Business Intelligence for SMB’s Part 2: Challenges to anticipate in using business intelligence

I guess adopting business intelligence effectively in your company is a bit like setting goals. One of the first and primary challenges is knowing what you want to know – if that makes sense? This is obviously very different from business to business, but what is it that I need to know to make a difference to my business. You’ll be surprised how many managers and owners of small and medium-sized businesses don’t actually know the answer to this question.

Another significant challenge to the successful implementation of BI is unstructured or incomplete data. You will be amazed at how often people expect BI tools to deliver information that actually does not exist at source, or is so unstructured that you cannot really make sense of it. The good news is that implementing a BI tool is actually the catalyst that highlights this kind of issue, and can play a pivotal role in sorting the issues out.

To experience the full return on investment, be sure to complete the job. I have seen it too often where a specific information requirement is half implemented, but not made available on a consistent basis so that it can be used to implement good change in a business. You may as well have not started in the first place if you leave it at that. The whole point of investing in a BI solution is to actually put into effect the changes that will make a difference. I have seen many companies successfully implement the technology with all sorts of amazing dashboards and reports published on big screens and circulated across the organisation but, that’s it! What a waste?

It is always interesting to see how companies change, or not, when implementing a BI solution. It is a great opportunity to improve processes, remove silo’s and elevate the importance of what accurate, well thought out and timely information can do for a business when executed appropriately. That is why it is so important to understand up front what you need and why you need it, so that when you get it, you can apply it!