BI projects aren’t just for the big fish in the sea anymore; the technology has developed rapidly, and the software has become more accessible while business intelligence and analytics projects are implemented in various industries regularly, no matter the shape and size, small businesses or large enterprises. With the assistance of an online data analysis tool, these kinds of projects have become easy to manage and agile in performance.
But sometimes, they can also be tricky: it’s not just pushing one button and expecting your business intelligence to fly over a rainbow. To truly harness the power of a successful BI project, companies must develop a solid plan of action and in this post, we will provide the top tips for developing and executing analytics and BI projects with the help of BI tools, followed by business intelligence examples from different industries. Ultimately, this will bring a solid level of understanding and indispensable potential that business users could implement in their own working environment. From Fortune 100 companies to small business owners, BI tools and technology are becoming the standard to oversee historical, present, and future data of business operations. But what makes these projects successful and what to look out for? We will cover this question, and much more, but first, let’s start with a bit of background.
What Is A BI Project?
A BI (business intelligence) project is a term used to describe the planning, assessment, development, and implementation of business intelligence in a company, mainly BI tools that will help managers to solve business problems and derive actionable insights.
These projects require cooperation between various companies’ processes, technology objectives, and data while contributing to set business goals, usually defined by a detailed business intelligence strategy.
Why Do You Need A Modern Business Intelligence Project Plan?
Now that you know what a business intelligence project is, let’s consider why you need one for your organization.
Business analytics projects are key to sustainable commercial success as they help you gain a detailed and objective view of specific departmental activities or behaviors. Working through the necessary steps to create cohesive business intelligence projects will ensure your best data offers you the most powerful insights for the task at hand.
If you’re looking to improve your order fulfillment times, for example, developing a solid intelligence plan will give you the tools as well as the strategy to break down key aspects of your supply chain as well as delivery strategies.
Setting your goals and working with the right tools will empower you to understand exactly where any inefficiencies lie in your fulfillment activities while understanding your strengths. Having all of this information in one place will enable you to make beneficial decisions quickly while carrying out activities like switching to better suppliers, improving your picking and packing initiatives, and streamlining delivery routes.
This is a concept that works for every internal department and strategy imaginable. By implementing the right BI-based project, you will become more:
As you can see, investing in business intelligence projects will enhance your business in every conceivable way. You will gain the insight and the confidence required to ultimately push your company ahead of the pack and remain in the front seat.
Top Tips To Create A Modern BI & Analytics Project
To get started on this journey and ensure maximum value is generated in the long run, here are the top 13 tips to successfully generate a BI project.
1. Create a solid BI implementation project plan
It is of utmost importance to generate a compact BI project plan that you can refer to periodically and track your progress. When conducting business intelligence projects, the more information you gather at your starting point, the better control you will have during the process. That said, you need to translate strategies into specific operational statements and plans in order to answer all your data problems and improve efficiency. In practice, that could mean answering questions such as:
- How much time do we spend on reporting strategies?
- Do we need a tool that will be used by the whole company or specific departments? How will it affect it?
- Who will be responsible for the BI project implementation?
- What are the desired outcomes?
These are just some of the business intelligence project ideas that you can adjust based on your specific business requirements. In the next steps, you will go into more detail but the foundation needs to be well-structured in order to avoid potential bottlenecks. As mentioned, gathering as much information as possible beforehand will ensure that you have a steady BI project management flow and anticipate potential pitfalls. It would also make sense to keep in mind that outcomes line up with reality and that you have enough agile BI resources to adjust the process where needed. While you can’t predict the future, you would need to know how to adapt.
2. Define goals and objectives
In correlation with the planning strategies, defining your endgame, and setting the right KPIs will lead to success. While there are numerous KPI examples you can choose from, only a few of them will help you answer specific business questions. If you work in finance, financial analytics will be the backbone of your operations. On the other hand, if you’re in the HR industry, then an HR dashboard could be the best answer you’re looking for. The essential element in this step is to be able to answer in what way your company or organization makes business decisions, and how the quality of these decisions is measured. Another useful piece of advice is to start small; you have to walk before you can run.
