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BI Solutions Without The Prohibitive Cost?

Posted by Uwe Fuchs in: business intelligence, Real Estate, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, data-driven insights, analytics

With over 50 Commercial Real Estate clients, we often get asked “How can my business leverage our data to make better decisions?

The value of a Business Intelligence (BI) solution is inherently understood by an organization’s IT team. It provides a single source of truth within an organization; dashboards help decision makers to overlay disparate data sources; and organizational trends can be gathered using Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

A Business Intelligence solution provides a single source of truth within an organization

However, BI, dashboarding, ML and AI are foreign to the leasing, development, accounting and executive teams. This begs the questions: how can the IT team get buy in from these departments to revolutionize the way in which the organization works with its data? Is it possible for a light-weight BI solution to deliver true business value without the prohibitive upfront costs of a full data warehousing solution?

Let us unpack how modern BI tools and architecture can be leveraged to deliver light-weight BI solutions, drive business value from the start and gear an organization to adopt a more data driven culture. This shift in culture, naturally leads towards preparing an organization to embark on more sophisticated and robust BI solutions.

Exploratory Approach – business does not always know what it wants?

Modern BI tools allow for a completely new view of an organization’s data, making it nearly impossible for business users to know all their requirements at the outset of the project. By following an exploratory approach, our BI experts guide stakeholders in uncovering their true data requirements.

How can your IT team get buy-in from business?

Leveraging market leading visualization tools such as PowerBI, dashboards and reports can rapidly be spun up. This provides near instant business value but at the same time facilitating stakeholder’s understanding of the power of these tools.

As the team’s insight grows, their data appetite grows, further fueling the rapid development and enhancements of dashboards.

An iterative roll out strategy

Rolling out a BI solution in an iterative way doesn’t just complement its exploratory nature but also assists with lowering the roll out costs.

The first iteration will contain a single data source or a subset of sources, and in subsequent iteration more data sources will be added. The key is to add data sources based on actual business needs and not needs as perceived at the outset of the project. The same principals apply for dashboards and reports; dash boards should be developed and refined in an iterative approach. This allows business users to give feedback based on actual requirements rather than perceived requirements at the onset of the project.

Let the data champions lead the way

To enable a BI team to deliver dashboards and solutions that drive value, it is critical that they work with appropriate business leaders/champions within the business. These business users need to be big-picture thinkers: they should have an in-depth understanding of their team requirements and they must also be ready to improve the way they make decisions.

The goal of these internal champions is to facilitate an organic shift within teams to a more data driven culture.

Mature the solution with a fully-fledged Data Warehouse or Data Store

The exploratory approach and iterative rollout outlined above delivers value to business while at the same time creating a more data driven culture with teams. As business’ BI requirements mature, so too does the BI solution. At some point it becomes imperative to start collating all of this data into a Data Warehousing structure.

At this point business has a strong appetite for a more robust solution and given their experience, their requirements will be more comprehensive.

Quick implementation times

Modern BI tools have been purpose-built to reduce the amount of time required to move data from source, into a central storage location (whether that is on premise or in the cloud) and into a visualization tool. These tools have removed the need for large implementation teams, sometimes requiring months or even years of analysis with significant budgets.

In Summary / Conclusion

The ultimate benefit of this approach is how it allows for the BI solution to grow beyond what could have been envisioned initially. In all iterations the solution is designed with user experience given top priority. This then also means the reaction to this change is swift, direct and met with no push back from end users. Lastly, decision-makers are now also given that competitive advantage they are always looking for.

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