BI Best Practices: What We Can Learn From The ‘Best In Class’

  • Richard Thelwell
  • October 7, 2014

Each and every organization will require a different approach when it comes to implementing Business Intelligence projects. That said, there’s a lot we can learn from some of the most successful companies in the market. Following a few Business Intelligence best practices could allow you to emulate the success of the so called ‘best in class’.

A recent report by the Aberdeen Group investigated the analytics behaviour in firms of varying levels of maturity. Firms were categorised into ‘Best-in-class’, ‘Industry average’, and finally ‘Laggard’ in order to represent the scale of organization performance.

This report produced a number of interesting findings surrounding the behaviour of firms in these different classes of maturity. It also gave a strong insight into the business intelligence best practices that allow firms to become ‘best in class’.

In this article we take a look at 4 of these Business Intelligence best practices in greater detail and see how they could be applied as part of your company’s analytics strategy.

Business Intelligence best practices: Increase access

It might sound obvious, but one of the most important business intelligence best practices is to increase access to analytics tools across the organisation. You may have found the perfect tool to fit your analytics and reporting requirements, but to gain any real value from these systems you must ensure that they are used regularly, and by the right people.

In the past, Business Intelligence tools have often been complex to understand and difficult to use. As a result, their use has primarily been confined to the handful of individuals within the organisation who have the necessary skills to use them.

The nature of business intelligence tools is rapidly changing, and with a greater emphasis on self-service BI comes a greater scope to roll out these tools to wider reaches of the business. Improvements in dashboards and reporting capabilities also mean that it is easier than ever to distribute this intelligence, regardless of the scale of the business.

Best-in-class companies recognise the benefits of improving access to performance data, and as a result they were found to provide BI access to over 92% of employees who had demonstrated a requirement for this analysis. This puts them way ahead of the industry average where just over half of such employees would have access to BI capabilities.

Business Intelligence best practices: Promote Self-sufficiency

When it comes to providing Business Intelligence tools on a wider scale, it is important that there is a degree of self-sufficiency involved, so that resources are not compromised in order to handle the additional support that may be required by an increased user base.

Business Intelligence best practices suggest that self-sufficient users will reduce the strain on the IT departments who were originally responsible for producing reports and analysis. Not only will this reduce bottlenecks in the reporting process, but it will also free up resources to invest into more proactive IT projects.

The importance of self-sufficiency is highlighted by the fact that 32% of users in the ‘best in class’ category listed improvements in self-sufficient BI capabilities as a top strategy in Business Intelligence. This self-sufficiency allows users to generate their own reports or modify existing ones, in order to ensure that they are able to access only the most pertinent information for themselves.

Business Intelligence best practices: Mobile BI

Mobile BI capabilities are an increasingly integral component in the business intelligence strategies of the most successful organisations. Approximately 45% of ‘best in class’ businesses currently have some form of mobile BI capability, compared to just 19% in the rest of the market.

In today’s work environment, mobility is no longer a luxury, but a ‘must-have’ feature for many business applications. Business Intelligence is no different. With busy executives always on the go, it is crucial that they can easily access management information wherever they are, on a range of different devices. This has led to a huge surge in the demand for Mobile BI capabilities—with the market for these tools growing by an estimated 42% in 2013 alone.

Business Intelligence best practices suggest that a more robust Mobile BI strategy will result in improved access, and allow faster decisions to be made throughout the business, with location no longer being a hindering factor.

Business Intelligence best practices: Improve collaboration

Finally, the Aberdeen Group report found that the top analytics strategy amongst the ‘best in class’ businesses was improving collaboration across the business by breaking down information silos.
The self-sufficiency afforded to users by self-service analytics tools may promote independent analysis. However, in order to truly exploit the benefit of this activity, it is important to foster effective collaboration across the business.

Business Intelligence best practices dictate that cross-departmental data collaboration is vital in order to compete with the ‘best in class’. By promoting free collaboration across the business, executives from all sectors of the business are able to draw on insights from one another in order to form decisive conclusions, and deliver exceptional results.

To find out more about business intelligence best practices and how you can replicate the success of the ‘best in class’, Download our free E-Book today.