Avoid the High-Wire Act During BI Implementation


In many clients we see the fine art of BI implementation is a challenge similar to a high-wire act, avoiding a fiscal cliff or landing a person on the moon. The adage that “things worth doing are never easy” holds true, especially with BI. Doing nothing may be the absolute wrong thing to do also. Truth is that all companies must adapt to a changing competitive landscape.

BI Implementation Needs

  • Understanding and gaining consensus on the strategy, project deliverables and business planned results
  • Terminology translation between business & technology project team members
  • Poorly written or unwritten project charters, requirements or undone user stories, and misinterpreted data schemas or designs
  • Hurdles integrating the  BI technology infrastructure effort and a surprising amount of tweaks or add-on work along the way
  • Data mart or warehouse refactoring for BI usability and ‘actionable results’ at the end of an internal project
  • Resourcing the project from a limited talent pool, while flexibly providing the right resource mix to meet goals timely on budget, as planned
  • Coordination and sequencing of aligning all key infrastructure, development, talent and project execution

Key Focus Areas

How to avoid implementation issues? Coordination to avoid the high-wire act alone is an extremely focused management effort. The balance in executing BI implementations is in fact not all art but is mostly a science based on proven fundamentals that yield results as consistently as the natural laws of physics—or in this case the natural laws of BI implementation success/failure.

Project Charter Planning Process

  • Get initial support from key stakeholders and users, then keep it. It is conceptually as simple as allowing users to be truly involved throughout the entire strategy, design and project implementation. Most projects fail here somewhere along the line, but it is absolutely essential for success. The high-wire act here is as easy as tight roping Niagara Falls on a blustery day.
  • Successful BI implementations do not rob Peter to pay Paul. A favorite quote is, “Whenever you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can be sure that Paul’s outrage will be less than Peter’s”. This is done by ensuring that everyone on the team has the responsibility and accountability to make things work, daily, through each entire project, throughout the entire strategic implementation.
    Your goal is to never allow project elitism—better known as the “us against them blame game”, leading to unfavorable results.
  • Tailor the BI information delivery for each targeted BI consumer group. This may include power users, technical report writers, executives or other user groups, including customers. Businesses move too quickly and change too often for the expectation that static reporting or one delivery mechanism will satisfy BI decision needs. For actionable BI, you must have a fool-proof plan to deliver usable information via practical accessible means to each key user group. This can take many forms, including a variety of mobile & self-service BI possibilities.

BI Implementation Conclusion

If you don't have it within your own team, consider partnering with a firm that has BI experience and repeatable processes to balance success inputs of a BI implementation. This is not a blog level conversation, but a serious strategic BI lifecycle and project planning exercise. Develop a strategy to implement BI for actionable business decisions, then implement using experience. Gravity kills only if you fall, so avoid the fall and provide yourself the full opportunity for success.


Next Steps

Review our case studies and engagements where we helped companies just like yours solve a variety of business needs.


About Oakwood

Since 1981, Oakwood has been helping companies of all sizes, across all industries, solve their business problems.  We bring world-class consultants to architect, design and deploy technology solutions to move your company forward.   Our proven approach guarantees better business outcomes.  With flexible engagement options, your project is delivered on-time and on budget.  11,000 satisfied clients can’t be wrong.