5 common Business Intelligence implementation challenges

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Written by Simon Porri

The core concept of business intelligence often refers to the analysing of data to extract actionable insights that help both business leaders and employees make informed decisions. More and more companies are adopting BI tools, with the market valued at $20.516 billion in 2020. In fact, 54% of business leaders consider cloud BI either critical or very important.

Business intelligence has numerous benefits, from faster reporting, enhanced operational efficiency and better informed strategic decision making, to name a few. However, implementing BI tools is often the first hurdle that businesses must overcome before they can start reaping the benefits. The difficulty of implementation depends on a variety of factors (industry, training, etc.) and can be particularly challenging in the context of franchise management, which involves complex and sometimes fractured hierarchies. 

In this article, we’re going to take a look at five common business intelligence implementation challenges and examine how you can begin to overcome each of them. Let’s get started.

Suggested reading: If you’d like to learn more about franchise management, check out our blog — 5 Best Franchise Management Software Tools in 2021

Challenge 1: Choosing the right software

The first step in the BI implementation process is making sure that you choose the right BI software to match the specific needs of your operation. This can be tricky as there is an ever-increasing number of solutions available in the BI market.

Strategies to help:

Understanding your own requirements is essential. Goals will vary from business to business, and franchise networks in particular will have very specific targets. Unless you know what you want to achieve, finding the right solution will be almost impossible. 

Once you have identified your key goals, there are a number of factors that you should also consider as a starting point. These include:

  1. The integration process with your current systems
  2. Your business strategy
  3. Whether or not you can access the right tools
  4. The level of security you need
  5. The access you require

Make sure you spend ample time researching multiple solutions to identify the best software provider before making a decision. Finding a provider that offers continued support during implementation and beyond is recommended to ensure your business is able to fully utilise its software for positive outcomes.  

Compare the features of different tools and determine which ones will solve your current data analytics issues. Make sure that the software you choose is easy to use, scalable, and allows business users to visualise data.

Challenge 2: Spiraling costs

BI tools and software can be costly, and this can make getting buy-in across your organisation to implement BI a challenging process. However, the real cost of acquiring a solution isn’t just the purchasing price. You also need to consider the cost of other factors related to implementation, such as training and scaling.

While cost is one of the biggest business intelligence implementation challenges, the right BI solution can yield a significant return on investment (ROI) that’s well worth the initial cost. This comes in the form of:

  • Better strategic planning
  • Reduced costs through automation of time-consuming tasks
  • Increased revenue via better customer engagement, retention, and satisfaction
  • Development of a competitive edge

However, if your initial implementation goes wrong costs will only escalate further, with backtracking, new strategies and alternative solutions all required.

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Strategies to help:

Take the time to compare software prices and request quotes. But keep in mind that the most affordable solution is not necessarily the best choice. Likewise, it’s not worth investing in an expensive tool if you don’t need most of its features. The most important thing to consider is the ROI your organisation will get, specifically how much operational efficiency, customer service, data accessibility, and revenue will improve.

Getting the help you need from your provider to ensure that your implementation process and rollout go smoothly the first time around is crucial, and will save your business money in the long run.

Challenge 3: Training

Even with a well-defined BI strategy, a lack of technical skills can impede the implementation of business intelligence software, making it harder to get buy-ins and preventing your system from functioning to its full capacity. 

Without tailored, ongoing and relevant training, some BI tools will always be underutilised. As a result, you won’t see much, if any, improvement in your business outcomes and your ROI will be non-existent. That’s why it’s essential to try and anticipate as best as you can how much training will be needed in the early stages of your implementation.

Strategies to help:

Some BI tools have steeper learning curves than others. Look for a user-friendly platform, one with an intuitive interface that’s easy to use. This will allow the people who really need to access and understand the insights BI tools deliver to drive improvements within your organisation without intensive training or extensive prior knowledge.

It’s also important to establish whether or not your provider offers staff training as part of their services, and if so the additional cost this will incur. Also, try to gather learning material from your provider and make this accessible across your organisation.

Challenge 4: Identifying KPIs

For BI to yield results, you need an array of appropriate KPIs you can use to measure both the progress and the performance of your business or franchise network. Identifying the correct KPIs can be a challenge — some businesses make the mistake of following trends or using unhelpful metrics that aren’t always relevant and may even lead to poor decisions.

That’s why it’s so important to be clear on how each KPI aligns with your business goals. Not all KPIs will be relevant to your business, and focusing on the wrong KPIs can have a detrimental impact in the long run.

Strategies to help:

Fundamentally, the key to identifying the appropriate KPIs is understanding your own goals as a business or franchise, and employing software that helps you focus on actionable insights. Industry-leading BI strategic partners will work with you to identify KPIs, another reason why it’s important to consider your options when looking to implement BI.

Further reading: If you want to read more about the importance of KPIs, take a look at our blog — Actionable Insights: KPIs and outcome-oriented business planning 

Challenge 5: Complex reporting

BI can be very technically focused, making it hard to understand and deploy successfully. Sometimes only IT staff or data analysts can navigate the data stored in data warehouses and use the complex BI tools to extract the key actionable insights. This makes reporting a long and complex process.

Unfortunately, business-level users who can benefit from the insights BI tools provide don’t always get the access to them they need. Without giving the correct access to the people who are best placed to utilise these insights and drive positive outcomes your BI tools and software may never reach their full potential, and ultimately fail to represent any meaningful return on investment.  

Strategies to help:

Visualisation of data is key. Providing all users with simple and customisable dashboards with the most important KPIs displayed upfront will simplify processes and allow access to the people who really need it. You should also ensure your chosen BI solution provides your business with actionable insights that contextualise data and help to guide your next steps, turning data into outcomes.

Support for your implementation 

BI adoption comes with a set of challenges, with choosing a provider being the most important one. The right partner will not only provide a BI platform that fits your needs, but will also be on hand to assist as you look to overcome the implementation challenges discussed above.

At Loop, we have extensive experience working with franchises and across industries. Our customers use Loop for its many advantages, such as customisable dashboards and actionable KPIs. They also benefit from the assistance we provide regarding data analytics and the identification of KPIs to facilitate effective BI implementation. Book a demo with Loop today and see what it’s like in action.

Suggested reading: For more on the future of business intelligence, take a look at our blog — 6 Business Intelligence Trends to Watch for in the New Decade

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