In order to use business intelligence, you must clearly understand the problem you want to solve. In order to ensure all of the key parties are on the same page, you must create an information requirements brief.
- Okay, so your client has given you access to all of the data in their information systems. But let me guess, you have no clue where to start with the analysis. Welcome to the Digital Age. Business intelligence can be overwhelming given the amount of data at our fingertips. In fact, recent studies have shown that the volume of data stored is doubling every two years. Did you know that? Ironically, this can actually make solving business problems even more challenging.
So before analyzing and exploring all of the data that's available, take the time to narrow your focus on the information that will help solve the problem. After all, to effectively consult using business intelligence, you must understand your client's decision-making needs and the relevant data and information that can help with this. So ask yourself, and indeed your clients, the following questions. What are the problems that the business wants to solve? For example, are they trying to assess the commercial viability of an existing product? Does this existing product even align with the organization's growth strategy? What data is relevant to assessing the product's commercial viability? Where can the data be sourced from? For example, does a robust database exist that captures this relevant product information? Now, I like to prepare a brief for my clients, and I call it the information requirements brief.
I use it to show my clients that I understand their decision-making needs and how the availability of business intelligence will help solve the problem. My brief generally contains the following: a short statement of their business operations to show them that I truly understand what it is that they do. It also has an overview of the problem or problems that they are trying to solve. Sometimes I'll even include relevant KPIs, that's key performance indicators, that will be used to prove the findings.
And lastly, a list of all the data that I'll need. Now, in some cases, not all of the data that you need will be readily available, and that's okay. You could always advise your clients what it is that they need to do to start capturing this information. To help navigate a conversation like this, I tend to make it clear how doing this can ultimately improve the quality of decisions that they make. A structured brief provides a wonderful starting point for your project.
Prepare it collaboratively with your clients. Once it's been agreed to, you'll be well on the way to effectively consulting using business intelligence.
- Determine the essentials of business needs.
- Recognize the fundamentals in reviewing source data.
- Define date granularity.
- Identify the importance of data relevance.
- Break down the meaning behind data-driven insights.