3. Consult with key stakeholders
It’s critical to involve stakeholders since you need to identify the specific needs and wants, and how they will use the data to generate actionable insights. A thorough analysis of each department’s stakeholders can save you a lot of time in future strategies and make or break success in your projects in business intelligence.
Involve relevant stakeholders and answer questions such as who will work with the BI? Is it intended for analysts, C-level executives, or department managers? You can also conduct interviews and ask each relevant person directly to avoid communication issues between departments after the project and online BI tools are already implemented. This kind of structure will ensure a proper foundation so later you won’t have to face pitfalls and misinterpreted information.
4. Keep in mind your team and budget
Even in traditional projects, getting the right team on board can be quite challenging. Technical expertise is not enough, each member needs to provide industry-specific knowledge, therefore, give yourself some extra time in order to identify quality candidates and ensure your BI implementation project plan ticks the right boxes.
Document the responsibility and resources needed, plan the engagement of the stakeholders and bring specialists on board such as data analysts, business analysts, subject matter experts, or ETL developers, depending on the size and scope of the project.
Project roles and responsibilities will differ depending on the company, but here is the rundown of some business intelligence project tips to keep in mind:
- Identify the project budget before implementing BI solutions
- Determine the project resources and staffing requirements
- Include the specific responsibilities of each team member
5. Clear the clutter and define a timeframe
After you have established your plan and defined goals, you need to clear all the information clutter and define a timeframe. To be able to fully reap the rewards that an analytics project and BI can deliver to your organization, it is not just significant to own the KPI management process. By now, you should have already identified business questions you need to answer, and it’s time to get your hands dirty. As the old saying goes, timing is everything, so make sure you develop a schedule for implementing and approving all the relevant processes. Do you need one month or six months to finish the project and start using the BI tool? If you’re confronting setbacks, it might be useful to engage with additional business intelligence consulting to be on the safe side.
6. Step back from the computer
Once you’ve done your research, identified critical business questions, gathered a team, and defined your timeframe, it’s essential to start ideating your BI dashboards.
To get a clearer picture of a project in BI, you need to implement dashboards as a critical component that needs consideration and thoughtful development. Stepping back from the computer and drafting essential dashboard elements should be one of the business intelligence project steps that will give you a wider perspective and mockup for modeling the dashboard based on project scope and needs.
Additionally, it might make sense to create a project management dashboard in order to keep your future monitoring processes at hand and up-to-date, but in this step, it’s important to draft and visualize elements that you want to implement. That way, you will have a clearer understanding of what to expect and how to deal with the technicalities, tools you will be using, and people you need to communicate with. We can’t stress enough how preparation is key and if you do it right and detailed today, you will reap great rewards tomorrow.
7. Define your data sources and gather the data
Once you’ve taken a step back and refreshed your faculties, you’ll be ready to jump back in and continue with your BI project plan.
With a refreshed mindset, you can start to define the most valuable data sources for your business intelligence project. Consult your core business analysis project goals and the data sources you need to work with will become apparent.
To gain a balanced view of your organization’s performance, it’s important to look at a variety of sources, from consumer behavior and customer service to logistics, fulfillment, and beyond. Once you’ve clearly defined your relevant data sources, you should set about gathering the insights that will ultimately ensure you gain the most intelligence.
At this point, it’s worth mentioning: you must be objective, and work with every relevant business intelligence project plan stakeholder. Be ruthless, explore your shortlisted data sources as a team, and cut away any informational outlets that you don’t believe to be 100% trustworthy. When it comes to the success of any BI project, it’s vital to lead with value and cut through the noise—which brings us to our next point.
8. Clean your data and assess the quality
Armed with your shortlisted selection of data sources, you will now need to drill down into each informational pocket and start your cleaning process. There will be droves of insights in every one of your sources that won’t offer any direct value to your business intelligence project report. There will also be information that could significantly throw your efforts off course.
