BI Strategy: How to define a BI Strategy

By Nicolas Oury On January 21, 2016
BI Strategy: How to define a BI Strategy

Defining a BI Strategy is not a simple things to do. However, a structured approach can simply lead to great results, becoming an essential and inspiring reference to drive Business Intelligence operations.

Objectives of a BI Strategy

  • Assess the current BI situation
  • Propose a BI Strategy in terms of Vision, Organization, Processes, Solutions and Architecture
  • Suggest a roadmap based on priority and feasibility

Define a BI Strategy: 5 pillars in 4 steps

The key element is to split the strategy into clear subjects: pillars & steps.

4 pillars

First, split the BI Strategy into 5 pillars:

bi strategy pillars

  1. Vision: What do we want to achieve?
  2. Organization: Which organization to put in place to govern, define and run the BI Strategy?
  3. Processes: Which processes to put in place to: Define the Strategy? Govern Data as a key asset of the organization? Deliver value through Business Intelligence? Support user community?
  4. Solutions: Which Business Intelligence solutions do we want to deliver? Which dashboards? Which domains? Which purposes? Which added-value? Which impact on business?
  5. Architecture: Which components to support the BI Strategy? Selection? Deployment? Support?

4 steps

We propose to define the BI Strategy in 4 consecutive steps:

  1. Baseline: Where do we stand today?
  2. Envision: Where do we want to go?
  3. Recommend: How to go there? Gap & Impact analysis
  4. Plan: When to go there? Priorize, Budget & Propose a roadmap

BI Strategy Roadmap

This approach proposes a comprehensive framework to define your BI strategy in a very structured way, covering each topic.

STEP #1: Baseline

For each of the 5 pillars, define where you stand now:

  • Interview all actors of the current Business Intelligence eco-system: Business Stakeholders, users, BI team, partners…
  • Build a SWOT analysis

1a – Baseline – Vision

  • Lack of vision?
  • Technology oriented?
  • Misalignment with IT and/or organization strategy?

1b – Baseline – Organization

  • Who are the actual players?
  • Are there some overlaps in people functions?
  • Do we have coordinated approach?
  • Do we face loss of productivity?

1c – Baseline – Processes

  • How does BI is governed?
  • How do we handle Data Governance?
  • How do we deliver BI projects?
  • How do we support our users?
  • How do we evolve to stay aligned with business changes?

1d – Baseline – Solutions

  • Which BI solutions are currently deployed?
  • Are they used? Why?
  • Which ones are bringing real value?
  • What types of users are concerned by Business Intelligence today?

1e – Baseline – Architecture

  • Which tools are today supporting our strategy?
  • Are we maximizing the impact of those technologies?
  • Is the architecture in line with business constraints and company strategy?
  • Is the current licensing model adapted to our needs? What about the hosting model?

STEP #2: Envision

2a – Envision – Vision

  • Maximize data as a key asset of the organization
    1. Transform data into information
    2. Transform information into actions
    3. Transform actions into business impacts
  • Align BI Strategy to IT and organization Strategy
  • Deliver BI solutions for multiple purposes
    • Communication
    • Analysis
    • Management
    • Operations
  • Consider Business Intelligence trends

2b – Envision – Organization

  • Do we want to create a BICC – Business Intelligence Competency Center?
  • To who the BICC should report to? IT? Business? CEO?
  • Do we want to put in place a BI champion in each business department?
  • What is our sourcing strategy?
  • How do we want to organize BI delivery? BI support? BI Management?

2c – Envision – Processes

  • What will be the most efficient way in our organization to deliver Business Intelligence solutions?
  • Which processes do we want to put in place to support those solutions?
  • How do we want to settle efficient data governance processes?
  • How do we want to structure the periodic reviews of the BI strategy?

2d – Envision – Solutions

  • What kind of solutions must we provide?
  • Which operational processes and departments could be the most impacted by BI solutions?
  • Do we want to equip all our staff with Self-Service Dashboarding Solutions?
  • Do we want to leverage BI mobility?
  • Can we imagine other usages of Business solutions to support our organization growth?

2e – Envision – Architecture

  • Can we leverage innovative BI technologies to better support business growth?
  • Is there an opportunity with Big Data?
  • Shall we move to cloud?
  • Should we put in place a Disaster Recovery Plan?

STEP #3: Recommend

  • Define the required transformations which will be needed to move from the As-Is state to the To-Be state
  • Structure those transformations  into clearly-defined initiatives
  • For each initiative:
    • Identify the foreseen impacts on your business
    • Define the related investments and potential risks
    • Score the value of each initiative based on the ratio
  • Prioritize each initiative based on its impact on business and its balance vs costs & investments
  • Consider the right mix between tactical early-value deliveries and strategic long-term initiatives

STEP #4: Plan

  • Define dependencies between initiatives
  • Estimate the schedule of each initiative considering dependencies and business constraints
  • Build a roadmap
  • Define the immediate next steps

→ More information on how Lintao can help you defining your Data Strategy using its existing framework.