How Do You Evaluate the Performance of BI?

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MeasureBIPerformanceLearn how to manage the performance of the BI environment to make more informed decisions based on real data.

Business intelligence, or BI, is used to evaluate how a business is performing, which gives businesses the opportunity to make decisions without relying on “gut feelings” or “hunches.” BI software programs take clean data sets and quickly perform analysis on this data so that decisions can be made efficiently. These programs are a vital part of any business, but how do you determine if the BI environment itself is effective?

Despite the fact that these environments can help speed up the decision making process, businesses do still rely on intuition to make vital decisions, and often distrust the analysis churned out by these platforms. While intuition shouldn’t be ignored, it does help if data and analysis backs up these “gut feelings.” You need to run your business by the numbers, and that includes your BI environment, platforms, and apps.

Your end goal is to make sure that all your relevant employees have access to this information so they can assist in the decision-making process to the best of their abilities. If your BI environment isn’t as effective as it could be, fewer of your key employees will access the information needed via the platform. The solution, then, is to find a way to evaluate the effectiveness of your BI environments. How can you truly know if you are using a high-performing BI environment? To evaluate efficiency, it helps to know the following information:

  • Whether or not the end users of the platform or IT create the reports and queries.
  • How long it takes the user to access the relevant information.
  • Whether or not all features of the platform are being used and if not, which are being wasted?
  • Do any patterns exist concerning who uses BI? Evaluate all users, departments, or aspects of your business that utilize this reporting.
  • How long does each of your users view the reports? Once they view the reports, what do they do with them? Do they view them in the platform or upload them to Excel? If your environment is effective, you’ll see evidence that the users are doing more than just viewing the data.

In other words, what would compel users to fully utilize the capabilities of the BI environment? There are two elements that cause users to fully accept the platform. First, information needs to be highly accessible:

  • Reports must be relevant and help position the user to succeed.
  • The user should be able to access all relevant data concerning any issues that may develop as quickly as possible.
  • Data should be recovered quickly to facilitate prompt resolution of any problems.
  • Data should be clean and accurate.
  • Users must know how to fully utilize the BI platform.

The other item to focus on is to evaluate the usability of the platform itself:

  • Whether or not the platform is overly technical, which can decrease usability.
  • How interactive the environment is and whether or not users can easily manipulate, view, and analyze the reports.
  • Whether or not users are confident that the data is secure.
  • How quickly users can access reports. If it takes any more than a few minutes, that’s way too long!
  • Can users access the data and reports whenever they need, including on mobile devices?

When it comes to business intelligence, it is important to evaluate how effective the platform is. Since your goal is to find one that is accessible, easy to use, and effective, it helps to take a step back to make sure that the BI environment is doing its job well. Remember that some BI vendors do offer usage reporting as part of their packages or as an add-on feature. These reports will help speed the BI platform evaluation process considerably.

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This post was written by Pat Hennel