How Business Intelligence Projects Succeed

We have done hundreds of business intelligence (BI) projects.  Sometimes, we come into the middle of projects that are headed for failure and stakeholders are looking for a magic bullet.  There is no magic but we do have repeatable processes that assure success.

First, how do we measure success for our BI projects?

  • 80%+ daily adoption by stakeholders.
  • 100% or better Return on Investment.

For example, Salesforce (SFDC) is a powerful tool.  However, forecasts generated from SFDC are often wildly inaccurate.  So how do you use SFDC data and Tableau to get accurate forecasts?

We start with data already collected from SFDC and look at forecast accuracy.  Then, by talking to salespeople with high forecast accuracy (and low accuracy), find the factors make forecasts more reliable.  Typically, three to seven factors are the most powerful predictors of an eventual sale to a customer.  Those factors are almost never captured by SFDC.

We add those factors back into SFDC, start collecting data, modeling the results and test with a small group of stakeholders.  If forecast accuracy improves, we roll out the changes and dashboards to all the stakeholders.  Typically, we find forecast accuracy improves from 30% to over 70%.  This provides a huge return on investment.  

Forecast Accuracy Before SFDC Modifications

Forecast Accuracy After SFDC Modifications

Our successful BI projects have these seven factors:

  • A solid business and ROI imperative.
  • Executive sponsorship and engagement.
  • Frontline information users involved from start to finish.
  • Change or Reinforce Behaviors.
  • Iterate on small successes. Don’t boil the ocean.
  • Being realistic about what can be accomplished.
  • Start before getting data “perfect.”

Looking for a path to success?  Reach out to us at