As organizations continue to adopt agile and lean methodologies, business intelligence has become a critical component in optimizing data management strategies that provide valuable insights for informed decision-making.
In today's world, very few organizations aren't leveraging the power of agile and lean methods within some of their software development teams. Not only is agile popular amongst IT departments it's being applied, but agile is being incorporated into all aspects of many businesses. This trend began in 2001 and has steadily grown since then.
Data Management is a crucial process component, and it promotes a pragmatic, streamlined approach to data management that fits into the rest of an IT process. Consequently, there is a need to optimize a Data Management strategy within the overall workflow of organizational processes. Disciplined Agile Data Management does just that evolutionarily and collaboratively, offering concrete data management strategies that provide the right data to the right people at the right time.
What is an agile mindset?
At the basic level, Agile refers to continuous and incremental improvement through small and frequent releases. The term Agile data is commonly associated with software development as a project management methodology and breaks down large projects into weekly "sprints."
Rather than forming a business intelligence strategy that you plan to roll out in six months, an agile approach would break down those 6 months' worth of work and organize them into weekly lists of tasks to build on. These short increments are often referred to as sprints.
An agile mindset allows for constant feedback from your business staff and creates shorter development cycles. If one aspect is not meeting the business need, it can be identified and remedied quickly before spending too much time and effort on something that doesn't work. If you use an agile approach, the collaboration will be at the core of your team's work to ensure the deliverables are met. As a result, you'll be able to see results quickly and gain momentum in your overall business intelligence strategy versus other traditional approaches.
An agile data mindset emphasizes the following:
- Open collaboration, both within the product team and with stakeholders
- Rapid iteration that delivers small incremental usable items of value
- Continuous inspection and improvement to improve the team's velocity over time
- Empowering the department team to self-manage
Key Factors in Adopting an agile mindset for BI
1. Keep your eyes on the big picture
You may have an immediate problem that you need to solve and want to use BI to get there. This may work as a short-term solution. However, you may also find that you put a lot of time and energy into addressing one issue, only to find that it will not help with future problems.
Part of your business intelligence strategy should focus on solutions that can answer many questions over time. In addition, your business intelligence should be adaptable as your company grows and goals change.
Most importantly, your business intelligence should align with your overall business strategy. Whether you are looking to improve operations, increase sales, or provide more efficient service to your customers, your business intelligence analytics should be able to identify the relevant data for your goals.
2. Involve the right people
No matter the size of your business intelligence team, you need to involve a group willing to put changes into practice.
Your team should include several roles:
- People who are experts at using tools to retrieve and display data
- People with the right insights to interpret the data
- People who can support the organization by putting the data into practice
Your organization may need training across multiple departments. Your business staff has to understand that the data will help them make better business decisions. If you maintain a strong relationship between your business staff and your business intelligence team, you will have the most success from your business intelligence strategy.
Depending on the size of your organization, some of these roles may overlap, or you may also find that you need outside business intelligence consulting.
3. Identify the pain points
You may have business staff that already know what data they need to make informed decisions within their departments. They may be manually compiling data in Excel or preparing reports independently. Unless this is brought to the attention of the business intelligence team, no improvements can be made. The BI team should talk with leaders within each department and find out what questions exist today and how BI solutions can help.
If the "workarounds" that staff use are needed for their jobs or part of overall company goals, they should be implemented into the BI strategy. These one-off methods can be replaced with more robust analytics and reporting.
Successful implement and optimize BI Solutions
Incorporating agile into your organization's practice may sound challenging, but getting started may be easier than you think. The first step is reviewing your current process and identifying how to break down large projects into smaller ones. Next, review the team and roles that support each task and begin scheduling weekly meetings to keep everyone on the same page.
As each project progresses, an agile approach allows you the flexibility to adjust, change course, and optimize at all stages as you need. Export support can also help make agile a reality for your team.
Get the right business intelligence experts in your corner
Our team of BI experts at WCI will design and develop systems to help you leverage the power of your data:
- Stay proactive using real-time data
- Empower your team with easy-to-use dashboards
- Access your data anywhere with mobile intelligence solutions
- Make smarter decisions with predictive data models
- Stay productive with fewer interruptions and quicker answers
- All on the best platforms and technology for you (including cloud business intelligence on AWS, Azure, Power BI, and more…)
Get started today
WCI is a business intelligence consulting company with a team of experts based 100% in the USA. If you're ready to implement agile and begin working smarter, WCI is here to help. Talk with our experts today to learn more.