Driving Business Success With Value-Based Design
Traditional business intelligence (BI) analytics projects aim to transform a business with fact-based decisions, but they often devolve into a reporting project – delivering those reports to businesses months later. The reports typically focus on publishing a list of business objects (such as orders or invoices), and the end user is expected to turn this information into better decisions. This proves to be complicated for most business users, who end up making decisions on random line items presented without business context. This approach seldom results in meaningful business value for the organization.
VBD focuses on achieving more valuable decisions. This objective involves two components traditional projects miss: providing better decisions means helping end-users make decisions, and more valuable decisions means an increased focus on the most valuable decisions for each end-user. VBD offers a systematic approach to applying business context to analytical systems, enabling end users to effectively and efficiently make decisions that increase value in their roles. This approach helps business users focus on the most critical items for them, and it serves to focus development, deployment and rollout efforts so solutions can be launched quickly and rolled out successfully. This may increase the success of an analytics project by shortening the time to value, increasing adoption and driving greater business impact.
The first step in the VBD process is identifying the most valuable decisions to improve by singling out the most important metric for a given group of people. Known as the Key Value Indicator (KVI), this metric is the one determining if a group leader gets hired, fired or receives a bonus. There are many KVIs for different groups, but the KVI should be important for each group as it is the metric on which the highest-ranking person in an organization gets measured. The KVI for a VP of sales is generally “revenue” or, for a SaaS software company, “new license subscription bookings.” Every group has a metric on which they are primarily measured. So, the KVI should be easy to find.
The KVIs for potential end-users are identified in the second step of the VBD process: building a value map. A value map is an overview of the different groups in an organization and the top KVI(s) by which they are measured. The groups in an organization are typically departments, such as finance, sales and marketing in business units such as North America, EMEA or Asia-Pacific. The specific identity of the groups in the organization will vary, but the basic exercise remains: Find the major groupings in the organization and identify the metric(s) that matter most. Many groups have one primary KVI such as “revenue,” and a secondary KVI, which reflects that the KVI needs to be delivered cost-effectively with limited resources. Each group should be represented in the value map with their KVI.
Once the various KVIs are identified in the value map, the next step is to develop a value plan that outlines the order in which those groups or KVIs will be addressed in the analytics program.
The value plan is an overview of the different KVIs and the sequence in which they will be addressed. It captures the target KVI and group, the group’s leader, the solution deployment status, the KVI target amount, the intended users, impact achieved to date and the solution adoption level. The value plan is a simplified overview of an analytics program and provides a way to discuss the goal and status of each analytics offering in an organization.
Here is how a value plan may look:
Once the value plan is complete, the next goal is to design a solution that delivers against the first KVI.
Paul Staelin is SVP of go-to-market for BI and analytics at Birst, an Infor company. He leads Birst’s go-to-market activities, including product marketing/strategy, business development and demand generation. He is a co-founder of Birst and previously served as its chief customer officer.