Being able to utilise timely data to make game-changing decisions is what companies hope to achieve. That is why they look to implementing Business insights tools and a sound BI strategy. The success of an operational BI platform depends on a combination of specific capabilities and technology enablers (Aberdeen, 2010). In this blog, we will go over the first 3 factors: process, organisation and knowledge management.
Businesses should note that aligning KPIs with business goals is the most important factor of a sound BI strategy. Hence, thriving companies are those that continuously measure and improve performance based on effective KPIs. Since BI aids the delivery of data for decision making, a BI platform is only as good as the KPIs it supports. Top performing companies are 2.5 times more likely to have a process to review/evaluate operational performance and associated metrics periodically to ensure resources are re-aligned and the business can adapt to changing market conditions (Aberdeen, 2010).
Another important process-related capability that organisations should have is the adoption of a formally accepted KPI methodology, e.g. balanced scorecard, six sigma, and five nines reliability. Best-in-class businesses are four times more likely than low performing ones to have this capability.
Aberdeen Group has stressed the importance of IT-business collaboration in ensuring the success of an operational BI platform. Such implementation requires executive sponsorship to facilitate funding and human resource allocation. Best-in-class companies are 57% more likely to have an executive level sponsor for their operational BI initiatives. As an extension of this, top performing companies also tend to have single ownership of the operational data environment, with 62% of respondents from these companies claiming to have a single individual or team responsible for collecting/managing operational data compared to only 26% from laggard companies.
In order for decision makers to gain insight from data, there should be an open exchange of operational information across different business functions/departments. Ideally, this should be embedded into the corporate culture so that an environment treasuring timely insight and decision support could flourish. Best-in-class organisations are nearly twice more likely to have free flowing information across functional silos compared to laggard companies. Therefore, employees in top performing companies are more likely to understand the organisational impact of their decisions, allowing more room for building BI and analytical skills.
Another aspect of knowledge management is developing and managing BI talent. Aberdeen’s study in 2010 pointed out that best-in-class companies are 4 times more likely than others to train and develop analytical talent in-house, as opposed to hiring these skill sets. Top performing companies would have formal programmes in place to coach BI talent. They are also more likely to have a BI centre of excellence or competency centre.