Defining the Need for a Business Intelligence Plan
Business owners need to understand and recognize how business intelligence applications are valuable for sustaining the growth and upgrading business systems, as well as solving business problems. There should be mutually established reasons supporting the necessity of a business intelligence, or BI plan in your organization.
The Ingredients of a Sound Business Plan
A business intelligence plan should consist of everything that helps to manage the expectations and outcome of the final delivery. It should cover the areas of specific business requirements, scope and delivery, critical success factors, user acceptance criteria, tasks, timelines, roles and responsibilities. For the success of any BI project, meticulous planning, designed to exceed the expectations of the organization, is the key.
User expectations are met via the documentation and communication of timely deliveries. The plan design should be one to support consistent updating and modification, all through the project. The plan itself will serve as a reference document for all the project details.
Formulating the BI Plan
You need to prepare a checklist that will enable you to proceed methodically before undertaking the formulation of the business intelligence plan. The preparation of the checklist may require an idiosyncratic approach, keeping in mind the unique requirements of your organization. The suggested checklist includes:
– Defining the project
– Identification of users
– Developing a formal project plan
– Building the project team
– Conducting information and technical need appraisal
– Selection of suitable software
– Configuration of the BI application
– Support strategy deployment
– Training the users
Implementation of the Business Intelligence Plan
Meticulous planning before the BI project launch is essential. It is imperative to brief all senior managers while implementing the BI application project, to elicit their support for the plan. This will allow the team to remain goal oriented and cohesive. The project team should be comprised of MIS directors, chief information officers and IT managers, who are responsible for ensuring the creation of the best possible team.
Take Measures to Ensure Success
Once you have formulated the plan, it needs to be discussed thoroughly before implementation. After discussions, create an impressive and honest presentation for the executive committee on expenditures, overhauls, data restructuring, incremental expenses, skilled manpower requirements and the ramifications and effects on the enterprise. This will work towards effective implementation of the BI project, with support from a core group. Prepare and follow the prescribed checklist to ensure the success of the project, modifying it if required.
- Prepare a corporate Business Intelligence statement.
- Make sure that everything is centrally managed.
- There should be a regular meeting of IT representatives and end users.
- All BI acquisitions should be justified with specific application, RFI/RFP, end user survey and requests and IT decisions, with user input.
- To track BI efforts in place, evaluate criteria and measurement processes.
- Ensure that a formal BI support structure model is in place.
- Allow separate departments and functional areas, the freedom of selection and maintenance of their own BI strategies to provide end user input.
- An approved Business Intelligence strategy document should be published. It should contain a detailed description of all selections for references in future. The BI document should be subject to periodical reviews.
A well-planned business intelligence initiative helps to avoid business failure, with optimal use of resources. No organization can achieve its goals and aspirations without a sound and properly formulated plan.