6 goals BI program

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:

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?


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About the author 

George Firican

George Firican is the Director of Data Governance and Business Intelligence at the University of British Columbia, which is ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world. His passion for data led him towards award-winning program implementations in the data governance, data quality, and business intelligence fields. Due to his desire for continuous improvement and knowledge sharing, he founded LightsOnData, a website which offers free templates, definitions, best practices, articles and other useful resources to help with data governance and data management questions and challenges. He also has over twelve years of project management and business/technical analysis experience in the higher education, fundraising, software and web development, and e-commerce industries.

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