-to-use BI tools with a user-friendly interface, but there are a number of other factors that can interfere with the effective use of this toolkit and extracting the planned profit from it.

For those who want to operate BI tools with maximum profitability, we offer a number of proven recommendations.

1. Enlist the support and participation in the project of all employees of the enterprise

Before implementing BI tools, you need to create a single business intelligence network that includes all departments of the company - from sales and marketing to logistics and senior management. It is necessary to enlist the support of all departments and collect feedback.

2. Develop a development plan and implementation strategy

Trying to implement business analytics without a well-thought-out strategy, you can make many mistakes by wasting time and money. Before making a choice between the BI solutions available on the market, it is very important to determine the basic needs of your company, as well as set goals to achieve these needs.

At this stage, it is necessary to involve the whole organization in creating a strategy that will determine what you want and draw up a development plan that will help you achieve this. The choice of BI tool and its implementation should be based on this plan.

3. Find areas where BI tools will benefit, and implement them there.

You should not turn the deployment of a BI solution into an integrated multi-stage process - the more complex it is, the more difficulties will arise during development. It is recommended that you integrate BI into existing systems that employees are already familiar with.

4. Find out the needs of each unit

Most companies already have reporting systems. Perhaps they do not deliver the required information or their use is fraught with errors - for example, if Excel documents are created manually or using makeshift scripts. It is recommended to analyze the available reporting options in order to know what they are doing well with and what they are not doing at all, and to identify areas that need improvement.

5. Clearly define goals

When starting a BI implementation project, it is very important to set goals or formulate the main expected results. This will later help you determine if you have succeeded.
Knowing what your goals are, it will be easier to understand what measures are more likely to contribute to their achievement. In addition, setting targets will facilitate the identification of the most important data.

6. Highlight key KPIs or other statistics to control BI utilization.

One of the most useful recommendations for implementing BI is to decide which key performance indicators (KPIs) will most accurately indicate how quickly and successfully BI is being implemented. But only a few companies are able to follow this advice: the majority is lost in the abundance of various statistics, unable to choose the most significant KPIs.
However, having selected only a few of the most important indicators from the mass of indicators, it will be easier for you to determine whether you have achieved a result.

7. Conduct regular surveys of key stakeholders

Meetings with key stakeholders need to be held regularly, whether for regular calls, video chats, or office meetings. Such meetings allow us to establish communication between company management and heads of departments, on the one hand, and data analysts who are engaged in servicing BI-systems, as well as work with the received data, on the other.

8. Start small

Always start with small tasks: having trained on them, you will understand how best to implement BI tools. Most likely, any data obtained in the first stages will entail additional questions. But this is even good: finding ways to solve problems, you will improve your implementation plan.

9. Use a flexible methodology for deployment

Most agile methodologies are people-oriented and well suited for software deployment, in particular business intelligence tools. It is recommended to build a project on the basis of adaptive planning, self-organization and implementation of short-term deadlines. It is also important that flexible methodologies are aimed at continuous improvement in order to improve quality.

10. Identify data sources and necessary integration tools.

Each company, regardless of its size, constantly collects data on its activities.
Therefore, before implementing the BI system, it is important to determine from what sources this data should come. It is equally important to clearly state your expectations and assumptions regarding such data, and then test your hypothesis in practice.
It is also convenient to use cloud storage to improve data access, improve usability and performance.

11. Create an organization data culture

You need to constantly pay attention to whether everyone in your organization understands how important the data is to achieve the goals of the organization. It is highly advisable that you maintain a culture of working with data in all departments, encouraging them to focus on a common goal.

12. Lay a solid foundation for data management

It is very important to provide a solid foundation for data management from the very beginning. First of all, you need to understand the value of data in the organization (both from internal and external sources) - especially if this data is related to new products, decision-making and improving business processes.

Rules should be established that determine how data is collected, stored and processed. Reports on the creation, dissemination and use of data must be generated taking into account these rules. In addition, they will help determine how to prioritize.

13. Implement a security management plan

To protect the business intelligence environment, companies need to plan a lot in advance.
Ensuring the necessary security measures is strongly recommended before implementing BI. A clear plan for developing cybersecurity will indicate which actions require authentication or authorization and how to effectively take certain measures.

14. Create a training plan

It is very important that every user working with BI systems knows how to correctly use this software. Relevant information should be available to everyone - for example, in the form of downloadable content such as videos, pdf files, etc. At least a record of a lesson conducted by a BI expert should be offered.

15. Select a person to implement BI

In the company, you can appoint a separate employee who will help both managers and ordinary executives to implement and use BI tools in an optimal way. He must have technical knowledge of the platform and all the business intelligence software. This person will also be responsible for training employees and selecting educational resources for all departments. In addition, the employee should be well versed in how and for what BI employees with different job responsibilities use to help create templates for analytical reports that meet the needs of different users.


With the speed of technology development that we are seeing today, for many companies it will very soon become difficult or even impossible to work without the means of business intelligence.
Companies that implement the appropriate tools, following the above recommendations, will be able to design systems that will be useful to all staff and contribute to the growth of business productivity and increase profits.

Here is such a material. The traditional free webinar on the course will take place on June 18, and right now we are waiting for your comments.

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