How to Determine if a BI solution is right for your Business

How to determine if a BI solution is right for you (2)

BI solutions are on the minds of most business leaders. And for good reason. BI, or Business Intelligence, solutions can be extremely useful in helping companies round out Dynamics AX implementations, transition away from native and custom AX SSRS reports, or even boost general sales and overall in-house efficiency.

As most business-minded individuals also know, there are several questions that go beyond simply ‘what are the benefits?’ that need to be asked when deciding whether BI solutions are right for you.

To help, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most important questions we feel business leaders should ask when determining if a BI solution is truly the right fit.

BI solutions from a high level

Asking what BI can do for the entirety of your company is the key when viewing a BI solution from the top down.

The first thing to understand about BI is that there is no “standard” BI implementation.  There are many off-the-shelf tools available for Dynamics AX which can be useful, but these tools often serve as mere starting points in a company’s BI journey.

Having access to data via BI, for example, often won’t quench users’ thirst for information, but rather prompt them to ask more and deeper questions about their business; this is something healthy that we encourage as it highlights one of BI’s greatest attributes.

BI solutions from a sales perspective

When we look at BI from a sales perspective, the questions we encourage businesses to consider begin to get much more specific. Some of these questions include:

  • What information do your salespeople and managers need in order to improve sales?
  • How do you prioritize your customers and items to sell?
  • How do you track your team’s performance?

Additionally, we want salespeople to be better enabled to make more and better deals:

  • What reports cost you the most time to create/modify on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?
  • How do you inform your team of their performance?
  • How do your users/team look at their data?

Essentially, the purpose of asking these sales questions is to make a business case for implementing a BI solution as well as lead businesses to the right solution. While a BI implementation is on a smaller scale than an AX implementation, depending on your desired approach you may have to commit to some non-trivial licensing fees.

BI solutions from a finance perspective

A disciplined finance team will require any business to rationalize their desire for a BI tool. The initial questions one may have from a financial perspective are:

  • Will there be any additional hardware or infrastructure requirements based on the BI tools that are selected?
  • What might the licensing and maintenance requirements be for certain BI tools?
  • Will a BI solution include the hiring of a consulting team to help with the implementation? If so, what does their support model look like?

These questions are difficult to answer specifically, but it is prudent to make some baseline assumptions. A Microsoft Dynamics AX Partner should be able to help guide businesses through this and provide insight on options.

BI solutions from a management perspective

Some second-level questions that should be answered include all those that envision what their business would look like in a post-BI solutions environment. For example:

  • After the implementation is done, who in the company is going to own the BI solution? How much of their time will be spent on this?
  • Who at the company is going to be trained on the technical aspect of cube creation?
  • How much will that training cost?
  • Does it make more sense to outsource some or all of the cube creation?

If and when a business decides that their cost-benefit analysis shows BI solutions to be a sound investment, it is then time to put together a BI implementation team. Check back for more on that topic!

Do You Have A Question About BI? Let us know below!

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