It happens that clients contact us for the very reason that they are struggling with their existing Business Intelligence implementation. One such client, an international retailer, simply asked us to take over their current BI system because none of the internal stakeholders had any confidence left in that system.
Not only proved their BI system to be far too complex to use, it also contained a lot of erroneous data. As our client rightfully expected their BI system to provide them with dependable business essentials, such as the sales per store or the order and delivery status, a change was clearly needed.
When developing a “fit for purpose” BI system, understanding a client’s level of ambition regarding the use of data to improve performance is vital. Instead of simply continuing to work with the previous BI system, we proposed an audit to identify the flaws of that system and to map out our client’s business goals, expectations and requirements. Experience has learned us that, while system specifications are important, the engagement that is created by involving all stakeholders as closely as possible is a crucial factor in the process of blueprinting a system that will be embraced by everybody within the client’s organization.
That’s why we used different methods to interact with our client during this audit. In addition to intense discussions with senior management and end users to focus on business aspects, we also set up various technical working sessions with those employees that are typically involved in the setup and maintenance of the business system.
As part of the technical work stream, we studied our client’s database and procedures to determine the practical needs to implement a stream of data that could be trusted by the entire organization. On top of that, we provided our client’s senior management with an executive summary to illustrate what a “fit for their purpose” BI/BA system exactly is. That included an assessment of their current position in terms of BI implementation to help them understand what areas needed to improve in order to evolve to a living BI/BA ecosystem built on a solid technical architecture.
As a result of the audit that we performed for our client, a consensus was reached among senior management on what was needed to solve a problem that had become increasingly more pressing for over 2 years. In less than a month, a detailed plan was developed which not only specifies what it takes to solve a number of short-term problems, but which also supports our client’s long-term vision to shift towards a functional Business Analytics platform and is feasible from a budget point of view.
Ultimately, our client decided to intensify our cooperation and commissioned us to work with them on the implementation of this plan.