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SAS BI: Does Your Organization Have a BI Strategy?

Submitted by on 2012-05-18 – 6:55 AM

One of the best things about attending the SAS Global Forum is all the brilliant people you get to meet.  Guy Garrett’s presentation about planning a BI strategy was quiet popular and I have to say he was very witty.  Turns out implementing a BI strategy is similar to dating – who knew?  Anyway – here’s a follow up from Guy – I encourage you to sign-up for the Achieve Intelligence monthly newsletter for more goodies.

What is Your BI Strategy?

 I recently had the pleasure of presenting a paper on “How to Create a Business Intelligence Strategy” at the SAS Global Forum in Orlando. I started off by asking for a show of hands if the organisation the audience worked at had a current existing BI strategy. Out of approx 150 people only 20% put up their hands. I then followed this up with a further question: “Keep your hands up if your BI strategy is documented and accessible so that all information consumers at the organisation know what the strategy is.” Three hands remained. 

Check the Roadmap!

Anyone who has kids knows the heart crunching moment when you’ve just started on a long journey and they say “Are we there yet?”. I always say “Check the map!” How do you know if you’ve reached the destination of your BI provision if you don’t have a map, a documented and communicated strategy for providing all your Business intelligence requirements. In our work with clients we’ve identified 5 areas of Business Intelligence Strategy which we recommend corporations and SMEs alike design, document and distribute.

Achieve Intelligence SAS BI Roadmap Strategy

Your BI Strategy Roadmap

This outlines the scope of what is covered by the BI strategy. It should align to the overall corporate strategy and leave a tangible deliverable which can be communicated to the rest of the organisation, so they know the most effective method of BI provision.

Stakeholder Management

This is all about asking the right questions of the right people; identifying the impact and influence of the current reporting systems and identifying the up and coming challenges the organization faces. Crucially the subject matter areas need to be identified as a high level approach to organizing BI.

Architectural Blueprint 

This defines who governs data and reporting information. There is no “one size fits all” approach to providing Business Intelligence. Some organizations create a Business Intelligence Competency Centre, others have teams of MI analysts, others have even less structure – depending on the size and culture of the organization. The question of development methodology and reporting lineage should also be addressed here.

Capability Improvement

Provides the stepping stones to move from “the now” to “the future”. Are the resources you have skilled up? Do business processes need addressing, as often much legacy reporting has built up due to inconsistencies in processes?Investigation should also be made into the current hardware and software capability to ensure they’re fit for purpose.

Implementation Planning 

Finally the implementation of the strategy should highlight timescales, costs and resources to enable the board to determine the size of the implementation project. 

Creating a Business Intelligence strategy shouldn’t be an arduous exercise as long as everyone is on board with the concept of providing accurate and timely data in the most efficient method possible. The implementation of the strategy can vary depending on the size of organization and the cultural appetite for change. 

There is also an argument that once a strategy, any strategy, is created then it’s already out of date, due to constant changes in the organization, the market or the world. This is all the more reason to document and communicate the strategy, so that if things do change you can update the strategy to reflect the latest situation.

More Information

Surely an undocumented strategy is no strategy at all. Further insight into our streamlined BI approach can be found on our website Achieve Intelligence ( Our monthly newsletter also captures thought-leading articles in the data and BI arena. Receive a free subscription at any time by selecting the following link:

Blog Post Author

guy garrett profile picture

Guy Garrett is a freelance contractor and managing director of the Achieve Intelligence network a group of business intelligence  professionals who provide added value to their customers by  providing niche services in the BI arena. With over 20 years SAS experience Guy is able to talk in technical detail as well as operate at the strategic level.

Learn more about how Achieve Intelligence transformed a monthly 150-page document into a business intelligence dashboard that helps the customer find the golden nuggets of information.

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Tricia Aanderud

Director of Data Visualization at Zencos Consulting
Tricia Aanderud is a SAS Business Intelligence and Visual Analytics consultant based in Raleigh, NC who works for Zencos Consulting. She has written several books about SAS, presented papers at many SAS conferences, and has been using SAS since 2001. Contact her for assistance with your next project.
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