BI projects aren’t just for the big fishes in the sea anymore; the technology has developed rapidly, the software has become more accessible while business intelligence and analytics projects implemented in various industries regularly, no matter the shape and size, small businesses or large enterprises. With the help of online data analysis tools, these kinds of projects have become easy to manage and agile in performance.
But sometimes, they can also be tricky: it’s not just pushing one button and expecting your business intelligence to fly over a rainbow. To truly harness the power of a successful BI project, companies must develop a solid plan of action and in this post, we will provide the top tips for developing and executing analytics and BI projects with the help of BI tools, followed by business intelligence examples from different industries. Ultimately, this will bring a solid level of understanding and indispensable potential that business users could implement in their own working environment. From Fortune 100 companies to small business owners, BI tools and technology are becoming the standard to oversee historical, present, and future data of business operations. But what makes these projects successful and what to look out for? We will cover this question, and much more, but first, let’s start with a bit of background.
What Is A BI Project?
A BI (business intelligence) project is a term used to describe the planning, assessment, development, and implementation of business intelligence in a company, mainly BI tools that will help managers to solve business problems and derive actionable insights.
These projects require cooperation between various company’s processes, technology objectives, and data while contributing to set business goals, usually defined by a detailed business intelligence strategy.
Top Tips To Create A Modern BI & Analytics Project
To get started in this journey, here are the top 5 tips to successfully create a BI project.
1. Create a solid BI project plan
It is of utmost importance to create a compact BI project plan that you can refer to periodically and track your progress. When conducting business intelligence projects, the more information you gather at your starting point, the better controlling you will have during the process. Involve relevant stakeholders and answer questions such as who will work with the BI? Is it intended for analysts, C-level executives or department’s managers? You can also conduct interviews and ask each relevant person directly to avoid communication issues between departments after the project and online BI tools are already implemented. This kind of structure will ensure proper foundation so later you won’t have to face pitfalls and misinterpreted information.
2. Define goals and objectives
In correlation with the planning processes, defining your endgame and setting the right KPIs will create success. While there are numerous KPI examples you can choose from, only a few of them will help you answer specific business questions. If you work in finance, financial analytics will be the backbone of your operations. On the other hand, if you’re in the HR industry, then an HR dashboard could be the best answer you’re looking for. The essential element in this step is to be able to answer in what way your company or organization makes business decisions, and how the quality of these decisions is measured. Another useful advice is to start small; you have to walk before you can run.
3. Clear the clutter and define a timeframe
After you have established your plan and defined goals, it is time to clear all the information clutter and define a timeframe. To be able to fully reap the rewards that an analytics project and BI can deliver to your organization, it is not just significant to own the KPI management process. By now, you should have already identified business questions you need to answer, and it’s time to get your hands dirty. As the old saying goes, timing is everything, so make sure you develop a schedule for implementing and approving all the relevant processes. Do you need one month or six months to finish the project and start using the BI tool? If you’re confronting setbacks, it might be useful to engage with additional business intelligence consulting to be on the safe side.
4. Concentrate on technicalities
At this stage, you have developed your plan, set the timeframe, identified and communicated with relevant stakeholders, and now it’s time to choose the right dashboard tool. Since every project initiative is different, it would be wise to establish a framework on what you need from a tool. What kind of database you’re currently working with and do you need various data connectors to unite all your flat files, databases, marketing analytics, social media, etc. Working with the right partner that can deliver all your requirements is an invaluable choice and you should be able to choose based on your budget and scope of the project. Keep in mind that BI and analytics projects are business programs in their core. You will need the help of the IT department, but the “business first” perspective will make your life easier and focus on the big picture.
5. Implement your BI solution and measure success
Our final tip to develop a proper BI and analytics project focuses on the implementation and measuring the success of your initiative. It is often hard to evaluate and quantify the level of success of utilizing a BI solution, but a simple calculator as shown below can provide you with an idea of how much you can save each year:
To see the full scope of the calculation, you can visit our business reporting page.
We have answered the question what is a BI project, provided a roadmap of tips you need to follow in order to successfully implement such initiatives, and now we will focus on real-life business intelligence projects examples and templates that made companies’ processes more productive, saved costs, and increased efficiency.
Real-Life BI Projects Examples And Templates
Here are shining examples of real-life business scenarios in which a BI and analytics project is used to improved efficiency, productivity, and enabled smarter decision-making processes in their operational and strategic efforts.
1. US-based financial services provider
- Real-time access to vast amounts of data
- Fast implementation
- Availability to all managers
- Maximum security and data privacy
- Reducing the reporting time
- Reducing IT involvement
- Decentralizing the decision-making processes from one person to 10
Facing the challenges of poor data quality, dispersed through a number of spreadsheets and databases, this financial company was unable to track financial data in real-time and generate valuable insights needed to ensure their vendor payment, managed by the accounts payable department, is accurate and fast. They have already experienced a few business disputes and wanted to avoid such scenarios in the future. Additionally, they wanted more control over their working capital and the cash conversion cycle data in order to increase management productivity and operations.
After deciding to implement a business analytics project with the help of a data dashboard, their efficiency skyrocketed. We can also see below a visual business intelligence project template which can be used in any finance department or company:
**click to enlarge**
The final result was reducing the time of comprehensive financial reporting processes, automating calculations and gaining access to data in a single, central location. A testament to the supremacy of using a financial dashboard to enhance internal performance.
2. Human resource department in a corporate setting
- Improving recruitment methods
- Self-service access to information
- Multidimensional analysis
- Automating processes
- A comprehensive view of the entire recruitment process
- Performance of the team should be tracked on a weekly basis
- Providing a foundation for weekly meetings
This is one of our business intelligence projects examples that expound on the HR level in a corporate setting in the US. The company struggled with their recruitment funnel and didn’t have up-to-date information on the costs, turnover rates, and top performing agents that can share their knowledge and educate the rest of the team. The final BI project template looked similar to this visual:
**click to enlarge**
The manager gained a clear, birds-eye view of the department’s performance and crucial HR KPIs that provide instant insights through the employment of a powerful BI solution. Their reporting process was time-consuming and employees were facing challenges with weekly meetings when they needed to provide accurate data and deliver fast responses. By utilizing a comprehensive HR dashboard, every stakeholder had an interactive visual which they could access any time, from any device, and decrease the amount of time needed to generate HR reports. The automation of the reporting process enabled more efficient time management which employees could use to perform other relevant HR tasks.
Another testament to the power of using HR analytics tools.
It’s Your Turn!
To summarize, here are the top tips for creating a successful BI project:
- Create a solid BI project plan
- Define goals and objectives
- Clear the clutter and define a timeframe
- Concentrate on technicalities
- Implement your BI solution and measure success
Now that we have provided BI projects examples and templates that professionals and managers can use for their own purposes. Creating business analytics projects by following our tips and leveraging these examples to your advantage can create a much more stable business and better performance level. To see it in practice, you can start creating your own projects with our BI tool, for a 14-day trial, completely free!