PlanAt this time of the year many people sit down and reflect on how their year has gone,  and contemplate the year ahead.  It is at this stage that they start to lay down their  plans for what they want to achieve in the next year.

This is evident in a lot of posts at the moment,  in my mind I can sum them up into ‘What are your plans for BI in 2010’ (in BI I include MDM, Data Quality, Data Governance etc).

So how do we plan for next year?

Where to lay down your plans

During this planning period there is a risk that we focus far to much on the technology, with statements like:

  • What shall we do with the extra features that we haven’t deployed yet?
  • Should we scale up our architecture?
  • Should I upgrade to the latest version of my application?

Now for those of you who are into technology all of this will sound a rather exciting prospect, and it is,  but are these goals going to drive business value?  What will they add to the bottom line?

It is very difficult to put any real business benefit against pure technology projects,  and even more concerning is the fact that a lot of these projects don’t end up driving any value at all.

Our plans and goals need to be set against direct, identifiable business needs.  The only way we can place a benefit value against a technology project,  whether it is  efficiency savings, risk reduction or business operational improvement,  is to align it with a need or pain within the business.

Focus on the Solution

We need to spend time with the business,  ask them what their plans are for 2010 and discuss their challenges from this year.  Through those conversations we can build a needs map, against which we can match the capabilities we provide and start to build up a solution,  or a set of solutions.  The solution is key, you can then go back to the business and sell your solution to them,  as a solution to their problem.

Having the business believe that we are solving a problem for them,  focusing on one that costs them money,  or will help them make money,  is a far easier sell than just a straight technology implementation.

Final word

In conclusion.  Aligning your plans against those of the business is key to having a focused set of goals,  supported by the business, that will deliver value.  And it is that value statement that you can use to support your initiatives in 2010.

So when you are sitting down to plan for 2010,  don’t ask ‘What are our BI goals for 2010?’ ask ‘What can BI do for the business in 2010?’

Plan to deliver solutions!