Is Your BI Strategy Past Its “Sell-By” Date?

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Brad CowdreyBrad Cowdrey April 25, 2017
If you haven’t updated your data analytics strategy in the past 18-24 months, it’s probably obsolete. How can you keep it fresh?

The adult mayfly usually spends only 48 hours, max, on earth before it expires.

That milk in your fridge will start to curdle within a week or two of the day you bought it.

The lifespan of your business intelligence/data analytics strategy isn’t that brief – but it’s probably shorter than the time you take between oil changes. And companies that ignore that “service engine soon” alert on their dashboard can pay a heavy price: lost revenues, competitiveness and overall value.

That’s why Clear Peak strongly believes that you must review, refresh or revise your BI strategy, models and tools on a regular basis.

Five warning signs of an expiring assessment

The velocity of change in today’s business, technology change and geopolitical environments needs no exaggeration. But there are common milestones that demand a freshening—or an overhaul—of your business intel efforts.  Here are five:

  1. Your company has changed its strategic direction, or is absorbed in a merger or acquisition.
  2. Your BI and business strategies seem unaligned or out of synch.
  3. Your business intel solution is struggling to integrate seamlessly, or even interoperate, with your data warehouse or new technology and data management platforms.
  4. Your reporting mechanism is no longer as powerful, as easy to understand, or as trustworthy as it was in the past.
  5. Your BI solution can’t help you meet new compliance requirements.

Data models are inherently short-lived.  It’s time to retool when:

  • Your BI solution doesn’t deliver current data, or even close-to-real-time information.
  • Your BI tools fail to identify inherent flaws in processes.
  • Your internal customers stop asking for more information or different types on insight.
  • You can’t identify who “owns” BI or your data sources.

Why changing BI “on the fly” is better than the alternative

Urgency and the need to make the right decisions with a minimum of delay are essential drivers for business intelligence.  That makes forklift replacements that take your BI capabilities out of action for weeks at a time an option of last resort. They can lead to upgrade nightmares and damaging gaps in your ability to respond to day-to-day challenges and opportunities.

In reality, you can maintain business intelligence agility and respond to strategy-, market- or technology-driven challenges even as you re-engineer your BI strategy and capabilities. You need the involvement of decision makers at the business-unit level and a clear alignment between changing business and BI strategies.

As important, you need a C-suite-level sponsor with bottom-line responsibility to be actively engaged in reengineering process. He or she should have a complete picture of the entire enterprise’s objectives and strategies, and map key performance indicators to the company’s initiatives and overall mission.

And you need to consider taking advantage of cloud-enabled BI components. The cloud offers a robust and flexible infrastructure that delivers “elastic” analytics, accelerates time to value, minimizes risk, and manages costs through economies of scale and the “pay per usage” model.

What does the right BI strategy look like?

An updated strategy should take a company to the next step where modern BI becomes the “new normal.”

It allows organizations of all sizes to leverage a trustworthy and scalable platform and encourages people to uncover insights in their data.

It gives IT its rightful role as an enabler of superior insights, decisions, and productivity—not as a technology producer.

It empowers people to work with data in a more natural way and creates in data literacy a fundamental, sustainable skill.

By supporting the transition to the cloud, it “democratizes” and accelerates the adoption of advanced analytics.

Change is constant; agility is imperative

What’s the biggest mistake that most organizations make when they invest in analytics? They don’t start with a plan to succeed.

Disruption is everywhere: competition; technologies, like IoT, AI/machine learning, cloud computing, big data and robotics; global economic and political upheaval. Data science remains an evolving and challenging field of expertise, with the professionals engaging in lively debates about its present and future.

The game changes every day. Meeting this challenge demands daily engagement and the ability to adjust business intelligence strategies and tactics without falling behind, increasing risk to an unacceptable level, or making egregious mistakes.

When was the last time you assessed your BI strategies or programs? Are they past their sell-by dates? Do you have the tools and expertise you need to give them new life? 

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