Enterprises have their choice of business intelligence (BI) and analytical toolsets. However, all this choice can lead to confusion and inefficient investments. What with constantly changing technology and the plethora of vendor offerings, it’s all too easy to make an investment in the wrong product, and then not use it.

Companies also may take the wrong approach to their BI investments for their business. Some rely on a one-tool approach, which can stunt analytical capabilities because the tool doesn’t have everything that each business unit needs. Different departments have different objectives for analytics, and while some might need simple capabilities that can be performed with a spreadsheet, others may want to harness the power of machine learning.

While others take a multi-tool approach, which can be difficult to manage. They may have too many options and not use all the tools’ features, stunting return on investment. And, as with a single tool approach, a multi-tool approach can still mean that users don’t have the right tools for their use case. That’s why it’s so important to develop an operating model that supports analysts and provides the right resources to conduct analytics, especially in large enterprises that have varying needs. Here’s how to address this problem with a BI operating model.

Conduct an Internal and External Assessment

The first step in developing a BI operating model is to identify gaps and assess analytics needs. Internal assessments should focus on gathering input from executive stakeholders across the different business units to find gaps in analytical capabilities for the business questions they’re trying to answer. Conduct working sessions to understand their vision and goals for future analytical capabilities. Next, gather end user stakeholders from across business units, the ones that are trying to answer the questions that the executives are asking by using BI and analytics tools. For both executives and end users, it will be critical to identify the gaps in what they need and what they already have.

After internal needs are assessed, an external assessment is recommended. This is a comparative look at other organizations of the same size in the same industry. The idea is to identify trends in the BI market, as well as pinpoint best practices to bring back to the organization.

Design the Operating Model

After the assessment is complete, it’s time to fill the gaps by designing the operating model for an enterprise BI solution. This consists of outlining the necessary components: the team that will support the growing analytical capabilities across business units, the skills required to do this, the processes that will need to be implemented, and the technology to deploy that will enable the operating model and track progress.

As part of the operating model, it will also be necessary to set metrics to define success in how BI tools promote the organization’s analytical capabilities and determine how it will be measured. Governance will also play a role to ensure efficiency.

Keep in mind that BI is more of a business solution than a technology solution. This is why both business executives and consumers of these tools need to be involved when assessing BI needs. The assessment will serve as the foundation for the operating model, which in turn will inform technology decisions to ensure the right BI solution or solutions are chosen for the organization.

Authored by: Edyta Schwartz

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