I think of Business Intelligence (BI) as more of a reporting tool rather than a conglomeration of data. Granted, having all of your data in one place is key however, if you can’t get the data out of that one place also known as the “BLACK BOX”, what good will it do you?
Business Intelligence, my definition anyway, is a series of steps that must be followed in order to achieve the desired results for your customer. The steps I follow go like this:
- Talk to the customer to determine what information they need in order to run their business more effectively. I see this as the most common mistake made by organizations. Consultants/analysts think that they know what the customer needs, so they go off and create reports that end up having no impact on the operations of the business.
- Determine what format the customer would like to see this data, i.e., spreadsheet, graph, pie chart, heat map……
- How often do they need the data updated?
- Determine where the information is located. Is it already in the database or will I have to get it from someplace else?
- What is the tool that is going to be used to get this information into the hands of the end user?
- Does the customer have a specific tool which they would like to use or possibly already have in place to deliver the information to them?
- If the customer does not have a tool in place, then at that point in you should suggest a business intelligence tool that would meet their needs.
In the next part of this series, I will provide you with some of the more common answers that I have received from my customers to the questions listed above.