Five Steps for Using Your BI Tool to Manage Your BI Tool

by Oct 4, 2018

Is your BI tool prompting more questions than answers?*

Perhaps you’ve devel­oped a BI winner. You’re able to collect and analyze complex data, and then you’re able to convert your data into under­stand­able charts and dash­boards that allow you to gain insights to drive your busi­ness in power­ful ways. That’s great! However, with the growing success of a BI tool, there’s often a period where a few people within an orga­ni­za­tion start to feel that it’s increas­ingly diffi­cult to under­stand every­thing that’s going on.

Maybe you’re one of those people. Maybe you feel over­whelmed by the amount of infor­ma­tion you own, or you may be inun­dated with ques­tions from your team. You may be wonder­ing, what’s the next step?

All these ques­tions are actu­ally indi­ca­tors that you’re on track.  After all, you’ve spent the time and dollars to inte­grate your BI tools, includ­ing getting the data into it and creat­ing person­al­ized dash­boards aligned with your prior­i­ties and goals—and these have led to success…

Which has led to adding more data and the devel­op­ment of more charts and dash­boards…

Which has led to folks across depart­ments wanting to utilize these tools. 

THIS IS GREAT NEWS! Because the more people that use the success­ful tool you’re invest­ing in, the more value your company receives—scratch that—the more value your company creates!

Never­the­less, if you’re the person staring at all these ques­tions and tools, and you’re being called upon (on top of your normal duties) to find solu­tions, you may wonder where to even start to manage, align, and stream­line all your charts and tools. You may be seeking instruc­tions for the care and feeding of your young BI beast. The next step is gover­nance.

Setting up some type of gover­nance will help you tame the BI beast. Here are some things we recom­mend to do to get you started. And getting started is the hard part.

Step One: Assemble The Team!

Gover­nance is an effort by the people for the people. Iden­tify stake­hold­ers, then muster a gover­nance steer­ing body with appro­pri­ate repre­sen­ta­tion. At first, hold bi-weekly meet­ings to make deci­sions, includ­ing those in step two.

Step Two: Determine your Mission Statement, Goals, and Priorities

This is no joke a lot of work. But there are some exam­ples below to get you going. Once you have mission state­ments, goals, and prior­i­ties in place, you’ll be able to orga­nize and focus your ques­tions around solu­tions that deliver value.

Sample Mission State­ments
  • Provide lead­er­ship and ensure engage­ment and best prac­tices are being lever­aged across the [BI Tool Name] Ecosys­tem
  • Respon­si­ble for the educa­tion and admin­is­tra­tion of the plat­form, enabling the ongoing user base
  • Admin­is­tra­tion, Educa­tion & Enable­ment, Gover­nance, Current projects (devel­op­ment)

Sample Goals

  • End State Engage­ment: 90% imple­men­ta­tion 100% compli­ance datasets, cards, dash­boards moving forward
  • Govern­ing Body for manage­ment of our BI ecosys­tem
  • Sharing of best ideas, best prac­tices and educa­tion

Prior­ity Deci­sions

  • Docu­men­ta­tion: What do we need to docu­ment and for why?
  • Naming conven­tions: Are people using the same naming conven­tions so things are easy to find?
  • Change manage­ment: We need to make a change to a high visi­bil­ity dash­board; What process do we need to make changes and keep the lights on?
  • Audit: Chart and Dash­board Cleanup: Are there dupli­cates or unused charts or datasets?

Step Three: Employ Wizardry/Expert Advice

Now that you’ve estab­lished a person­al­ized frame­work for gover­nance, use the BI API to extract metrics on dash­boards that tell the story of engage­ment, so your BI solu­tion effec­tively reports on itself. When you have visi­bil­ity into which charts have and haven’t been used, it’s easy to make deci­sions about which charts are helping drive your busi­ness and which ones you can elim­i­nate. Utilize your BI tool to report on your gover­nance effort.

Step Four: Stay the Course

Tech­nol­ogy solu­tions don’t work unless the people feel educated and enabled to wield them. Have cross-depart­men­tal conver­sa­tions about the value of your BI tools and your gover­nance plan. 

Finally, to ensure that your BI gover­nance solu­tion is sustain­able, own it. As you nudge your process forward toward BI Nirvana** be enthu­si­as­tic about your success and keep moving toward your goals.

Step Five: Profit

Estab­lish­ing excel­lent BI Gover­nance takes time and might be a big cultural shift for some orga­ni­za­tions. You’ll need to learn various controls that help you manage it, but these shouldn’t be seen as nega­tive constraints. Gover­nance, after all, is about how to include indi­vid­u­als so that every­one can make the most of your invest­ment. And you get the most value from using the right tools that more people use.

Ready to set up your person­al­ized BI dash­board and gover­nance plan? Reach out to learn more about how we can help or fill out the form below.

* The illus­tra­tions in this post are an homage to Randall Munroe’s fantas­tic xkcd comic stylings, as both the main author of this post, as well as those involved in its editing and publi­ca­tion, are big fans.

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