Like many other organisations, Housing Associations are accumulating an ever-growing volume of data, from a variety of internal and external sources. Customer feedback forms, surveys results, online queries, payment data, repairs and maintenance reports, rent arrears, data from external service providers; the list is endless. It is all very well collecting this data, but that is of little value if the data is not or cannot be collated, aggregated, integrated and interrogated to provide information which decision makers can use to drive the business forward. This can be a time consuming, difficult task.
When collecting data from various sources, the crucial prerequisite to using that data as a basis for Business Intelligence is to create an integrated view, a single version of the truth. Beware! The research is clear: the majority of Business Intelligence (BI) projects fail. Primarily, this is due to an over reliance on technology and the mistaken belief that technology is the key enabler in the BI journey. In fact, technology is probably the last piece of the jigsaw you should consider. The success of any Business Intelligence project is more dependent on:
Understanding the Business Requirements
This may seem an obvious statement, but all too often the gap between IT and ‘the business’ is difficult to bridge. Frustrations on both sides can lead to indecision and a disconnected approach, a sure fire route to failure. In addition, starting with the technology can lead to a tendency to merely replicate the information already being produced, without giving sufficient emphasis to what data is needed, and why.
People, Process, Technology
Typically organisations embarking on a BI project focus on the processes and on the technology, and fail to pay attention to the ‘people’ aspect. The consumers of the data are key to a successful BI project; without their buy in and engagement, BI tools can often end up as expensive ‘shelfware’. Delivering a solution that is easy to use and which allows end users and decision makers to access information more quickly, from their desk or through mobile devices, makes for a deployment that is not only adopted, but championed.
Data Sources and Data Quality
Providing a Business Intelligence solution that delivers a single, reliable version of the truth is imperative. Decision makers need to trust that the data behind the reports, analytics, budgets, etc. is accurate, and no matter how ‘whizzy’ the technology, how detailed the requirements or how pretty the graphs and dashboards are, without robust data governance the credibility of the solution can quickly be undermined: GIGO, as our systems engineering friends like to say.
So how can you avoid the pitfalls mentioned above? One way is to make sure you have a bridge between IT and the business users. Whether that be through a dedicated business analyst or through the creation of a Business Intelligence Competency Centre (we will talk about this in a later article), an injection of real-world experience can be useful. That’s where Esusave can help.
Find out how how Esuasive can help you with your BI needs. Please contact us