Business Intelligence and Analytics

Good BI and analytics have become the lifeblood of the modern organisation. To understand customer experience really well and to really differentiate yourself against your competitors you have to have the data to analyse this. Companies operating on the internet need especially good online marketing analytics so they can understand what customers want and to personalise their experience. Equally accurate information about the profitability of products and services is essential to setting strategy and this is notoriously difficult to assess in most organisation. Likewise, operational data such as turnaround times and pipeline information is important to the efficient running of an organisation. In addition if you are going to improve an organisation you have to measure this improvement.

Ideally this information should be provided to management in a cleansed consistent format in the form of dashboards or other visual tools. At OPAL Cloud Tech we recommend Power BI as a dashboard reporting tool. It is quick to get up and running, links to Microsoft CRM and most other modern systems and it is simple to use and uses Excel type syntax.

What is Business Intelligence (BI)?

Business intelligence takes raw transactional data from your systems and converts it into something meaningful that management can use to make better business decisions and run the business.

Measures should be unambiguous and there should be a common understanding of what they are and what they mean *. This makes information easier to share and act upon, allowing management to run the business using commonly understood measures and controls.

An important aspect of BI is data visualisation - decision making is supported by collecting facts and figures into a single informative dashboard which summarises data so it is easier to interpret, with the ability to drill down into underlying data as required.

Good BI allows the user to take their own views on data in a consistent way e.g. this might mean allowing users to view data by region and then shape and analyse it. It helps in picking up on trends and spotting business problems that need to be addressed.

* An example of an ambiguous measure might be the ‘number of customers’ – does this include just active customers or does it also include inactive and prospective clients?

BI Insights


BI Insights

Potential BI business benefits…

Potential BI business benefits

End to End BI Solution

End to End BI Solution

BI Governance Famework

BI Governance Framework

An executive steering committee of senior sponsors from each business area meets quarterly to review the BI roadmap, prioritise projects, and secure funding. They set  high level policy and provide guidance. They also provide executive oversight of the initial project.

Data Owners are a key role and they are responsible for defining measures, making sure they are widely understood and ensuring the underlying data is maintained to the highest standards. This is a business and not a technical role and they work with business stakeholders and the BI team.

A working committee with representation from Business Owners, Business Analysts and the BI team meets monthly to define the BI roadmap, hash BI requirements, suggest enhancements and select BI products.

The BI team own the BI Framework and maintain supporting processes and technology. They build and maintain the data warehouse and provide reporting.

Governance Responsibilities

Governance Committee

  • Provide Executive Oversight
  • Issue resolution
  • Nominate Data owners from the business
  • Agree Policy including document retention, privacy and third party usage, DR and security
  • Evolution of the BI capability including feedback on effectiveness and data integrity, identifying areas that need improvement
  • Shaping the information required to run the business with the Data Owners

Data Owners

Master Data Management

  • Oversight of master data i.e. customers, property information, suppliers, services, locations
  • Ensure alignment of data across systems and that there is one master data record for all core data

Data Stewardship

  • Identifying and getting agreement on what data is important to running the business with stakeholders
  • Ownership for data quality including routine data cleansing and enforcing proper record keeping operationally
  • Definitions of measures and terms so there is a common definition and understanding and once source of the truth
  • Coordinate activities between operational business stakeholders, IT and the BI team

Head of BI

  • Evolution of the BI capability
  • Coordinate and run the Governance committee and BI Committee on behalf of the wider business
  • Run the BI Team on a day to day basis
  • Execution of policy including document retention, privacy and third party usage, DR and security
  • Owner of the BI tools, policies and processes
  • Technical oversight and maintenance of the data warehouse, company report suite and dashboards
  • Handling BI comms. and change management

BI Team Members

  • Creating and maintaining the data warehouse against the definitions defined by the BI Working Committee
  • Creating reporting and dashboards as defined by the BI Working Committee
  • Ensuring there is no ambiguity in measures and that these are produced as specified
  • Technical support for data cleansing performed by the business areas
  • Acting as a technical referral point in all matters regarding data and BI