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

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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