Business intelligence questions to improve project success

by Paul Kesler

Are you diving into uncharted territory? Is there a new project on the horizon that you are somewhat unfamiliar with and perhaps you don’t know where to start? To help you be successful, here are a few key questions to ask your project team and the organization as you embark on a business intelligence project. The following business intelligence questions are categorized based on key focus areas that you can ask your stakeholders and project team to help organize and prioritize tasks within your initiative.

Information assessment

Some important questions you might ask include, how hard will it be to gather the data necessary to support the organizational operations, their reporting needs, metrics, and key performance indicators? Is the data easily available, or will other sub-projects be required to establish a data repository, analytics, and information warehouse practice? How well is information and metrics understood within the organization? Is data quality monitored and evaluated for the ongoing rigor required to facilitate effective decision-making? What training is required at all levels to ensure information is used to evaluate and drive decision-making? Who will be your champions and early adopters? Those individuals that can show initial results and support your communications and change management efforts?

Foundational strategies

In terms of foundational strategies, you might ask, is the organization ready for a centralized reporting group that can ensure consistency, efficiency and bring the value needed to propel the business? Are capabilities already in place to integrate new data sources, processes, tools, and analytics that are also flexible to ever-changing business needs? Are existing analytics repeatable and reliable to support operations and drive consistent value? Is the organization already aware of or does it possess well-known business intelligence platforms, practices, and processes scalable to support future growth plans and initiatives?

Value realization

When it comes to value realization some questions you might ask are, is data-driven decision-making aligned with strategic business initiatives that are also enabled through actionable insights focused on existing standard business processes? Are projects consistently tracked and measured with value realization driven back to the business or area that are most impacted? Are appropriate measures in place at the right business touchpoints to evaluate how successful current processes and procedures are functioning? Can critical business questions be answered with a comprehensive and realizable data set that can be understood and fully utilized by the majority of senior managers? 

Final Thoughts

Large projects that involve initiatives such as business intelligence can seem very daunting to many people. By starting out focused on the basic foundational themes underlying the project, one can be in a better position to be successful. Seek out the people in the business that can help to identify the key questions that you need to have answered. Finally, I think key themes to remember are that the business is just looking for reliability, accountability, and transparency when it comes to organizational metrics and key performance reporting.

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”– Stephen Hawking


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