5 Common Business Intelligence Project Mistakes #1

5 Common Business Intelligence Project Mistakes #1

First in a 5-part series

In this series, I highlight the five most frequent mistakes I have encountered in a Business Intelligence (BI) project, and how to avoid them. Hopefully, you are reading this while still in the planning phase of your implementation. Regardless of where you are in your BI plan, however, these tips can be very useful, since BI strategies are constantly growing and changing with the business.

Mistake #1:

You don’t get operations / infrastructure colleagues on-board early in the process.

More than a few times, I’ve seen operations personnel complain about not being in the loop on upcoming BI projects. So when the first day of implementation arrives, operations personnel are surprised, unhappy and worried. Moreover, they have valuable insight on why they may not be able to accommodate your BI project schedule (lack of personnel, insufficient expertise in the product, or incompatible environment). This is especially true in enterprises which strongly lean to a homogeneous technology and where BI might not fit existing paradigm. This creates unnecessary risks and delays for your project – such as incompatibility of architecture, security risks, and under-resourcing. Under certain circumstances, these issues have high chances of escalation towards upper management as well as creating negative team dynamics. Worst of all, it is counterproductive to the development, since a lot of time-constrained enterprise architecture standards exist that might not be known to the implementation team.

There are several things you can do to mitigate or eliminate this scenario. First of all, you need to involve operations personnel early on, preferably during the acquisition stage, or, if it is not practical, right after the purchasing decision is made. Ideally, you want to have a dedicated member of Operations assigned to your team as a central point of contact. This person might have some BI experience; however, it is not a prerequisite, as the primary goal of this assignment is to ensure smooth interaction with the Operations team and having someone on the inside. This ensures valuable cooperation from initial installation and configuration to mature production releases.

Your implementation consultants (or internal BI architect) ideally would work closely with this designated person to leverage their BI expertise with his/her Operations knowledge. This avoids major frictions and ensures your project’s success early-on.  Take note: Operations does not have to be assigned to the project full-time; however, they should be committed for the full life cycle of the project.

By establishing a good rapport with Operations team early on, your job will be easier and you can focus on delivering value to business partners.

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