Proceed with caution and look at every insight with a fine tooth comb. Much like you did with your data sources selection efforts, be as objective and ruthless as possible, trimming the informational fat to get to the heart of the issue.
Yes, the task of cleansing your data and omitting anything you consider inaccurate, misleading or redundant will give you a clear path toward business analytics project success. Why? Well, because once you’ve consolidated your best data from the most reliable sources, you will have all of the informational tools you need to make powerful strategic decisions for your organization. This will form solid foundations for all of your BI projects
Working with the best quality insights will improve your decision-making, make you more adaptable, and ensure your BI projects result in sustainable growth.
9. Implement a data governance plan
The next in our rundown of business analytics project ideas is creating a water-tight data governance plan.
Essentially, a data governance plan is a framework of policies, processes, and strategies that outline how you handle your various data assets, including how you collect, curate, store, view, and present your insights.
The reason that a governance plan is so beneficial to your business intelligence initiatives is that it will enable you to squeeze every last drop of value from your most relevant data. Having a water-tight plan will also ensure that everyone in the organization is on the same page, significantly improving communication in the process. Implementing the right plan will also help you remain on the right side of compliance, which is essential in the Age of Information.
In addition to having clear-cut policies and strategies, working with the right BI tools and dashboards will also prove essential to the success of your plan, and in turn, your project. The best BI tools will empower you to consolidate your most precious insights into one central space while presenting them in a way that is accessible, engaging, and actionable across the board.
10. Concentrate on technicalities
At this stage, you have developed your plan, set the time frame, identified, and communicated with relevant stakeholders, gathered your data, and now you need to choose the right dashboard tool. Since every project initiative is different, it would be wise to establish a framework for what you need from a tool. What kind of database you’re currently working with and do you need various data connectors to unite all your flat files, databases, marketing analytics, social media, etc. Working with the right partner that can deliver all your requirements is an invaluable choice and you should be able to choose based on your budget and the scope of the project. Keep in mind that BI and analytics projects are business programs in their core. You will need the help of the IT department, but the “business first” perspective will make your life easier and focus on the big picture.
11. Implement your BI solution and measure success
Our next tip to develop a proper BI and analytics project focuses on the implementation and measuring the success of your initiative. It is often hard to evaluate and quantify the level of success of utilizing a BI solution, but a simple calculator as shown below can provide you with an idea of how much you can save each year:
To see the full scope of the calculation, you can visit our business reporting page.
12. Work on a support and training system
As we will see in our business analytics project examples below in the article, training is necessary to develop relevant training and support systems in order to familiarize each member of the team with new enterprise applications and technologies, if you happen to develop an enterprise BI project. As we mentioned, a BI implementation project plan needs to be well-researched and correctly analyzed, but support and training are equally important. This stage needs to be carefully addressed because, even if you happen to have the best team and managers on board, if they don’t have proper training knowledge and technical support, the project won’t be utilized fully and you could misinterpret the right amount of capacity needed that will lead to poor decision-making processes.
In this case, no matter if you utilize a healthcare BI software or compile a selection of data science tools for your data team, the important notion to keep in mind is that each person must know what they’re doing and what kind of goals they are trying to reach. That way, you have a better chance that your business intelligence project implementation plan works seamlessly, efficiently, and with relevant support systems in place.
13. Finally, communicate regularly
We have mentioned several times how it’s important to interview relevant stakeholders, gather the best possible team, and plan your project on business analytics thoroughly. Between these steps, it’s important to communicate regularly in order to diminish any doubts or miscommunication risks that could jeopardize your plan and implementation process. Asking for regular feedback at the beginning, in between, and at the end is important as much as choosing the right tool for the job. Regular meetings, answering questions, or simply asking for help when developing digital dashboards, are essential in order to achieve success.
