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Implementing BI in an organizational environment

1 November 2012

Business Intelligence (BI) features several advantages from various fields.Sales:

  •  Sales performances analysis (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, etc.)

  •  Notifications regarding abnormal items

  •  Managing sales agents

  • Identifying new purchasing trends


  •  Visual display of incoming/outcoming/internal calls as well as incoming call waiting times.

  • Real-time data: lines, extensions, worker names, chapters, departments and groups

  •  User status in each extension (waiting, incoming/outcoming call, etc.)

  • Assessing loads throughout different hours in various days in all chapters, extensions, lines, etc.

  • Synchronizing and linking the data systems and managing databases

  •  Analyzing performances in tri-dimensional cuts, forecasting goals/setbacks etc.

  • Characterizing clients and classifying them


  • Real-time data on output utilization: human resources, devices, and buildings

  •  Shortening reaction time between hospitals and patients' administrative and medical needs

  •  Performance data regarding all hospital departments including patients opinionated reports

  • Updates regarding service and actions performed regarding each patient, including medical conclusions

  • Optimizing team work and preventing resource waste

  • Displaying waiting patients and duration of waiting time by type of surgery in each hospital

As we can see, the BI system features substantial and flexible advantages that support and contribute to various organizations regardless of their field of expertise and occupation. Some even say that an organization without a BI system cannot last long.

All that is left is to purchase a BI system. But, wait!

Before we run out to purchase a system and skip over some important phases, it is critical to list the reasons a BI system implementation can bitterly fail (a significant percentage of projects fail because of implementation issues). This list may assist others to forecast difficulties and prevent them (when possible):

  1. . Strategy: alike any other project, strategy is a project in itself. Therefore, we cannot begin our journey before setting up a BI strategy which notes its objectives and goals.

  2. Management support- entering a BI project, essentially a business-oriented matter, without management support will make implementation difficult and prevent future expansion.

  3. BI systems reflect a uniform organizational truth and lack of support may lead to multiple systems and distrust in the BI system.

  4. Focusing on needs- focusing on functional features of various BI tools rather than the organizations' practical needs and the problems we must address, will not promote the goals the system was purchased to achieve. This understanding can lead to a structured work plan adapted to the organizations' needs.

  5.  Data quality-false data leads to wrong decisions. Data displayed to users that is either wrong, outdated or inaccurate will lead to users not trusting the data they receive from the system; the project's failure is then guaranteed. Furthermore, when the users aren't explained how the data was calculated they tend not to base their actions on it.

  6. Budget- concentrating on purchase and authorization costs and disregard additional and comprehensive costs leads to exceeding the budget. BI project costs include elements such as professional services, computerization infrastructures, maintenance and flexibility to changes.

  7.  Viewing and addressing the changes- most BI systems change essentially every year or two. It is vital to understand that BI systems reflect an organization's real state and are based on current and historical data. Since the environment is constantly changing, the appropriate resources (both financial and functional) most be allocated t provide quick responses to users or else the system will become outdated as it won't reflect the organization's state and address new needs.

  8. Performances- BI systems must operate quickly and address queries with minimal waiting time (preferably in real-time). Users that wait for more than a few seconds will not use the system again.

  9.  Added value- users must receive data they could previously access. For example, many BI systems replace manual excel reports. If users receive the same report and cannot investigate the data in a more advanced manner, the project's objective has not been attained.

  10.  External consultancy- organizations initiating a BI system setup process should preferably use a consultancy company or independent consultant to supervise the quality of their work and perform the required connection between the project's important elements: data, needs and technology.

While the above includes several critical points that must be considered before implementing a BI project in an organization (and omitted others), yet the interest to succeed in our project and optimally utilize its advantages is solely ours.



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