Companies underestimate what is required with BI projects; whereas with ERP they just know it’s going to be hard! But with BI, they assume it will be easy and so frequently don’t budget enough for its success. There needs to be an understanding that BI is not a single-point-delivery but more a journey.
The key to a good BI project is not dissimilar to any IT project – it’s all in the planning. The focus on the initial assessment should be to identify what KPI’s are required across the organisation and then to audit what data sources need to be accessed, (be that structured and unstructured). Next, specify the formats of what is required, on what device by who and when. BI is not a commodity and never can be as each organisation will have different needs and different data sources so the permutations and combinations of possibilities become almost infinite.
One of the cornerstones of delivering a successful BI project is establishing a data warehouse which provides a funnel for all the disparate data that may be important to different roles across the organisation. It’s like putting all your assets in one place so that you can then use sophisticated analytical tools, like Power BI from Microsoft; and the stunning reporting dashboards like Qlik and Pyramid, for example.
Said MSDynamicsWorld in their recent report: “If an organization wants to have a data warehouse built, bringing in specialists can save time and money, while also offering the best chances of successfully completing the BI project” MSDynamicsWorld report
The key to the data warehouse is not only that it assimilates different data sources, but then it enables comparisons across systems, applications and time, enabling insightful comparisons about how the business is performing. It also removes the complexity of trying to develop effective reports in the current company architectures, as any of the commercially available reporting tools can come into their own and deliver good reports and UI dashboards.
“For all our Dynamics AX and Dynamics NAV customers, PrecisionPoint data warehouse is quite simply part of the solution as it enables us to rapidly deliver results to multiple lines of the business: sales, operations, marketing and finance.” – Noah Kluge – Armanino
Your BI project needs to give customers a single version of the truth, reconciled and integrated to the GL and the sub-ledgers with an audit trail and transparency – how many projects can say that I wonder? However, a good data warehouse can deliver on that and is probably worth a couple of years of work, available in a box and with time-to-availability being of the essence in most organisations and the need to trust the reports across the organisation – why wouldn’t you?