By Stephanie Baskerville on December 01, 2016

Top Tips for Building Microsoft Business Intelligence Project Strategy


If you opened this blog, you are probably aware of the benefits of business intelligence (BI) and wonder where and how to start your BI project. If you want to know more about the BI benefits, please refer to our previous blog post: Business Intelligence – Uncut Diamond to Refined Diamond. This post will introduce you to many benefits of BI including faster, more accurate analysis and reporting, better business decision making, reduced external IT costs, etc.

Your BI project journey – 5 steps to follow

Alright, so you now know the benefits of BI and are ready to start planning your BI project. Implementing the right BI platform and tools requires a adequate planning. Here are 5 steps you can follow when starting your BI journey.

  1. Structure your BI implementation project
  2. Identify the requirements for your BI platform
  3. Choose your BI platform
  4. Implement your BI platform
  5. Measure the value of your BI solution

Follow us throughout our blog series as the next several blog posts will explore each step in detail.


3 tips when structuring your BI project 

When you are about to start your BI project journey, we recommend you start with structuring your BI implementation project. This step is crucial because it can help you avoid many common pitfalls that can cause a BI project to fail. Few common pitfalls include inadequate planning, absence of executive support during or after project, poor alignment of BI with organization goals, and absence of success measurement. To avoid these, here are 3 tips:

1. Build a BI project team

  • Document the managers and sponsors of the project.
  • Identify resourcing, including constraints.
  • Plan how critical business stakeholders will be engaged and identify how their buy-in and support will be maintained.

2. Identify your BI project’s objective and scope

  • Document the project timeline.
  • Be specific to business units impacted Identify opportunities and risks.
  • Outline the steps and outcomes of each stage of the project.
  • Define what success looks like.

3. Know your BI project budget

  • If possible, document the budget for the project and the approved investment budget.


Do you have the right BI tools and strategy?

If you already have some BI tools in place and are planning for a new, improved BI strategy, consider what BI-related problems currently exist throughout all aspects of the enterprise. Here are some common problems we have witnessed:

  • A large number of inaccurate business decisions made using BI tools.
  • The increasing inability to adapt legacy applications and systems to meet new BI needs.
  • The proliferation of BI tools and redundant BI tools, e.g. applications with overlapping capabilities and similar purposes.
  • Large number of data stores; multiple “sources of truth” for the same piece of data.
  • Disengaged, unsatisfied, and unproductive business end users.


6 additional tips for you when building your BI project strategy

4. Help your business users utilize BI tools

Business users are becoming more tech-savvy and self-service oriented. IT needs to refocus its efforts on helping the business plan its information strategy, provide the business with more self-service tools, and continuously govern data to ensure high data-quality.

5. Introduce use cases to your business users

Utilize use cases to facilitate the discussion between IT and business users. Use cases bridge communication gaps between IT and the business by outlining how specific tasks and scenarios map to different BI capabilities.

6. Continuously educate BI stakeholders

All BI stakeholders should have influence over when IT should reassess BI tools. Continuously educate BI stakeholders on the BI market space. Investing time in educating the business now saves more time later in trying to explain BI tools and the associated benefits.

7. Right tools for right users

Limit the modeling of BI tool benefits to an indicative business case. Although investing in BI tools can significantly reduce tie to information (and therefore costs), the largest benefits is from the insights obtained from accurate information. These insights are invaluable.

8. Empower your end users

Empower end users throughout this project by allowing them to help IT select BI capabilities. This will help drive user adoption, satisfaction, and productivity since they will be working with these BI capabilities closely.

9. Learn to embrace Microsoft Office 365 

Integrate Excel with BI platforms to improve productivity and limit data duplication. Ensure Excel is only used to analyze data, not to create new data sets.


Let’s map your BI project journey together!

Business Intelligence software is no longer a luxury or niche. Organizations of every size and across all industries are taking advantage of the benefits of BI. Having an appetite for BI does not mean that the initiative will be an automatic success. It is imperative that organizations take the time to select and implement a BI suite that aligns with business goals and fosters end-user adoption.

Our team of BI experts will be happy to help you start your BI journey. Contact us today. We will be happy to discuss how we can help you!

Published by Stephanie Baskerville December 1, 2016