To get a successful business intelligence (BI) program started, I believe it should aim to address and abide by the following 6 goals:
1. Information must be easily accessible
End users must be able to access information in a timely fashion so that their timely decision making is not compromised by this. Ease of accessibility can be put at risk by a data or report latency (i.e. the time it takes to generate a report), not knowing where or how to access the information, or having to go through redundant security steps.
2. Information must be easy to understand
Information must be intuitive and obvious to end users and portrained in such a way that does not leave room for misinterpretation, ambiguity and confusion. In order to attain this, the following are equally important:
- Good dashboard/ report design techniques – check out our free whitepaper on following best practices for powerful dashboards
- Knowing how to make use of color and understanding its downsides – check out our article on 3 principles on how to draw attention to data vizualizations
- Understanding what are the most appropriate graphs and data visualizations for the data sets being used – check out our article on 5 graphs you should always use
- Having a common look and feel and template – please feel free to download our free report template
- Providing a business glossary for further explanations
3. Business intelligence tools must be easy to use
To build upon the previous goal, the BI tool(s) needs to be intuitive, clear, and accessible to the end users. Remember that the end users don’t need to be technical, nor super users to be able to use these tools in order to support their work and objectives. Do you have a favourite BI tool?
4. Information must come from a trusted source of truth
The data quality from which the information is based on, calculated and derived from must meet the needs of the business. At the same time, the information also needs to be current, complete, valid, accurate, and clearly defined. In order for this to happen, you need to have a good data governance program with an engaged data governance group/ council/ committee in place.
5. Information must be secure
The information will only be made available to its inteded audience and users, while following your organization’s information and data security policies and guidelines and any other applicable legislation (ex: FIPPA, PCI, CASL, etc.). Check out more details on the benefits and types of data classification.
6. Information must serve as the foundation for improved decision making
The main purpse of the BI program should be to provide the business with the necessary information, at the right time, in order to support decision making. Business intelligence facilitates a better decision making framwork and adds a direct business impact and value.
What other goals do you think a business intelligence program should aim to achieve? Does your current program follow all these goals?