The Unexpected Benefits of Enterprise Analytics and Business Intelligence Investments

PART 1: INTRODUCTION AND A FOCUS ON BUSINESS VALUE

When you consider the business benefits of investing in analytic and business intelligence capabilities, traditionally we think about uncovering inefficiencies, exploring new business models, and predicting the future.  Certainly no-one would deny that those benefits might be substantial, but there are some latent benefits that come along with the effort.  In this brief series, we will explore these latent benefits, including:

  • an opportunity to improve your focus on business value
  • improved use of global common apps (and a rationalization / reduction of unique applications)
  • improved workforce utilization
  • increased utilization of your enterprise data warehouse (or justification for your first EDW)
  • reduced datacenter expense
  • reductions of shadow-IT expenses (or the transfer of that budget to IT)
  • improved information security

I will admit some aspect of a chicken & egg issue here.  Any analytic or business intelligence effort is only as good as the data available.  Are these benefits therefore simply prerequisites; the table stakes required for a good BI or analytic capability?  I don’t think so.  It’s important that we be intentional about capitalizing on these benefits.  Let’s explore in some detail:

Focus on Business Value

As an enterprise begins to invest time, technology and talent into BI and analytics, there should be a prioritization process that is focused on business value.  Depending on the size of your organization, it might be as simple as listing your biggest opportunities, rank-ordered by business value potential, and get to work.  In large enterprises, you will need to go a level deeper.  One method I’ve used charted multiple investment opportunities, showing the size of the opportunity, the complexity involved, and how long it might take us to get a product into the market.  It gave our executive leadership the chance to select a mix of investment opportunities that made good sense for the business.

Ultimately, no matter what method you use for prioritization, you will have no limit on the investment opportunities.  A new business intelligence or analytic capability is a good excuse to test your ability to prioritize your efforts based on business value.

In the next post, we will begin to explore how these efforts can have a tangible impact on your bottom line.  In the meantime, if there is anything I can do to help you on your journey, please make sure to connect with me.

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