Phased deployment is an implementation strategy in which a company incrementally rolls out a business intelligence (BI) solution, usually starting with a specific department or application within the company. In contrast to enterprise-wide deployment, phased deployment lets lessons learned early shape future rollouts, and ultimately brings greater visibility and performance management to business users on an enterprise level.
Here’s a proven 5-step strategy to follow when deploying and evolving with BI.
Start with a relatively small department or business unit, possibly one with a never-ending backlog of report requests. For most of our own customers, that’s the sales department, which generally has numerous requirements for flash reporting, comparative analysis and trending sales information.
After achieving success within that first department, methodically expand your roll-outs to include more business units and integration with more information systems. Also keep in mind that performance variables and factors related to a department’s objectives seldom reside entirely within that department alone. Instead, processes flow across line-of-business areas, and data often resides in redundant operational silos. As a result, a corporate data warehouse should be considered as part of the BI deployment and evolution strategy. This will ensure all of your company’s performance reporting is driven from a single, non-redundant information repository.
With a goal to start small and advance in phases, the reporting project should commence with the end in mind—and decision-makers must understand the enterprise-wide impact of their decisions from the start.
Once the reporting structure is in place (even if it’s only for a single department or business unit to begin with), leverage the performance management features of your business intelligence software to take your BI evolution to the next level. This includes the rollout of:
The next logical step in a phased BI deployment approach is to enable the decision-making process by putting capabilities like these into the hands of business users:
Next, the valuable insights gleaned from your current and historical data can be used to make predictions about future events. This segment of the BI evolution process is often used by Silvon’s customers to identify and respond to new opportunities more quickly. For example, by looking at a customer’s historical purchase patterns, reasonable predictions can be made about the kinds of promotional offers that will keep that customer buying more—and more often—from your business.
Here are some other “predictive analytics” that you can leverage with the visibility provided by your BI solution:
Ultimately, the collaborative foundation of good BI software will also let you connect beyond the four walls of your business to your extended supply chain. Consider sharing plans and performance information back and forth with suppliers, customers and others. And start using your BI software to analyze external data that can have a direct impact on your business, like point-of-sale, syndicated data and other third-party information.
This phased approach to business intelligence and performance management is by no means revolutionary; but it’s an evolutionary, lower-risk and very practical way to bring greater business visibility to the people who need it most across the organization.
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