ING Direct Australia shares 12 BI tips

Balanced approach, quality data and good staff are essential, says financial services firm

Implementing business intelligence (BI) can be a process fraught with pitfalls but avoiding this is easy if companies follow certain processes, advises financial services company, ING Direct Australia.

Speaking at the Gartner BI and Information Management Summit in Sydney, ING Direct Australia head of BI customer insight ,Greg Nichelsen, told delegates the company was using BI to maximise business opportunities and minimise risks.

“It’s important to have the right infrastructure, governance, methodology and people to best leverage and deliver information for strategic advantage,” Nichelsen said.

Nichelsen shared 12 BI tips for organisations looking to implement BI:

12: Create a balanced approach to data value

“You need to balance the tension between fast data and controlled data. It’s also important to distinguish between different types of data,” Nichelsen said.

11: Insight rarely happens by accident

Nichelsen said this may be a challenge many organisations face, so they need to “keep track of what the initial business problem was and know when to stop insight.”

10: Who are you?

“We operate as an internal consultancy but there are different ways to operate such as a full service model. Understanding the model that you are going to work with is vital,” Nichelsen said.

9: Have an executive sponsor

“You need an organisation wide focus on BI, this can’t be siloed. We have a challenge at ING Direct because we could be seen as the marketing BI team rather than the company team,” Nichelsen said.

“There has to be a voice in the executive committee for the BI initiatives.”

8: Understand technology influences

Nichelsen warned organisations to be cautious about new technology, especially in the hype of BI. Also, he said organisations need to understand their limitations and “pain points”.

7: Draw a line in the sand

“Set some goals based on business outcomes and decide where you would like to get to,” Nichelsen said. “We do that within the organisation so we can focus on specific projects.”

6: Empower analytic thinking

Nichelsen pointed out the importance of giving staff a voice and recognising staff for their contributions. “We run employee of the month for the BI team,” he said.

5: Understand your audience

“Across the organisation there can be many different types of BI users, those who just want the numbers, those who believe in gut instinct and won’t look at numbers and those who see the numbers but don’t believe them until they dig in a bit deeper,” Nichelsen said.

4: Keep on top of data quality

“We have a rule, don’t use data if you don’t have an understanding of its quality,” Nichelsen said. “We’ve learnt that in the past when we looked at data which we thought might be useful for a marketing campaign but it wasn’t.”

3: Recycle your data

Nichelsen said data is a reusable resource that “you get more out of over time” and old data can be rejuvenated.

2: Data and knowledge

“Having lots of data doesn’t solve business problems and reports aren’t knowledge,” Nichelsen said. “You should regularly review where you are and the value you are getting from data.”

1: Get your data experts together

“The real power of data comes from end to end team work and common goals,” Nichelesen said

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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