Saturday, 22 February 2014

How to justify your business intelligence spend

In these recent times of austerity, finding funding for analytical projects is a thankless and often ignored cause. The people who control the purse-strings can suddenly get very short-sighted if you are asking for a new server, or the latest software. You can talk about impending obsolescence, increased efficiency, improved customer service and insight until you are blue in the face. You could also build a cast-iron risk assessment, highlighting the certainty of impending doom unless you upgrade. It will be ignored. Most rational arguments will not win you any backing at all. 

Here is the truth.... bottom line is.....

Your solution MUST improve sales. 

Regardless of any other consideration, if you can convince your colleagues that the new solution will improve the selling prospects of your organisation, then you are more likely to get funding for your pet project. 

So before you pitch your idea to the board, go to your sales and marketing departments first. Find out what their problems are and make sure your solution can support what they are trying to do. I guarantee that your likelihood of project approval will at least double with approval and backing by sales and marketing.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

The data knowledge gap

In most organisations, there are many people with general and specialised knowledge about the business. They will have good product knowledge, good knowledge of how the processes work; good customer, financial and regulatory knowledge.

Go into the technical part of the organisation, and they will have specialist information knowledge. They may know how the processes work. They will know know how the fix them if they go wrong. They will also be technically adept at developing new systems and implementing change.

But there is a yawning gap in many organisations - it's knowledge of the data itself. Those who manufacture the data (usually sales or customer services), rarely have to deal with it. Those who read the reports that are derived from the data will not necessarily know about the data itself.

But when projects go wrong, very often the data that is at fault or unsuitable for purpose. Because there is no specialist knowledge of the data itself, the people who produce the reports get unnecessary criticism for getting things wrong. Knowing where you have data problems is a major step for any organisation to take. For once you know you have problems, you can stop laying into your reporters and make organisational, system and process change to keep everyone happy.