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Big Data Strategy: 3 Must-Haves for BI Managers

Ben Zenick


Before you take on initiatives like Big Data or data visualization ensure your fundamentals are correct. Below are three must do’s for getting your BI house in order.

1. Organize for success

Define what you are trying to accomplish as an organization and how you will get there. Without a plan, you decrease your chance for BI/DW success, costing your organization time and money.

Define the roadmap to gain organizational buy-in. 
Ensure IT and business users are on the same page about the initiatives and goals to be achieved.

Start small and deliver quickly.
Start with bite-sized projects that solve specific problems that you can deliver in quick bursts. This approach allows for continuous feedback and buy-in from stakeholders.

Work collaboratively.
Collecting continuous feedback and delivering incremental value requires collaboration, not only with developers and the day-to-day team members but also with stakeholders to ensure ongoing success and management of the overall scope & project direction.

Train & educate on a continuous basis.
Initiatives like Big Data and data visualization require on-going education and training on methodology, tools, and processes for all parties involved.

Be flexible and agile.
The ability to deliver incremental value when it comes to BI and DW implementations requires organizations to remain flexible and agile while not losing focus on the bigger strategy they are trying to achieve.

2. Know your data

A key component to any successful DW/BI strategy is knowing your data and how it can be an asset for your organization. Many mistakes are made in BI implementations when companies fail to create alignment between the organization’s business problems and the data.

It’s important to develop an understanding of how the data will be delivered and how it will provide value to both business users and technical teams.

A company’s data strategy should be broken down into the five W’s:

Who will be using the data?
What strategy is required to ensure the quality and validity of the data?
When will the data be available for consumption and analytics?
Where will the data live (infrastructure)?
Why do I need the data?

This understanding is critical to achieving an organization’s DW/BI strategy.

3. Understand what you want to be when you grow up (from a BI and analytics perspective that is!).

Although, data and organizational alignment are two of the major factors for a successful DW/BI strategy, it is just as important to understand where you are and where you want to go along the BI maturity model.

Many companies attempt to implement analytical solutions without aligning where they are as an organization to an overall analytical maturity model. This can lead to organizations spending time and money on DW and BI initiatives without reaping the benefits, both short and long term.

If you get these three must-do’s done, you will have your BI house in order to move along the BI maturity path with ease and success.