How to Implement a Business Intelligence Solution


I have implemented BI solutions for different industries. Few of my implementations have been in the

Pharmaceutical,Financials,Event management, Retail  and Recruiting.

Every organization and every industry is different but more or less the steps to implement a Business intelligence Solution remain the same.

Here i want to share what I learned during my experience.

Before I start, let me define Business Intelligence

What is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence (BI) is the set of techniques and tools for the transformation of raw data into meaningful and useful information for business analysis purposes.

The goal of BI is to allow for the easy interpretation of data.

Do you need a Business Intelligence Solution?

You need a BI solution if you answer ‘Yes’ to the following questions:

  1. You have data and need to convert data into useful information. Every organization have tons of data but having data is not enough. It is important to convert this data into useful, decision helping information.
  2. The need to integrate data from multiple applications or data sources. Organizations have data arriving from different sources. It is always cumbersome to integrate all the data and get a combined view of information.
  3. Lack of visibility into the company’s operations, finances, and other areas i.e. organization’s performance at a glance.
  4. The need to answer business related questions quickly and accurately. E.g. how sales is performing in the current year as compared to previous 3 years
  5. Current reporting application is IT centric. Involves longer development time to answer business questions. In today’s world the power should be in the hands of the business users.
  6. Hard to get single version of the truth. Different data sources show different picture of the KPI.
  7. Lack of data insights to make informed decisions.

Organization size doesn’t matter

Organization of any size can benefit from a BI solution. As BI technology progressed, BI solution providers are in position to provide cost-effective deployment and licensing options.

Qlik has different implementation scenarios based on the organization size. Qlik provides Small business implementation,Enterprise implementation and so on. Qlik implementations are scale-able i.e. organizations can start with smaller implementation and  as the requirement of the user group increase, you can add more licenses and server capacity. Smallest implementation which i have personally done involved just 5 users.

Steps to Implement a BI solution using Qlik

  1. Identify KPI’s.Identify the business area where you want to implement BI solution. Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Within an organization, business area can be Quality control,Finance,Supplier management,Sales force and so on.
  2. Identify data sources.Data may be coming from different applications, excel, text files, relational data bases or a data warehouse. QlikView can source data from any application. Advantage of QlikView is that it can load huge amounts of data. The associative power of Qlik engine can make the data integration seamless.
  3. Application selection.Identify different applications that can provide BI solutions and satisfy your BI requirements. Gartner report is a good start. Gartner places Qlik as the leader in Business Intelligence and Analytic platforms.
  4. Seeing is believing.Invite various vendors to do a demo or seeing is believing session. Seeing is believing session is a ” no obligation” Qlik capability session. This session can be done  using your sample data to show what Qlik can do with your data. Seeing is believing session can be done onsite or remote.
  5. Create sample data.This data can be used by the BI vendors to create a useful demo for you. To create a useful sample data, use your existing data, change any key field or information.Change figures and numbers by multiplying them by  a random number. QlikView desktop also comes with a easy-to-use functionality where you can scramble your data.
  6. Match requirements.Create use cases to check if the application matches your requirements. As BI solution involves data transformation also, understand if the tool selected has the data transformation capabilities. QlikView comes with very strong in-build scripting engine. Extensive data modeling and data transformation can be done within QlikView.You can transform data,create star schema by utilizing QlikView application.
  7. Cost evaluation.Understand the cost of the software, server, licensing and training costs.
  8. Evaluate yourself. Get evaluation licenses so that you and your team can get hands-on and see if the application really works for you. QlikView desktop is free download. Download QlikView and start by loading your data.
  9. Select a BI Consulting partner.Once you have selected the BI application, now it is time to look for a specialized BI consulting partner that can help in implementing the selected application.
  10. Deploy.Gather more specific requirements from your business users and get started on the path of gaining business insights and making informed decisions.

Interested in learning about QlikView:

What is QlikView

QlikView Licenses

Data modeling in QlikView

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