Besides, empowering users by letting them express their opinions in the planning and development of the project will ensure a healthy communication exchange, critical in succeeding in both business intelligence mini-projects as well as bigger ones.
To summarize, your business intelligence and analytics projects need detailed planning, the best tools that correspond to your business (and project) scope, and clear strategic and operational communication within the team and with stakeholders.
We have answered the question of what is a BI project, provided a roadmap of tips you need to follow in order to successfully implement such initiatives, and now we will focus on real-life business intelligence projects examples and templates that made companies’ processes more productive, saved costs, and increased efficiency.
Real-Life BI Projects Examples And Templates
Here are shining demonstrations of real-life business scenarios in which a BI and analytics project is used to improve efficiency, and productivity, and enable smarter decision-making processes in their operational and strategic efforts.
1. US-based financial services provider
- Real-time access to vast amounts of data
- Fast implementation
- Availability to all managers
- Maximum security and data privacy
- Reducing the reporting time
- Reducing IT involvement
- Decentralizing the decision-making processes from one person to 10
Facing the challenges of poor data quality, dispersed through a number of spreadsheets and databases, this financial company was unable to track financial data in real time and generate valuable insights needed to ensure their vendor payment, managed by the accounts payable department, is accurate and fast. They have already experienced a few business disputes and wanted to avoid such scenarios in the future. Additionally, they wanted more control over their working capital and the cash conversion cycle data in order to increase management productivity and operations.
After deciding to implement a business analytics project with the help of a data dashboard, their efficiency skyrocketed. We can also see below a visual business intelligence project template that can be used in any finance department or company:
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The final result was reducing the time of comprehensive financial reporting processes, automating calculations, and gaining access to data in a single, central location. A testament to the supremacy of using a financial dashboard to enhance internal performance.
2. Human resource department in a corporate setting
- Improving recruitment methods
- Self-service access to information
- Multidimensional analysis
- Automating processes
- A comprehensive view of the entire recruitment process
- The performance of the team should be tracked on a weekly basis
- Providing a foundation for weekly meetings
This is one of our business intelligence projects samples that expound on the HR level in a corporate setting in the US. The company struggled with its recruitment funnel and didn’t have up-to-date information on the costs, turnover rates, and top-performing agents that can share their knowledge and educate the rest of the team. The final BI project template looked similar to this visual:
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The manager gained a clear, birds-eye view of the department’s performance and crucial HR KPIs that provide instant insights through the employment of a powerful BI solution. Their reporting process was time-consuming and employees were facing challenges with weekly meetings when they needed to provide accurate data and deliver fast responses. By utilizing a comprehensive HR dashboard, every stakeholder had an interactive visual that they could access at any time, from any device, and decreased the time needed to generate HR reports. The automation of the reporting process enabled more efficient time management which employees could use to perform other relevant HR tasks.
Another testament to the power of using HR analytics tools.
3. Sales department distributed over multiple continents
- Consolidating data across 3 continents
- Real-time access to information
- Scalable infrastructure based on the company’s growth
- Easy and fast integration with Salesforce
- Data is spread across multiple sources
- Combining data to develop a live dashboard
- Overview of multiple sales touchpoints and entire sales funnel
Another business analytics project example comes from a disparate sales department that needed a centralized point of access for their sales opportunity management as well as the possibility to drill down into each sales chart when questions arise. Before creating a BI project plan template, the team used traditional means of managing massive volumes of data such as static spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. Issues arose when the company grew and the team became disparate – manual work cost them countless hours and affected the quality of managing the most promising leads in the funnel.
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The sales dashboard was developed with all the requirements in mind, and more. The regional and country managers have gained the possibility to drill into details of important metrics such as the number of current opportunities, purchase value, lost opportunities, or churn reasons. The details of the latest opportunities enable managers to examine the status of opportunities by sales reps, country, and company, and see if any comments were made by the team.
