A common question we receive is, “How do I sell my boss on purchasing a Business Intelligence solution?” This question most often arises once a company has reached 100 or more employees, especially because business intelligence being a hot topic these days.
Thankfully, we can answer that question. However, there is one caveat to our answer: Never purchase a BI tool just because your company is a certain size or just because you think you need it. Business intelligence solutions often come with a huge monetary investment, but they also require investments in training, staffing, and overall company-wide adoption (unless, of course, you’re using Yurbi).
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here is how to both determine if your company needs a BI solution and how to pitch it to your company’s leadership.
Business Intelligence solutions should align with your core business objectives and make your business processes more efficient. Before you go out and throw dollars at a BI solution, do the “constraint theory test.”
First, think about all of the processes within each department at your company – sales, marketing, technology, human resources, finance, and so on. Then, identify the constraints or hindrances within each process. Once you have identified the constraints within your company’s processes, take time to evaluate the sources of each constraint.
Once you’ve identified the sources of your businesses’ constraints, evaluate whether a BI tool could help. Business Intelligence solutions really shine when constraints are caused by a lack of communication or a lack of data.
For example, one of your sales constraints may be that your sales team is being blindsided by unhappy customers because they discover that the customers have open support tickets that haven’t been resolved. This is a clear fix with more data – if the sales team had more up-to-date data about support tickets, they would have been able to resolve the issues in a timely manner. This lack of data could be resolved with BI reporting or dashboards or even automated notifications when their customers open new tickets. To simply give the sales team access to the Help Desk system involves costs of additional licenses and training on how to use it. That extra cost, time, and complexity will probably cause sales reps more frustration versus solve the constraint. A user-friendly web and mobile based BI solution could do the trick perfectly.
Another use case would be a constraint with inventory shortages. If your inventory department is consistently running out of stock, having a more consistent and up-to-date flow of incoming orders would be incredibly helpful, which could also be solved with a BI solution.
Before pursuing a BI solution, make sure you aren’t able to resolve the constraints with tools you already have, such as Microsoft Excel. However, don’t over rely on Microsoft Excel or get held hostage by what we call the “Wizard of Excel.” Once your requirements grow into needing data in real-time, requiring data access for multiple users, or having a need for data security, a Business Intelligence solution would be a viable option.
Once you identify the specific use cases with which a Business Intelligence solution can help, start crunching numbers and really identify the ROI of a BI tool. If you can show how a Business Intelligence solution will help your company run more efficiently through the research you’ve done, BI becomes a no-brainer for company leadership (assuming you then do your due diligence to select the right solution. Hint: Yurbi may be perfect).
Don’t get sucked into the hype of BI without truly evaluating whether it will positively help your core business. Focus on your business first and use BI to drive your business forward, not off the road.
If a BI tool is able to resolve constraints with your business, make sure to calculate the time and cost savings the tool will provide. And if you still run into issues selling your boss on BI, invite him or her to chat with us or join us for a demo – we’re pretty big believers in Business Intelligence.