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Business Intelligence Strategy in the Recession

It’s difficult not to notice that the global economy has thrown a recession and we've all been invited.  
So until we have some money to spend, we'll stop looking at our data, right?

Although its true that in today’s economy, a lot of the multi-million dollar business intelligence projects are going to be cancelled or delayed, cheap data analysis is possible.

You just have to create cost effective data marts.

How can you reduce the cost of data analysis, cut your reporting costs, and avoid expensive business intelligence mega-projects?

Focus your efforts on Actionable Analysis

Before specifying a report or dashboard or data mart ask yourself “what action will I take based on what I see in this analysis, and how will that action move the business forward?”   If it’s not clear that some action can be taken based on the results, chances are there are better uses for the cash you’re planning on spending to get the report.  Target cost analysis first.  Reducing costs shows an immediate, verifiable return on investment.

Reduce the data scope as much as possible

Only analyze what you have to, and keep an eye on bang for your buck.  Don’t spend 80% of your budget cleaning up 5% of the data unless you really believe that data has something to teach you.  Eliminate dimensions from your data marts- really ask yourself if a dimension in the star schema is “nice to have” or critical.  Just because the data is there does not mean its worth the effort.

Reduce the report scope as much as possible

Don’t build reports no-one, or only few people use.   Consider providing an export function, so people can create their own reports in spreadsheets, rather than have hundreds of reports included in the scope of the project.

Use Desktop, Snapshot and One-time Analysis rather than full blown server based scheduled systems

There is a huge cost difference between a one-time analysis of a static data set, and a dynamic system that is able to load data daily or monthly from a transactional system automatically.  In many applications, it's the first analysis that gives you the insight.  Spending a lot of money to have the data mart refresh every day might not make sense if the first run gives you the majority of the information you need.

Obviously, its impossible to know where the insights really are- if we knew that we wouldn't have to do so much analysis.  But when resources are tight, you have to pick and choose.

Use the Datamartist Beta to create personal data marts on your desk

Sorry, I just couldn’t resist-  Datamartist is going to create a whole new price point for data marts.  If your pet business intelligence project has been delayed or canceled thanks to the economic meltdown, give Datamartist a try.  You’ll find its remarkable what can be done without programming, servers, or expensive consultants.  Once you've created a data set, you can export the information to your favorite data analysis or visualization tool and find those dollars to save.

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