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Five Steps to Implementing a Successful Business Intelligence Strategy

Data contains lucrative insights that can unlock a world of opportunities and assist long-term business growth.

By ·
By ·

Editor’s Note:  Kevin McGirl, is President of sales-i, a provider of sales intelligence software to supply chain companies.

Supply chain companies are typically overloaded with data. They need to process huge volumes of financial, customer, logistical and operational information daily to stay running smoothly. No doubt, this can sometimes feel more like an administrative burden than a valuable business process.

However, data contains lucrative insights that can unlock a world of opportunities and assist long-term business growth. By successfully implementing a Business Intelligence (BI) strategy, supply chain companies can harness this potential and create efficiencies company-wide.

While most organizations do acknowledge the need for such a strategy - in fact, recent research by sales-i revealed that 9 out of 10 supply chain companies see adopting BI software and other digital technologies as important to their future success – many are struggling to implement one.

Adopting BI need not be a challenge: here are five rules to follow in your supply chain company.

1. Keep your data clean

You can’t hope to implement BI without making sure your databases are clean and accurate first. As soon as possible, remove any old and irrelevant records – and repeat this practice regularly.

Establish specific processes for data entry across your organization to avoid inconsistencies, errors, and missing information. Always know where your data is coming from. Don’t rely exclusively on data bought from other sources as this can often be unreliable. Instead, focus on maximizing the data generated naturally by your business.

2. Build a clear BI roadmap for the entire organization

Implementing BI is not a one-off process, it’s an ongoing journey and you’ll need a map to guide you. Don’t expect to see benefits overnight. However, a good roadmap will help you speed up the process and ensure greater success.

Your roadmap must clearly outline:

i. Your current situation and how you aim to improve it using BI.
ii. The technology and IT infrastructure you will need to put in place to facilitate the correct use of BI.
iii. Who within your organization will have a stake in BI – and how they will achieve their specific objectives.

3. Educate and empower your team to be data-driven

Communicate with your team to understand their possible concerns with adopting BI. Change is not easy to adjust to, so help them understand how the new approach will benefit them in their specific roles.

Staff should be involved as much as possible from the get-go with any big technology decision and provided with the right training as soon as possible. This will encourage them to be data-driven and make decisions based on real insights, rather than just following their gut instinct.

4. Consider different integration options to maximize efficiency

Consider how BI will integrate with your existing IT infrastructure and how you might evolve your infrastructure to accommodate BI. Your choice of BI software should factor in easy integration to enable better connected processes. This will boost efficiency and unlock many more data opportunities.

A BI tool could, for example, pull data directly from different ERP modules like finance or HR, and analyze them to provide insights that are useful to the business.

5. Monitor, evaluate and iterate usage

To make sure you are pushing your BI system to its maximum potential, you need to monitor, evaluate and iterate how it’s being used and what results it’s delivering.

Keep reports so that you can demonstrate the positive impact of BI on your organization – this will help to encourage greater adoption and ensure a real return on


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From the September-October 2018
This month’s issue will help you in your job of staying ahead of the pack, following the leaders and, with luck, blazing the next trail.
The 2018 Supply Chain Top 25: Follow the leaders
NextGen technologies: Building the supply chains of the future
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