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Enabling effective change.

Andy Croghan
21st July 2017

Business Intelligence Implementation

 

BI software is becoming more essential to Manufacturing businesses. Being able to analyse and base decisions on real, trustworthy data is an essential element to gaining a competitive advantage. Being able to easily and correctly translate production data and how they can analyse it to be prepared for the future can also provide a solid platform to kick start or continue growth. Being able to evaluate production processes and recognize new trends is not a new idea and has been in use in some format for some time. However, in the current market, with the rapid economic developments bringing previously unforeseen hurdles it is becoming increasingly vital to analyse not just the traditional data sources but gather data from every corner of your business. This is where a Business Intelligence Implementation comes in.

A Business intelligence implantation sits above any and all existing business systems currently in place. ERP, WMS, Financial Reporting, SCM, CRM and more all collect data from different elements and functions of your business and can be fed into a BI system for collated, detailed and accurate analysis and reporting. Instead of pulling disparate data together manually, with the potential for manual amendments to be made before submission from each area of a business, successfully implemented BI software will remove the doubt from your analysis and decision making.

Here are 5 steps to ensure you are best placed to achieve Business Intelligence implementation success:

 

Involve the right people in your planning

The first step of implementing a BI solution is creating a detailed plan and gathering a team that brings together key stakeholders from every department that will be using this BI solution. Involving these key people from the outset will allow for a clearer understanding of the problems faced by each area of your business. This, in turn, will make sure that your plan is based on an informed and honest view of your current ‘as is’. Business intelligence implementation can be approached from different angles. Your wish might be to gain more insight into production, sales and inventory for example. And you might also want to know whether or not you are producing corresponding to industry standards and ensuring the best quality of service to your customers. But these angles can only provide value by involving the most essential element of any business, its people

 Goals and Targets

The first step is to determine who the stakeholders are, and to formulate the plan. The implementation of BI for manufacturing can be approached from different angles. Your wish might be to gain more insight into production, sales and inventory for example. And you might also want to know whether or not you are producing corresponding to industry standards and ensuring the best quality of service to your customers. Lay out your objectives as carefully as possible and implement them in a plan with clear goals and targets.

2. Cloud or On-Premise infrastructure
Infrastructure for a business’s IT systems has been a hot topic for decades. The Cloud is now offering more and more secure environments but for some businesses, it still isn’t the right fit. An in-house BI infrastructure offers a great amount of flexibility and control over your own BI environment. However, BI Cloud Services are getting more and more popular. The advantages of BI Cloud Services are numerous; you can leverage a proven BI solution and it won’t be necessary to do everything yourself. From the investment perspective, it is essential to understand the capabilities of your own resources and also the costs of implementation. If you have a well resourced, highly skilled IT infrastructure in-house then ensure they are involved in the planning of BI from the outset.

3. Define detail information
The next step is to define which detail information is important together with the stakeholders. Keep the form in which the desired information is available into consideration. You can assess the quality of the information sources based on the quality of the data.

4. Reporting and analysis
Next, you should be choosing the desired reporting or analysis environment. Your production dashboards should be easy to interpret. This may be obvious, but the top-5 characteristics of successful BI reports are: they have to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic and Time-specific).

5. Data Modelling
The data model and the nature of the production reports generated by BI naturally depend on the nature of your production processes. If you produce to customer orders, then the production reports will be organised differently than in the process industry. The design of the data model can be tailored to the individual company by using a Legacy BI solution. The benefit of a BI Cloud Services solution, on the other hand, is that you can utilise existing data models.

 

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