It's Time to Reinvent Your BI Strategy

Four trends are changing the face of business intelligence, according to a new report by Forrester Research. Here's the analyst's take on the shift along with ten suggested best practices for forging an up-to-date strategy.
10 Best Practices for Kicking Off Your BI Strategy

Don't let multiple components, vendor categories, requirements to integrate, pressure to watch out for multiple trends, and emerging technologies discourage you. Putting together a successful BI strategy and implementation requires more art than science. The following best practices can help to avoid common pitfalls.

1. Choose a senior C-level (non-IT) executive to sponsor and champion data governance organization — someone who understands that without measurement (meaning, BI) there is no management.

2. Proceed to creating and empower data governance and data stewardship organization.

3. Conduct analysis of the current state as a starting point of the BI strategy journey.

4. Define logical and physical data requirements, which will serve as the basis and will drive the rest of the BI architecture.

5. Identify all types of users involved in the BI initiative. Remember: Not all users are created equal.

6. If appropriate to your organization culture and environment, start with an industry-standard analytical data model.

7. Make sure that all BI stack components (not just the obvious ones) are addressed in your BI strategy vision and architecture.

8. Pick a reputable systems integrator partner with extensive BI strategy and implementation background.

9. Make sure that the strategic road map is divided into "baby step" tasks, with concrete deliverables no more than a few weeks apart.

10. Pick high-value, low-cost, low-complexity targets for the first few iterations to ensure initial success and momentum.

For Forrester's in-depth advice on carrying out these ten best practices, with detailed charts on architectural pros and cons and decision latency, download the free, 18-page report (registration required).

Boris Evelson is a Principal Analyst at Forrester Research and a leading expert on business intelligence. For more information, visit