The good news is that today’s business and IT managers are excited about business intelligence and value it can bring to the organization, its users and its bottom line. The bad news is that, in their zeal to run headlong into the business intelligence market, many businesses are making missteps and mistakes that will haunt them and diminish the value of the business intelligence solution, thereby degrading ROI and TCO.

A business can make numerous missteps on the path to business intelligence. Here are just a few of them:

Poor Requirements Gathering and Planning – If you don’t take the time to truly understand all of your business requirements and the different ways in which each user must access and view information, you won’t succeed in adopting and embracing business intelligence within the enterprise. Users need to see and use information in a particular way – a way that is meaningful to their role and function within the enterprise. The wise business and IT manager will take the time to gather and understand requirements and avoid the misstep of expecting users to change their workflow and business processes to accommodate the way the software works.

Underestimating the Importance of Solution Selection – Every enterprise needs access to good business intelligence. But, just having access to data does not give managers and users the information they need to make decisions. Don’t underestimate the importance of choosing the right solution. Not every BI Solution is the same. You’ll need sophisticated functionality and features with easy-to-use modules that allow even the average user to easily create a personalized dashboard and to gather and analyze integrated data from numerous sources, with automated alerts, great data visualization and reporting and deep dive analysis that allows users to slice and dice and monitor results with great performance, security and data access.

Waiting for Results – Don’t expect your business team or users to wait months or years for a business intelligence solution implementation to be completed, or to accept long training cycles or payback on investment. Select and implement a solution that will demonstrate results quickly and make it flexible enough to accommodate future needs so you don’t have to start over when your requirements change next year. Achieve and build on results as your business moves forward.

Establishing Access and Security Guidelines – Your business will definitely need a Mobile Business Intelligence Solution in this day and age – that goes without saying. But, think carefully about security, multi-layered access controls to protect the business and the users, and solution performance and accessibility. Make sure your BI solution is intuitive and comprehensive enough to deliver results in a self-serve environment. That will make everyone happy (users, IT and managers).

You must also consider your data storage and data delivery options. Going to cloud-based access and data management isn’t necessarily the answer. If your BI foundation is not solid, the cloud may make your data accessible, but it won’t make it more dependable, concise or easy to use. Don’t make the mistake of serving incomplete, imprecise data in the cloud, simply because the cloud is the latest thing in data delivery and storage. Build the foundation with appropriate features, user access and dependable performance and then figure out best to leverage your infrastructure to deliver the data to the users.

These are just some of the important factors your business must consider before it chooses and implements a business intelligence solution. With the right planning, solution and delivery mechanisms, your users (and your business) will reap the benefits of BI and your ROI and TCO results will be right where you want them to be!

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