Friday, November 18, 2005

...Can I Just Install It?

Today’s post picks up where we left off yesterday.

We met to discuss what was needed but the meeting did not go well. The call center people wanted access to the data – all of it. Their database was quite large and although the client had excellent infrastructure, it was simply impossible to allow the call center managers to access every last piece of information as part of an analysis environment. I wanted to know what they needed to see so the proper cubes could be built or at least a starting point created. No matter how I asked the question, I got the same reply – “We need to see all the data”.

I was frustrated as you can well imagine. I wanted to help the client and they needed assistance but we weren’t getting anywhere. So then I stated the following, “Imagine that you have the entire database at your fingertips. Responses to any questions you might have are instantaneous. What are the first twenty questions you are going to ask?”

The room was silent. There were no replies. No one knew what they were going to ask. No one knew the benefits they would receive by implementing this new solution. No one could tell me the relationships they needed to see.

It can be difficult to quantify return on investment for business intelligence. We’ll address that in another blog. However some guidelines do apply as to what you want it for in the first place. A BI solution whether it contains key performance indicators or data mining or analytics can’t succeed unless you have at least some idea of what you expect to achieve by implementing any or all of these components.

  • How will the solution improve internal processes?
  • How will customer service be improved?
  • How will employees benefit from monitoring performance?
  • Can the company expect increased revenues, reduced costs or improved cash flow from the business intelligence implementation?
  • Are there hidden relationships within the data that might exist that will help with any of the prior points?

By using these five guidelines, you can create your own ideas of areas within your organization that could benefit from a business intelligence solution. You can't just add a Business Intelligence solution. It doesn’t make any sense from a practical or technical perspective. A solution must have guidance from the consumers of the information combined with direction from the implementers.


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