Five Ways to Optimize BI and BA

1. Analyze and map business processes to spot opportunities. Effective BI and BA are multi-dimensional. IT must let business managers drive the process and focus on building systems flexible enough to meet the organization?s needs, says Kamlesh Mhashilkar, head of BIPM Services at Tata Consultancy Services.

See Also: Riding the Information Wave

2. Focus on the solution and not the vendor. Functionality is everything. In many cases, an organization might require multiple products from multiple vendors. It?s critical to ensure that data can flow where it?s needed, as it?s needed.

3. Build dashboards and interfaces that streamline and simplify processes. Usability equals results. Arm managers and others with the information they need in a convenient, easily digestible form.

4. Include external data, including Web analytics and social networking feeds. Organizations benefit by plugging in all sorts of data to ?view relationships in new and intriguing ways,? says Deloitte consultant John Lucker. Overlaying internal and external data can identify performance gaps, as well as opportunities.

5. Revisit systems and BI/BA processes regularly. PwC consultant David Patton emphasizes the need to continually tweak and adjust systems, by adding new data elements and combining them in different ways. The key, he says, ?is to stay focused on spotting value.?