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Should You Use BI to Measure the Effectiveness of BI?

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According to this blog on TDWI, when it comes to analytics, a surprising percentage of shops don't know what or how well they're doing. So does it make sense to use BI to measure the effectiveness of your BI?

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  • In any BI project there should be goals and targets for measuring the success of the project. Using the BI tools in place to measure the initial and ongoing success just makes sense. In today’s environment, you can be assured any BI project will compete for funding with other initiatives, and it should. In the planning stages of any BI project it just makes sense to extend the requirements for the BI initiative to include ongoing measurement for the project itself against the expected results alongside the estimated costs.
    It has never been enough to say a BI project will allow an organization to make “better and informed decisions?. Loosely defined success criterion places a BI project at risk. Take the time to detail the expected returns; normalize the results to common set of metrics that business professionals and senior executives can relate to such as dollars, time, or meeting a regulatory requirement and then monitor your results. One of the benefits of this approach is that BI implementers will align their conceptual framework to that of their BI consumers – and that has never been a bad thing.

  • Yes, certainly. Metrics like adoption and usage, by user and department are the ones to track. More specifically number of logins, number of dashboards/reports viewed, number of dashboards/reports created, by day/week/month, would be key to tracking whether the tool is being used and pinpointing where more re-education, etc is needed.

    Now, let's just hope your BI software makes these stats available in a database format to report off of...

  • Extending on from the two comments already made . . . A good BI tool or platform should provide a SQL-based audit log / repository that keeps track of all systems usage and performance statistics. From this data, a BI-using organization should create reports and dashboards that track the key performance indicators that measure the health and usage of the BI system. Also, this same data can be used to ensure compliance and systems audit capabilities in environments where this is important or required. So, BI to measure BI is a very good idea.

    Brian Gentile
    Chief Executive Officer

  • I wanted to take a slightly different tack on this question - If we are measuring the "Effectiveness" of Business Intelligence, what we need to do is track how the BI efforts, the data they collect, the insights they provide, ACTUALLY help an organization make better decisions.

    A properly designed survey and circulated periodically among BI users within the company can keep track of how BI is helping or not helping the company. They can see trends up or down in this effectiveness index, drilldown from the division/department level down to who is finding it useful, who is not and where?

    Should be a very interesting exercise, Indeed, to use BI for measuring effectiveness of BI!!

  • As part of any BI strategy its imperative to understand both how the BI environment is being used and how effective it is in answering the users questions. Fundamental to any design and deployment is to create metrics to track usage and accuracy of the environment of the data.

    For the BI environment to evolve with the business; the ability to track report/measurement usage and dormancy, questions being asked, new data requests, and accuracy/confidence of performance metrics.

  • Using BI to measure the efficiency & effectiveness of BI initiatives in an organization is a good idea. Here are some points to consider on what to measure:

    1) Measure the number of people using the BI platform
    2) Measure the analytical components (Reports, Charts, Dashboards etc.) that are being used
    3) Measure the number & quality of business decisions taken by using the BI platform (Tough one but can be managed!)

    Just like there is a strategy map / balanced scorecard created for an organization, we can build one specific to BI initiatives within a company and use that to calibrate the effectiveness of BI.

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