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Tools like Power BI and Tableau promise you fast success with your ability to make smart decisions, view accurate forecasting for your business, and the ability to quickly analyze your company’s data across multiple platforms. With your fun new tools, your entire company has just one location where you can make queries and get snappy reports and analytics. Asked and answered in a single location? Check. No more Excel spreadsheets? Yes, please. Right?

And yet, implementing these BI tools can be an adventure fraught with pitfalls unless you know the lay of the land. In fact, according to Gartner, the failure rate for new BI initiatives to meet enterprise objectives hovers right around 70 percent. But why? By recognizing a few of the pitfalls other companies have endured with their own BI project implementations, you can more painlessly implement your own tool in a way that will yield huge results for your company, according to Jason Hendrix, Director of Commercial Operations with Teksouth.

Problem 1: Your team’s failure to focus on the BUSINESS value

Jason tells us that the first mistake many companies make when implementing a data visualization platform is expecting the tool to make assumptions for them about what reporting needs are most important. There’s no doubt that implementing a tool that ties disparate databases together is the road to nirvana for CEO’s and CTO’s; however, many companies can get so caught up in the technical details that they fail to pay enough attention to the REAL issue: making determinations about what’s most important to measure. Data outputs from these glamorous, exciting tools need to be mindful of their target market. Often, that’s a board member who’s not uber familiar with your processes, or sales reps who need to be fed bites of easily digestible data packets. Users need to be able to view, digest, and extrapolate data quickly, without having to spend hours sorting through mounds of data. With that in mind, smart companies are taking a collaborative approach to pre-designing the types of dashboards and one-sheeters they’d most like to see. The more simple and intuitive the data output, the broader the acceptance and success of the tool will be. Some concentrated work in advance of the implementation by a strong Business Analyst can ensure that everyone enters the implementation of these data visualization tools with the same end goal in mind.

Problem 2: Assuming Power BI and Tableau are “plug and play” software products

No doubt that the IT staff you employ are skilled at handling their respective areas of your company’s technology. They’re adept at all kinds of techy projects, but learning curves associated with applications like Power BI and Tableau require additional time spent understanding process and effective data warehousing. Jason Hendrix reminds us, “New versions of BI tools are released every month. The best way to accomplish something in the tool today can be completely different tomorrow. It’s much more efficient to work with someone who is dedicated to these technologies, rather than tasking an in-house business user who is already working on a dozen other projects.” Building out a proper data warehouse, with live transactional data living separately from reporting data, is critical for ensuring the success of a BI tool. It’s worth bringing in specialized consultants when it comes to solving your data warehouse woes. Think of it as tenderizing and seasoning the New York strip before you throw it on the grill – the flavor is much improved, and prepped to receive the juicy marinade prep, rendering a tastier cut of meat. Such is the process with data visualization tools like Power BI and Tableau – the perfected output is all about the upfront data prep. Bite the bullet, and hire data warehouse experts who can whip your data into shape before leveraging the cool new tools you’ve purchased.

Problem 3: Waiting too long to recognize you may be in over your head

It’s often easy to fixate on the fact that you’ve already invested in your analytics platform, and so now you must just keep rolling that boulder up an ever-growing incline. If you find yourself missing deadlines and relying on your IT staff, thus wasting time tweaking your BI platform to make sense, you may be avoiding the signs of a failed endeavor. At this stage, are you simply hoping to make the best of a bad situation? Drop that boulder now! It’s never too late to take a step back, and make a new plan that organizes your data in a way that makes it easier for these robust BI tools to produce the type of reporting you need and expect.

At Teksouth, our highly skilled staff of data management and BI professionals have solved numerous technical challenges, and are adept at data modeling for BI platforms. The exponential growth of data, high cost of technology, decreasing funds availability, self-service options and diversity of the client users continue to challenge many business entities, but assistance and real-world solutions are available. Teksouth is happy to provide robust reporting and analytics in weeks, instead of months or years. No more shouldering the boulder yourself. Call us today for help at 800.842.1470!

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