Is Your BI System Relevant?


So, you have invested much time and effort in a business intelligence system. Are you getting the ROI that you expected from such a large expenditure? One of the best ways to tell is by measuring your sales force utilization of the solution. Are they actually using all of that clever work? If your utilization is low, it may be time to “reassess” the implementation. What should you be considering?

More Dashboards and Reports are not the solution.

Many companies – with the best of intentions – spend copious time and resources building a report to suit every request and every need of the Field. This effort can lead to many impressive reports, however, it also can cause information overload. Sales reps and managers want it simple. Give them the information they need, in as few reports as possible. Wondering if that beautiful dashboard is actually needed? Try not producing it one week and see if anyone notices.

The Audience is not a group of Analysts.

Field Sales is good at (and paid to) sell. Home office Analytics is the inverse. As impressive as a pivot table can be, asking a sales rep to interpret its content can be expecting too much. Using simple colors, easy to understand graphs/charts and adding targeted, intelligent business alerts can help the rep quickly synthesize the data and see what is most relevant to his business – and get on with the important task of making sales.

Many general purpose BI tools are generic.

One-size-fits-all, enterprise-wide BI systems may please the IT and Finance departments. However, they can take a lot of effort to customize to your unique needs, changing requirements and ongoing support. For example, many companies underestimate what it takes to manage weekly (and sometimes even daily) pharmaceutical data processing requirements, as they lack the expertise in house. The data can be very complicated and nuanced. And, the old saying about measuring what you expect is true. By utilizing a pre-configured solution, a tremendous amount of time is saved up-front and best practices and KPIs are already built in. With ongoing support included, changes can be made quickly by experts whose only job is to meet your business needs.

BI Information is delivered in a vacuum.

Another common mistake made in BI deployment is lack of consideration of the user business process and the questions that naturally arise as part of that process. By thinking about the daily process first, and then designing the system around the process, a much better analytics infrastructure is put in place. Even simple things, like the design flow of dashboards and information tabs, can make a big difference in adoption and utilization. For example, thinking about what goes into a rep’s daily pre-call planning process can lead to a very specific user interface design containing all the key pieces of information – from sales, payer and competitor data to geographic mapping – that the rep needs to know prior to making that call.

Business requirements are constantly changing.

It’s a fact of life. Your competitor launches a new product or gets a formulary status change. You may decide to co-promote a product or launch a new drug. Nothing is ever static and each of these changes requires updating your BI platform to support them. They key to success is having a team in place that can not only quickly adapt to these changes, but understands the implications well enough to provide a well-honed design, with fast turnaround.