An enterprise-level BI implementation works best when it’s done in a staged or phased manner. When we implement BI and data driven solutions, Damatec uses a phased project based approach where your input and involvement is crucial for succes.
Gather requirements up front
This is a must! Inventorize requirements gives us an overview of the way to go and lets us create a future proof solution architecture. It’s a best practice to involve all stakeholders from the executive team to your business users from the get-go. And having all the necessary requirements up front will save a lot of extra rework down the road.
Break down the requirements into key business areas and phases
This makes for much more manageable chunks of work, which means it’s easier to stay on point. Plus, project members feel more productive knowing work is getting done. This is opposed to having just one large deliverable. With larger BI implementation projects, when you encounter roadblocks, the delivery schedule can be pushed out innumerable times and you have nothing to show for all the work that has gone into them.
Select the priority of phases
Scheduling your phases very much depends on the dynamics, the internal politics and the strategy of your organization. When figuring out the schedules and priorities, we should consider the following:
- Which areas of your business stand to benefit most from a particular phase?
- Which phases will impact your organization the most?
- Are certain phases more complex or apt to have additional challenges?
- Which departments are likely to adopt a new analysis and reporting tool more easily?
- Which business areas have the time and flexibility to work on a particular phase?
- Which areas of your business have clearly defined metrics that can successfully implemented right away?
Every selected phase will have its specific detailed planning for development, testing and roll out. Resources are assigned and a base is created for further follow up in terms of budget and planning.
Breaking the project into multiple phases allows for a more iterative development process in which interaction with the project stakeholders is frequent and consistent. During development, we showcase our work, even if it’s very basic at the beginning. It allows us to receive constant input to ensure everybody stays aligned.
This not only prompts more feedback that can help us guide and correct our development course, it keeps you from trying to do the whole project at once and then finding out in the end that it went in the wrong direction. Smaller iterations with lots of interaction allow all project stakeholders to gently adjust course when road blocks occur.
Solution testing and data validation
An iterative approach to enterprise BI is also significant when it comes to application testing and data validation. In the world of BI, data integrity is crucial. You can easily lose the faith of your end users forever if solutions don’t work according to the expectations and your data is determined inaccurate during the initial roll-out. Constant testing and getting eyes in front of the data allows for more opportunities to catch errors and it makes the final validation/QA stage easier on the validation team.
Gradually roll it out to your departments
Rather than trying to force the whole company to make a complete paradigm shift at once, rolling out the soloution to individual departments and/or business areas allows you to focus your resources a little at a time to make sure the roll out is smooth and successful. Positive word of mouth about the successful implementation and usefulness of the tool can then get other departments excited about their rollouts and more engaged when their turns come.
When it’s all said and done, keep in mind that becomming data driven is not a one-time project. It’s a living, breathing animal that requires constant care and feeding. As your business grows and changes, we can fine-tune your solutions to accommodate those new changes. Having an iterative deployment approach will make it all the more bearable and successful for you!