This is one of the BI project examples that was implemented fast and efficiently although the provider had to consolidate data from multiple continents. Finally, the possibility to connect a Salesforce dashboard and manage data from this popular CRM solution enabled the team to create a more productive working environment and analyze data no matter the hour or location.
As you can see, managing business intelligence software projects doesn’t have to be complicated or demanding. With the right preparation, tools, and team, companies can now create BI project templates and adjust each departmental requirement separately while staying on budget and using the knowledge for future projects. Our business intelligence project plan samples show exactly how and you can use it as a roadmap for building your own BI success.
4. Corporate IT department with security concerns
- To gain a firm grip on the frequency of cyber security threats
- To create an enhanced phishing detection strategy
- To drive down cyber threat detection times
- Understanding key sources of cyber threats or attacks
- Gaining a clear and unified view of the business’s cyber security prevention abilities
Businesses across sectors lose millions of dollars a year at the hands of cybercrime. Without a clear-cut strategy and a means of accurately monitoring your cybersecurity status, you are essentially leaving your virtual door wide open to potentially devastating attacks. In this particular insurance, a corporate team was looking to fortify its cybersecurity strategy while gaining a clear, consolidated view of any related activity.
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With information coming from various sources, the team discovered their efforts were completely fragmented, preventing them from working towards a unified strategy. By leveraging the power of this security-focused business analytics project example, the team swiftly got to grips with its strategy.
Armed with highly-visual IT KPIs based on intrusion attempts across malware types, phishing test success rates, and detection as well as resolution times, the team was able to pull in the right direction.
Drilling down into patterns and trends over specific timeframes, the team was able to use IT analytics techniques to find viable ways of driving down detection times while becoming more responsive to any potential threat at the moment. As a result, the team’s efforts became largely preventative rather than having to tackle attacks that were already in action. As a result, the organization drove down the threat of cybercrime significantly while maintaining a scalable security strategy.
5. Multi-channel customer service team looking to improve their service quality
- To drive down customer service response and resolution times
- To improve communication across the department
- To provide a swifter, more personable level of service across channels
- Data fragmentation slowing down progress
- Communication silos
Customer service is one of the biggest drivers of success in our hyper-connected digital age. Now, the consumer is well and truly in the driving seat and as such, will remain loyal to brands that can meet their needs across channels. In one of our most vital business analytics projects examples, a scaling customer service team realized the necessity of improving their service efforts across every customer-facing channel.
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To break down informational silos and improve multi-channel communication, the team embarked on a BI project, consolidating their efforts into a customer service dashboard. Working with its most valuable service data, the team gained a panoramic view of its activities.
Visual KPIs including abandonment rates across live chat and phone as well as a breakdown of costs and resolution success rates according to channel empowered everyone within the department to work as a unified unit.
As a result, the department was able to distribute its agents as well as its resources to handle queries, complaints, and requests across every customer-facing channel with ease. Service rates increased while unnecessary costs dwindled.
It’s Your Turn!
To summarize, here are the top tips for creating a successful BI project:
- Create a solid BI project plan
- Define goals and objectives
- Consult with key stakeholders
- Consider team and budget
- Define a clear timeframe
- Step back from the computer
- Define your data sources
- Clean your data and assess the quality
- Implement a data governance plan
- Concentrate on technicalities
- Implement your BI solution and measure success
- Work on a support and training system
- Communicate regularly
There’s no doubt about it: prioritizing BI will offer you a host of business-boosting rewards. Looking at our business intelligence projects examples alone, it’s clear to see that taking the right measures and working with interactive visual tools will consistently help you meet or even exceed your goals.
Rather than merely mulling over data and cherry-picking the odd piece of useful information, developing a clearcut project will give your efforts steer while bringing your data to life in a way that results in genuine progress.
Now that we have provided BI projects examples and templates that professionals and managers can use for their own purposes. Creating business analytics projects through self service BI and by following our tips and leveraging these samples to your advantage can create a much more stable business and better performance level. To see it in practice, you can start creating your own projects with our BI tool, for a 14-day trial, completely free!