BI: The Project that Never Ends

If you are like me, you probably started your business intelligence project with a time line that included a hypothetical “beginning” and “end” date. About a day after the initial launch of our BI solution I quickly realized that there really is no “end” to this project. Many typical IT projects will end with the team members all breathing a sigh of relief, but for your BI project…don’t hold your breath waiting on this “post-project break”.

Your business intelligence solution is only a jumpstart to foster an environment of continual process improvement, with continual being the key word here. A successful BI implementation will merge multiple source systems and provide your analysts with mountains of new data. With merged records the analysts will be able to view the data in new ways and make inferences that they were previously not able to make. These new insights will define areas in your business where processes can be improved which will translate into changing business processes.

When new business processes emerge a chain link reaction is triggered. New processes will ultimately result in new types of data being generated. This may come from new data fields being populated in existing systems, different measures and aggregations that are used to define business terms, or even in the form of a completely new source system. Each new piece of data will now need to be extracted from the source system, transformed into meaningful dimensions and measures, and loaded into the data warehouse. The data will then need to be linked to your BI software so that users can access the data and use it to generate meaningful reports. This cycle is never-ending, and encouraging this type of continuous process improvement will greatly increase the likelihood that you will get your expected ROI from your business intelligence solution.

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