Considerations for Business Intelligence & Performance Monitoring Success
Over the last 10 years we have analyzed 70 suppliers of Business Intelligence (BI) and Performance Monitoring (PM) products, alongside the entire process of deploying such solutions at different types of organisations. This has given us a deep understanding of the variety of requirements that are out there, and also the challenges faced when implementing solutions.
From this experience, we have put together the following 8 ‘less technical’ considerations that should prove useful when implementing BI or PM solutions at your organisation:
#1 It’s not just technology
BI and PM projects are not simply about a single technology or tool-set, but rather they are a combination of processes, disciplines, technologies and concepts that, when combined properly, can yield amazing results. Alongside technology selection it is at least, if not more, important to ensure that you apply the correct knowledge and skills to define your KPI’s and implement them concurrently to the technical solution. Understanding your requirements, the expectations of the end users, and the nature of the underlying data and systems upon which any solution is based is critical to the success of any deployment.
Diplomacy will be critical during the specification, design and implementation phases of a Business Intelligence deployment. Any deployment will most likely depend upon and touch into all of the key departments and systems within the organisation. Getting access to these systems and their data, and securing the co-operation of the associated subject matter experts in a timely manner is not always easy.
#3 Data quality and integration
A major challenge in implementing a successful solution is in ensuring the quality of the data that is integrated and upon which the valuable KPIs are based. The root cause of many problems typically boils down to a lack of understanding of the underlying data sets that are being integrated and an inability to correlate these disparate systems and data in a coherent manner.
#4 Keeping up with the changes
Once the BI or PM solution is deployed, the integration and configuration does not stop there. Large organisations such as service providers are constantly updating underlying data source applications, networks, services and associated systems, all of which can have a knock on effect on any solution deployed. Therefore it is always a challenge for an organisation to maintain the integrity of the implemented KPIs and continual vigilance is required.
#5 Ease of Use for who?
A good solution should ensure that the end user interface has the required set of tools that enable an advanced technical user to easily integrate new data sources and to build new reports and views. However this technical user interface should not be mixed up with the simpler one that is necessary for business/managerial/executive users. Delivering a solution to business users with complicated end user functionality can slow or halt the adoption.
#6 Low hanging fruit
Deployments may sometimes be limited to a subset of areas within the organisation that do not necessarily represent the total business or the overall objectives. On the other hand deployments have also been challenged as a result of attempting to achieve too much in one go. Our experience has shown that, while the overall business analysis should include the complete scope of what is required, the outcome of this analysis should break the total effort down into manageable iterations, where each iteration may be implemented separately and delivers immediate results in its own right.
#7 Don’t forget about the customer
Avoid the tendency to only focus on financial metrics but ensure that customer satisfaction and experience is also monitored and reflected in your KPI set as this ultimately will impact your financial results.
#8 Use what you already have
There can be a tendency with new projects to re-invent the wheel and over complicate an already complicated situation. In the context of a Business Intelligence implementation we recommend that you avoid introducing another data warehouse and building another large scale and costly system. Instead, ensure that you leverage the rich data sources already available, extracting only what you need to generate your KPIs.
We have developed and implemented a deep level of business intelligence functionality within solutions deployed in several multinational organisations and we continue to integrate with the leading BI and PM tools and open source frameworks on the market.
A domain-specialised solution of our own is VisiMetrix – optimised to enable end-to-end monitoring of network service performance for telecommunication network operators. The solution takes performance data from multiple complex network platforms and is configured to provide end-users with visual KPI dashboards in a context that is optimised for their function, from CxO to Customer Care Agent.
If you have any questions about implementing BI solutions or want to learn more about VisiMetrix, do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.