What follows is essentially a summary of the major issues addressed in this guide and is designed for those either short of time, or just looking for a quick overview of the topic.
- BI is about more than pretty data dashboards! BI is currently being used within the sector to advance progress on a broad front of strategic agendas: from student retention and performance benchmarking to estates management
- We are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible. Predictive modelling and forecasting through the emerging field of analytics is likely to become increasingly important in helping organisations plan during uncertain times
- The benefits in terms of more efficient and accurate external reporting should not be overlooked.
- The imperative to improve BI may well be intertwined with, and build on, existing strategic objectives and agendas within the organisation
- Try to identify meaningful and measurable metrics in order to demonstrate success
- Don’t forget to benchmark current performance before any changes are made.
People and organisational issues
- It is easy but misguided to concentrate on technical issues in a BI project; the needs of the users should always be the key consideration
- Not all users will welcome change and their concerns will need managing
- As users become aware of the possibilities of BI there is a danger that the original project can be compromised by expanding expectations and evolving priorities
- Wherever possible keep your project team intact.
- Try to identify affected data at the earliest possible stage, and manage it at the lowest level of granularity possible
- Avoiding manual data collection will minimise processing issues
- Consider the range and volume of data to be used for predictive models
- Not all users like abstract visualisations and projects need alternative data representations.
- Understanding the business problem is vital if the technical solution is to be successful
- Always allow a contingency in the project plan for unexpected and unforeseen issues
- Do not underestimate the logistics and politics of a limited rollout such as a pilot.