5 common mistakes that impact the success of your BI strategy

5 common mistakes that impact the success of your BI strategy

An effective business intelligence (BI) strategy enables organisations to transform raw data into reliable, actionable insights. With the right processes and tools, a BI strategy should empower your team to look at past performance, monitor current activity and map a data-driven path towards business growth.

However, not all organisations get it right the first go, nor take advantage of all that BI has to offer. In fact, Gartner reports that 87% of organisations have low BI maturity, meaning their capabilities are basic and opportunistic. Whether from poorly defined metrics, unreliable data, limited scope or some other problem, these issues can create difficulties spanning all analytics functions.

Here are the five most common mistakes organisations make when creating and implementing a BI strategy – plus how to avoid them!

1. A lack of clear objectives

A BI strategy is a framework for measuring performance. However, if you don’t have a clear or unified understanding of your business goals, or know how you will measure them and how they align with your overall organisational strategy, then your BI strategy will likely be ineffective. While this may seem obvious, it is one of the most common mistakes organisations make when creating a BI strategy.

Defining your business goals and key metrics is the precursor to any data or analytics initiative. Your objectives will determine the success of your project, so it’s essential to get them right at the start. For example, if your goal is to increase customer acquisition, your key metrics would include your total number of leads, conversion rate and average customer revenue. In this scenario, you may also need to develop a whole-of-business definition for what constitutes a lead. This ensures that everyone in the business has the same understanding of what this metric represents.

2. Working with unreliable and inaccurate data

No one deliberately uses poor-quality data. However, it’s not always immediately clear whether your data is accurate or relevant just by looking at it. That’s why it’s critical to pinpoint the data you need for your specific BI project and build a strong governance framework around it to uphold the quality of your information.

Start by asking questions about your data landscape. What data are you currently collecting and how is its quality maintained? Where might there be gaps, inaccuracies or discrepancies in your data?

The catalyst for unreliable data could be something as simple as a duplicate entry or even a typo, but it has the power to compromise your results. Regularly measuring and maintaining data quality will help you avoid acting on inaccurate information, weakening the value of decision-making and negatively affecting revenue.

3. Not choosing the right technology for your BI strategy

While Excel was once the main product used to execute a BI strategy, it no longer meets the demands of modern business environments. BI tools must now be agile and able to adapt quickly to changing business needs and requirements. The last thing you want is to start from scratch every time your organisation’s KPIs or data sources are modified. Instead, the right BI tool will easily facilitate these changes and even help experiment with new data sources, visualisations and reporting methods with greater flexibility.

When choosing between platforms, look for a tool that aligns with your financial and technical needs. This involves considering factors such as the cost of licensing, whether the tool supports your KPIs and how your users will interact with it. It’s crucial to take the time to weigh up the right BI tool, as an incompatible one can lead to a poor user experience and missed opportunities.

4. Low BI adoption across your organisation

Another common mistake to avoid in your BI strategy is overlooking user adoption. Even with the most sophisticated BI tools and technologies, if there is low adoption or even poor utilisation of the BI solution, it will not deliver your desired outcomes. To avoid this, involve your end-users from the outset of your BI initiative so that you understand their needs, preferences, and pain points that need to be addressed with your BI solution. It is critical to provide comprehensive training and support as necessary to ensure all are well-equipped to use the BI tools effectively. 

It all comes down to using your BI strategy to help foster a data-driven culture and empower valuable decision-making across your organisation. When employees across all levels can access data and BI tools, they can use this information to take role-specific actions aligned with your organisation’s goals. This increases collaboration, improves communication, and can even contribute to more profitable business outcomes.

5. Lack of continuous improvement

A big oversight in implementing a BI strategy is treating it as a one-time project rather than an ongoing process. All effective BI initiatives have common denominators of continuous improvement and iterative refinements to be able to adapt to both business and technological advancements. This requires fostering the right culture that encourages feedback and champions optimisation and continuous improvement. In this way, your teams can actively review and update objectives all the while ensuring that they continue to align with your organisation’s strategic goals. 

Want to learn more about how to strengthen your BI strategy and analytics? Download our free eBook to learn how your organisation can improve data quality and governance to gain more value from your business intelligence.

Optivia’s data quality services empower reliable, informed decision-making. We help you strengthen your business with robust data governance principles designed to improve data accuracy and ensure you adhere to data privacy regulations. If you need a data quality framework that aligns with your strategic goals and helps you make rapid, meaningful decisions, contact us today.