When is the best time to introduce business intelligence (BI) solutions in a company?

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I can’t remember how many times this question came up during meetings and conversations over the years.

When managers for instance, want to introduce BI solutions for sales optimization they often think that they’ll have to get through a series of steps to finally get there.

« We’ll get to the BI later. We need to prioritize other projects first. »

Here are some examples of those so called projects to “prioritize”:

We need to start by identifying our main strategic, tactical and operational goals to find the right key performance indicators.

We can’t build a dashboard with our current system; we need to implement a new ERP system that will be ready in “6 months” and allow optimization at all levels.

We need to optimize our current ERP system: “my IT guy tells me we only use 10% of all possible functionalities”.

And the list could and usually goes on and on…

That being said, let’s return to our initial question: When is the best time to introduce BI solutions in a company?

If it is not already done; in one word: NOW!


Because you already have strategic, tactical and operational goals

You need to assess your current goals’ achievement, even if they will change with time. A BI project will push you to define and follow your goals in the future to maximize your profits.



Because the longer you wait to implement the tools you need to measure your goals’ attainment, the higher the risk of not being able to attain them

The conception of dashboards and definition of your Key Performance Indicators aren’t technological actions. They are strategic in nature; which are essential to the life of a company.

Because a dashboard is not set in stone!

If you have a good dashboard set with the data available today; it won’t be a problem to set it from new data sources tomorrow. If you’ve been told otherwise, let me know…

Because the data you have today is a real gold mine, even if it is incomplete and/or imperfect

Even if the planning module of your ERP system is not fully functional today you have to analyse your sales the best way possible right now to optimize them.

BI solutions must be implemented with Agile methods and small steps throughout the life of the company. They will allow you to extract the full value of your data today.

Stacking data you are not using strategically, tactically or operationally is like building cars only to park them in a field. Ask GM.


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