Saturday, May 13

Success is a series of singles and doubles

Hitting the home run in BI (successfully delivering your BI initiative) is similar to Seth Godin's baseball analogy for marketing success. Baseball games are won by hitting singles and doubles to load the bases. Then you hit a homerun and you've maximized the effort you spent loading those bases. Then. Do it all over again.

Successful BI initiatives utilize a similar approach. "Think big; act in small, iterative cycles". Hitting the home run in the first inning, on the surface, can be sexy and rally the troupes. But in BI, this holds a high risk of your project not even getting off the ground.

A good approach is focusing on educating yourself and your company or team (you can start by using the BI for Business People lens) on what is important to you, what should happen initially, and what the goal could be for your organization. And not that you need to make it a concensus building exercise (unless your organization has that type of culture). And find expertise from people who have "been there and done that". Learn from them. Nothing can replace proven experience.

Three quick ones to get started:

Determine if BI can solve the problem. This should be a quick step using someone who has some depth of BI experience. Watch that you don't fall into one of two ruts: "as a hammer, everything looks like a nail" and at the opposite side of the spectrum, "analysis-paralysis".

Which team or business unit can put time towards supporting the project. This effort from business users ensures that the technical team doesn't guess and delivers value to the business. After all, BI is for the business. This committment of bodies will also demonstrate who is willing and able to move forward. No committment? Not a high priority.

Have you seen what the toolsets can do? Usually I would hesitate to suggest bringing in vendors to pitch their products. Most will say 'yes, our products can do everything you want'. Talk to an unbiased consultant (toolset agnostic). Talk to companies who have done BI. Attend webinars.

Education can be a powerful ally; but make sure you're executing as well.

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