Figure 1: The triangle of success

Figure 1: The triangle of success

In this blog series, we have been discussing the reasons that business intelligence (BI) projects fail and what you need to consider in our Triangle of Success for a successful deployment. To recap, the sides of our triangle (Figure 1) are:

  • Process
  • Technology
  • Project Leadership

We’ve already examined the “process” side of our triangle. In this post, we’ll explore what you need to consider technology-wise to ensure BI success, and examine some of the pitfalls related to technology that could derail your project.

Step 2: Technology

Figure 2: The 3 components of technology

Figure 2: The 3 components of technology

When you are deploying BI, in terms of technology, you should consider aspects of collection, assembly and delivery (Figure 2).

As we mentioned in our first blog post, data collection is the technology tool that enables the process of defining your need. As you figure out why you are undertaking your BI project and what you are seeking to measure, you will also determine what data sources need to be joined. Will your data be coming from one technology source or from multiple sources? If you’re just pulling data from one source, your job will be fairly easy as there are no integration issues to worry about. However, if your data is coming from multiple sources, you’ll need to ensure data integrity. Different source systems can have different ways of cataloging information.

Data

assembly

is the technology that enables the deployment process. Here, it’s important to consider the business rules that govern your organization and make sure that data is assembled according to these rules. You must also understand the frequency of change in your data. Collection and assembly routines will vary depending if you want to look at data from one year ago, one day ago, or one hour ago.

Finally, information

delivery

is the technology that enables the deployment process. In this phase, it is important to consider who should access information and how they will access it. This is where you should figure out the different roles of your users and what is important to them as they interact with the system. Executives will want a high-level snapshot of data, while “power users” will want the ability to dive down into the data and examine it from multiple angles. During this step, you also need to understand if you have many remote or mobile users. These people will need different security than a user accessing BI from within the four walls of your organization.

Pitfalls to avoid:

  • Failing to understand your business rules and apply them during the assembly process.
  • Not considering your users and understanding what they need to get out of the BI solution depending on their roles and responsibilities. Your CFO needs different information from the system than does someone on your warehouse floor.

In our next blog post, we’ll examine the components of the “project leadership” side of our triangle. Then we’ll get down to examining the relationships between the three sides and the collaboration required to ensure a successful implementation.

You can read some of our other blog posts on BI implementation to ensure you’re on the right path to a successful BI deployment.

Blog posts in this series:

  1. Why BI Projects Fail – And How You Can Avoid Failure through the Triangle of Success
  2. The Triangle of Success – Understanding Process
  3. The Triangle of Success – Understanding Technology
  4. The Triangle of Success – Understanding Project Leadership
  5. Why Collaboration is Key to Enabling the Triangle of Success