The 6-Step Guide to Integrating Business Intelligence and Analytics

Your organization needs to know how to handle data and integrate it for optimal analytics and data-driven decision-making.

4 Min Read
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Business Intelligence is the practice of collecting and analyzing data and transforming it into useful, actionable information. In order to make good business decisions, leaders need accurate insights into both the market and day-to-day operations. Business Intelligence uses methods and tools like machine learning to take massive, unstructured swaths of data and turn them into easy-to-use reports.

But how exactly to implement BI into a company? What kinds of BI tools are available? This article aims to outline the process.

Pitch to Key Players

Because employees of many different departments will be involved in managing the data in business intelligence, everyone needs to be on the same page before moving forward. Because it is so important to have a shared understanding, have a look at BI software solutions together to make sure all of the key people that will be involved have a full understanding.

Choose Tools and Create a Team

The next step is preparation. In order to understand what sort of tool will be needed, defining the requirements for the new BI system is necessary. Smaller businesses are usually able to utilize a BI system as-is, while larger companies may need to look at custom solutions. Another important task at this stage is to gather a team to work on a Business intelligence strategy.

It is important to have a representative from each department who will be involved in its implementation so that they can simplify communication and provide their own department-specific insights from the beginning. You need to make sure that all departments are data-friendly and in sync with each other.

Develop a Strategy

Depending on the industry, a BI strategy will require a variety of aspects. Most will include documentation of data sources, the KPIs of the specific industry, the kind of reporting necessary, and whether or not the data flow will require automation. Laying out these components will be helpful down the line.

Set Up Data Integration

This step is one of the most involved and will require quite a bit of time, as well as a lot of work from the IT department. Data warehouses, a database that keeps the information in a processed and defined format, cannot connect directly to information sources, so data integration tools must process the raw data ahead of time to allow it to be usable. Businesses with large volumes of data may also need additional technology to keep the processes from running too slow.

Choose an End-User Interface

This stage is where the data gets turned into usable information for the end-users. Previously, BI systems only presented statistical reports, but nowadays, interactive dashboards are available with customizable information. These interfaces allow for real-time reporting to find specific information easily. Real-time, customizable reports are called “ad-hoc reporting” and can prove invaluable.

End-User Training

The last step in integrating a system into a company is to make sure all employees understand how to use it. It is highly recommended to implement training sessions for all potential users, whether it is an automated process or in-person training sessions with a manager or other team member.

Final Thoughts

Although business intelligence has been around for a couple of decades, the landscape of available technologies is ever-changing. Rather than just supplying statistical reports, customizable, interactive interfaces allow for much simpler and more effective collaboration between analysts. The technology continues to evolve, including cloud-based and mobile platforms. What was once only a privilege for the highest executives is now a tool at the disposal of the entire company.

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