How to Avoid the 5 Biggest Business Intelligence Software Mistakes

How to Avoid the 5 Biggest Business Intelligence Software Mistakes

Global revenues in business intelligence software is forecasted to reach nearly $20.81 billion by the end of 2018, a nearly $7 billion increase from 2013[1], showcasing the trend from IT-led reporting to business-led analytics that have marketing agencies swooning over data.

BI market size

Source: Dataconomy.com

Business intelligence platforms are becoming the norm at companies of all sizes with an underlying investment in data that helps save or gain assets. However, while the allure of business intelligence (BI) software is to help provide information on such core data-driven initiatives as business performance, automation processes, predictive analytics and event processing (to name a few), the mere implementation of BI software doesn’t also automate business results.

Here we will document five critical business intelligence software mistakes that lose agencies money and how to correct them.

Bonus: Download a free whitepaper that will show you how to avoid these mistakes and implement the strategies. Includes a bonus fifth business intelligence software mistake not found in this post.



1

BI Software Mistake #1: Not Bridging the Gap between Technology and People

In a perfect scenario, an agency will decide on a winning BI software and put it into place immediately, getting every team member to understand how it works and what data is important. The success of the BI software, then, can be measured by the value that the agency pulls from it.

Where cutting the cord on old data resources – ex. the copying and pasting of data into spreadsheets manually – can sound effective, the fact is these old processes are trusted and familiar. Sometimes the gap is not the technology itself – BI software is designed to be intuitive – it is helping the people who will be using it – often senior managers and executives – understand that it is worth the learning curve.

Furthermore, when an IT department explains to the executive team what is expected of them and how to implement new processes, they often get people who are too busy with their day-to-day responsibilities and who don’t have enough time to give the new processes the amount of attention they need to make the software run as effectively as planned.

Solution: Process change and top-down, business-driven principles

Agencies that place a dedicated team in place to carry out the BI software change are the most successful. According to Tech Target, there should be four roles for this implementation:

  1. Senior-level executive: This person should oversee the entire BI software transition and be the key decision-maker during the process. They will also project manage, lead, and champion its implementation.
  2. Junior-level executives: The goal of this group (or individual) is to set long-term goals of the BI solution, set priorities, and oversee specific sub-projects. They also serve as the communicator of the importance of the transition and how to get there.
  3. User groups: User groups are involved deeply in the projects, defining requirements, goals, and setting up tests as well as being expert analysts. They can also be considered the “project owners,” and are the most involved in the carrying-out of the project.
  4. BI Strategists: Because all business executives can’t necessarily communicate their requirements, you’ll also want a team or individual to bridge the gap between the business intelligence lifecycle and data and the executives who need to interpret, and act, on that data.
2

BI Software Mistake #2: Thinking All Business Intelligence Software is a Commodity

Googling “business intelligence software” will bring up a bunch of results on the most recognized companies in the industry as well as a bunch of paid results for companies that have money to burn on ads. Unfortunately, business intelligence platforms are not one-size-fits-all and jumping into a BI software without doing more due diligence about its fit can be a major pitfall.

If your agency has concerns about the total cost of ownership, the exact functions that are most important, API integration, what types of dashboards (i.e. visualizations) help executives make important decisions most effectively, and how challenging implementation is, you’ll want to do a thorough assessment of BI platforms that may be catered for your exact organization.

For example, Allocable is designed to be a plug-and-play BI resource management tool for billable organizations. It integrates with one of the most popular time tracking APIs, displays data in highly graphical formats, and, unlike most BIs, implementation is nearly turn-key.

Solution: Determine the top goals of your BI platform before you invest

When you take a step back from analyzing BI platforms based on brand power or features, you may find that your agency has far more needs than what the top corporate applications produce. However, all that data is nothing if it doesn’t aid you in making better business decisions that save you time, money, and make you a better provider for your customers.

Make note of your top goals and work backwards to determine which BI software platforms are geared towards them, the existing integrations you have/need, and how the tools you are looking at can help provide you the data you need to make actionable change.

3

BI Software Mistake #3: Forgetting to ask End-users for Feedback before Buying

Here is a common story within organizations: the IT department is asked to find a new BI platform by upper management. Upper management, assuming that the IT department has a strong understanding of what features are most important to them (see #2), gets the new software but doesn’t feel the need to use it just because IT assumed it would become standardized.

To revisit an aforementioned point, BI software is useless if the data that is pulled isn’t put to use.

Solution: IT and upper-management need to communicate desired features and adoption requirements

IT is generally tasked with finding a solution that upper-management will like but receives no buy-in as to the adoption and training that is required from this group, assuming they will take the time to learn how to use the technology as long as a solid solution is provided.

Changing process and culture to adjust for new BI outputs is hard. Therefore, all departments involved in the use of that technology –executives, IT, junior management, account managers, project managers, allocation managers, etc. – must be involved in the purchasing decision.

4

BI Software Mistake #4: Not using the Data to Influence Future Decision-making

Most business intelligence software is designed to find trends, visualize data, process events, and even predict future business opportunities. However, while all of this data is amazing “on paper,” it is useless if humans don’t know what to do with it.

Business intelligence is just that, important information about a business that should be leveraged to make present and future decisions and to analyze past performance.

Solution: Create internal reporting points with actionable changes

If your business intelligence software is telling you that you are, for example, under billing for most of your projects, you need to adjust your quotable hours.

BI software should, if implemented correctly, cut down on the time it takes to extrapolate the data it was designed to pull as well as the meetings required to discuss the findings. Thus, your organization should use some of this newly-found free time to put the data into actionable change within your organization.

Often, the “project owners” work with senior management to interpret the data and make actionable decisions designed to enhance performance.

Summary

Business intelligence software is designed to streamline business decisions and provide actionable data in easy-to-follow formats. However, many of these interpretations still require a large human element to implement, and not putting the human resources in place to do so can spell disaster for an organization.

We recommend moving forward with a BI platform that is led with business decisions in mind, is niche to your organization’s unique goals, puts all potential users in the driver’s seat before purchase, and one that will be carried out by a dedicated team whose sole purpose is process change.

If you are looking for business intelligence software specifically catered toward billable organizations, check out Allocable, productivity analytics software that provides a multidimensional view of workforce and project and production productivity data. ​

Bonus: Download a free whitepaper that will show you how to avoid these mistakes and implement the strategies. Includes a bonus fifth business intelligence software mistake not found in this post.

About

Allocable is a cloud-based automated time tracking and business intelligence (BI) software platform that provides  a complete visualization of your workforce and project productivity data empowering you to turn information into actionable insight to optimize and forecast performance with more certainty.

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