Asking how to implement business intelligence is a smart question. After all, many people talk about business intelligence, but what exactly is it and how do you implement it in your company?
Business intelligence gathers information from every aspect of your business and enables you to utilize it in charts, graphs, and reports that make it easy to understand. A good business intelligence system requires constant data inputs collected from systems and departments throughout your company.
An uninterrupted flow of data ensures the inputs into the BI system provide facts for reports, data visualizations, and the outputs required to build a comprehensive picture of your business’ operations. A key component of how to implement business intelligence is understanding how to manage that data.
Understanding How Data Is Gathered
The first step to implementing business intelligence is to take an inventory of the areas within your company where data is generated. Data comes from many sources: operations, human resources, marketing, sales, factories, and warehouses.
Data flowing from these areas typically moves into one central repository, such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
To understand where and how to gather the data to implement your business intelligence system, look at the following:
- Departments that produce data: Some common areas that provide valuable business data include accounting, finance, warehouse management, operations, manufacturing, marketing, and sales. Data may also be outside of the ERP system or these areas.
- Data governance rules: Data governance means how you manage your data. Establishing quality guidelines ensures data enters the system consistently. The key to using data through business intelligence is consistent, clean data that is easily imported into the BI system.
- Legacy systems: Legacy systems can pose a challenge to BI because the data may not match established fields in the newer systems. Custom coding may be needed to harness data from legacy systems and ensure it flows seamlessly into the ERP and BI systems. You may need to work with the vendor behind your legacy system or talk to a data expert to understand how to use the data from older systems.
Choose a Data Champion
When learning how to implement business intelligence, an essential but often overlooked aspect of the process is choosing what’s known as a “data champion.” A data champion is a person from each department who is trained in how to use the business intelligence system and who has management rights to the database. This person ensures data is inputted into the system according to the data governance rules established for your company, and helps to ensure data adheres to all rules established.
The data champion usually represents the department at meetings and training sessions with the BI vendor. They typically participate in extensive training with the BI vendor and become the go-to person within their department should anyone have questions on how to use the software. Sometimes a data champion learns how to generate custom reports and can handle custom requests from the department.
The data champion is also an in-house problem solver. If anyone has questions about the system, they can go to someone in their department. After the business intelligence system rollout is complete, users tend to remember only the features they use frequently. The data champion has to retain more information and provide refreshers to those who have questions.
Choose a Business Intelligence System
Now that you know how to implement a business intelligence system, it’s time to choose the right one. Mindover Software can help you choose the right ERP and business intelligence solutions for your company. We are resellers of Sage 100 ERP, Sage 300 ERP, Acumatica, and other software solutions to improve efficiency and productivity. For more information, contact us at or call 512-990-3994.