As data creation zooms ahead at the speed of light, nothing is more detrimental to data-reliant businesses than ineffective, burdensome legacy infrastructure. Outdated tech can stand in the way of businesses adopting cloud-based apps, managing big data, delivering the right sight to the right person, and leveraging cloud warehouses for data storage.
In short, when data isn’t being used effectively, businesses get left behind.
Gain helpful insights to help you meet your BI modernization goals. Download our 2023 BI modernization checklist here.
Ensuring businesses can keep up with the latest and greatest in business intelligence often requires a solid modernization strategy. But, where to begin? Every business is different, which makes every BI modernization journey different, too. However, there are core steps that any business can use to start mapping a path forward.
In this blog, we’ll explore the steps for developing a BI Modernization roadmap to success (i.e., a strategy that can help you determine where you are in your journey and identify the unique business goals you need to accomplish).
Define your goals.
Based on what you’re trying to achieve, the foundational plan for your modernization will vary greatly from other organizations. We’ve included the following thought starters to help you assess your needs.
Our organization has a greater need to:
- Adapt quickly and easily when changes are needed.
- Gather data effectively with the ability to combine data from multiple data sources.
- Achieve faster data loading times.
- Empower all users to take full advantage of the BI tools’ functionality, including building reports and dashboards on their own.
- Reduce overall costs.
Based on which of the above statements you identified with, you can determine if your organization would be better served by a technology-related BI modernization strategy or a process-related strategy.
Technology-Related BI Modernization Strategies
When your goals are focused on the functionality of the technology you’re deploying, the plan you create will involve either a complete BI solution overhaul or modernization of a few key tools that can help you achieve your goals. Determining if you have an end-of-life agreement with your current provider is an important step in this process if you determine extensive technology upgrades are required.
Process-Related BI Modernization Strategies
For the most part, technology-related BI modernization strategies are fairly straightforward, but when you are looking to gain control of your BI environment and refine the processes that have already been established across your organization, it can get a little tricky — especially when changing employee behavior is a piece of the puzzle.
Assess the state of your analytics.
Any new solutions you are considering should check a few key boxes:
- First, the tools need to be user-friendly with self-service analytics functionality.
- Second, make sure your BI solution provides easy-to-use reporting tools and dashboards that allow users to have data right at their fingertips at any given time. Ensure that users can filter, sort, and adjust columns and rows to achieve data views that are most useful to them.
- Finally, if one of your goals is to enable advanced analytics capabilities, make sure your platform has the power to analyze the relationship between dependent and independent variables. It should also be able to run “what-if” and scenario analysis technology to predict potential outcomes of various business decisions.
Based on this analytics audit, potential solutions you are exploring should start to emerge victorious over others based on what you learn during this assessment.
Take a comprehensive look at your existing BI processes.
Before making any changes to technology or processes, it’s important to note current processes so appropriate steps can be taken to communicate new processes and information to all stakeholders.
From running reports to setting up dashboards, the tasks your employees are familiar with will likely change once your BI modernization strategy is enacted, but assessing current processes beforehand will make it easier to help employees feel empowered when it comes to using the new tools and techniques your modernization will require.
This process will also help uncover inconsistencies and inefficiencies in your processes that can be amended during the modernization process. A quick interview with a handful of users from each department or categorized by use case can uncover a slew of new ideas on how to make your BI tools more impactful. Be sure to test your ideas on a smaller scale to make sure any changes are beneficial, not a hindrance.
During this step, key stakeholders should be informed of the ongoing BI modernization planning. Although employees don’t need to know what the new processes may look like at this time, making them aware of potential upgrades and timing will secure buy-in and ensure they buy into the value the modernization will bring.
Develop a communications and training strategy.
Once you have established what your new and improved processes might look like or what technology will be adopted, it’s crucial to communicate the process updates across all impacted users. Online training sessions and comprehensive documentation can help during the overall adoption process.
Cheat sheets or dos and don’ts videos that employees can refer back to when working through a new process — such as setting up a dashboard or building a report — are other best practices to consider. Establish a few “super users” within your organization who can answer questions across teams as the processes are implemented.
Remember: It’s important for your entire organization to understand the basics of working with data (e.g., how it is structured, how to do simple analyses, how many of the manual processes they are completing could be automated, etc.). When an organization is data-literate it can explore data in new ways to uncover new and more powerful insights.
Embrace the importance of IT governance.
While IT governance often gets a bad rap, it is extremely important for sustaining your organization’s business and technology objectives. An effective IT governance strategy aligns a company’s leadership team, departments, and processes through the IT lens, ensuring that the technology leveraged is used to its full potential — and contributes to the overall success of the organization.
BI modernization is critical to IT governance, as it plays a major role in delivering the data that drives company-wide decisions, steers the company in the right direction, and helps the company maintain a competitive edge.
Track the ROI.
Implementing an effective BI modernization strategy takes a significant amount of time and resources, which leads many business leaders to require IT teams to report progress and prove a positive return on investment. If done right, there is no doubt your efforts will pay off in spades, but you will need to make sure you have a strategy in place to measure your success well before you roll out any updates.
Having a plan for proving ROI is key to building a useful progress report to share with key stakeholders and decision-makers. Make sure the ROI model you establish aligns with your BI modernization goals, and it should include metrics on productivity and monetary gains. Key metrics may include stats related to employee adoption and engagement, time savings, impact on decision-making, and overall sales over time. Most importantly, if there are specific metrics that are necessary to include in your reporting, make sure to have baseline measurements established before you launch your BI modernization plan.
The sky’s the limit with BI modernization.
If everything goes to plan, you’ll have identified a solution that allows you to scale as your organization’s data requirements evolve. When the job is complete, it can be tempting to sit back and let the tools do their job, but it’s important to keep a watchful eye on the effectiveness of your BI solutions.
One way to keep your finger on the pulse of your BI strategy is to schedule time with users, stakeholders, and team leaders regularly to focus on continuous improvement. Assessing your strategy’s processes, self-service functionality, and ability to deliver meaningful insights will help your company stay current and continually on a path to success.
At Maven Wave / Atos, we assist companies in the design and implementation of effective BI modernization strategies to unlock new insights, empower employees, overcome challenges, and drive success. To learn more about Maven Wave’s BI modernization and analytics services, contact us today.
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