Although much of the software development process hinges on the quality of your team, there are several other ways to influence the outcome of your work. Business intelligence analysis might not be the most accessible one, but it’s certainly the most effective if you want to map a long-term strategy for success. Let’s take a closer look at what criteria define the analysis and how you can help this data congeal into your future development plans.
A Quick Refresher
Just in case you’re not a 100% solid on what BI analysis entails: it’s the process of data mining and processing information about your strategies and technologies as well as the ones your competitors use. By covering this huge chunk of data, you can get the full picture and, instead of learning solely from your experience, rely on the successes and failures of a whole market segment.
Now, business intelligence analysis doesn’t stop at gathering the data and processing it, you also have to integrate it with your strategy to reap the benefits. This is where consulting firms come in a lot of the time as few businesses keep dedicated BI specialists on staff.
1. Data mining
2. Online analytical processing
When all is said and done and you’ve analyzed the heap of data at your disposal, following the newly integrated intelligence should help you set the course for success. But that’s applicable to most processes in the company and, though correct, is a bit of a broad view on using business intelligence analysis to boost your company. Now let’s see how exactly it can benefit you when working on software development.
“Without data, you are just another person with an opinion.” – W. Edwards Deming
Fine-tuning software development, beyond simply choosing the most competent team for the task, is all about decision-making. Even though the failure rates in IT projects are dipping, it’s not a result of more professionals flooding the market. Rather, it’s a direct consequence of years of failure caused by mismanagement, budget shortages, inefficient crunches, and ill-conceived projects.
What do all those factors have in common?Well, they certainly could all be prevented by simply making better decisions in your development process. So if you don’t want to spend years stumbling, get a headstart by using your experience and that of the market to optimize your development process via business intelligence analysis.
Let’s ponder a couple of quick examples of BI improving a business strategy or software making BI more efficient, just so you can see what it’s capable of. First up, imagine a large company where every single analyst is handling BI. Things were likely going pretty well for them but those analysts were certainly swamped with routine work. With the help of automatizing software, they reach the same results faster, exclude the human error chances, and have more time to take care of additional projects.
Now, even if you’re just looking for business intelligence consulting, not software, there are reasons to get it. For example, a major sales company was having trouble getting return customers on its online platform. By using BI to organize its customer base and quantify exactly what certain parts of this base prefer, a system was created that personalized emails to the clients and offered incentives for repeat online shoppers. This boosted their eCommerce business substantially.
Agile but Fragile
There’s a realistic chance that your company, like many others nowadays, is using the agile software development methodology. And while it’s certainly effective on the surface, the adaptive and autonomous system of work means that your management staff has less control over the process. This often ends up with gaps in work or communication, which could lead to substantial faults in the finished project.
Poor communication is the quickest way to get your devteam slaving away on things they don’t need to be working on or taking too long with features that shouldn’t get all the focus. If left unchecked, this will simply lead to huge technical debt, which, sooner or later, is going to sink the product. This is when a good analyst steps in, processes the development data, and shows problematic sectors that need reviewing. Catching the mistakes in time isn’t always possible but that way you at least cover the problems for your next projects.
Moreover, well-processed data should be readable by pretty much any person on your team so that they can make informed decisions for themselves instead of coming to the management staff for everything. That way the operations are more streamlined and, since your team has access to data on their work, nobody can shift the blame should a part of the project be left undone or done poorly.
“Data will talk if you’re willing to listen to it.” – Jim Bergeson
Fixing the Leak
The key way for business intelligence analysis to change your development process is by spotting the “squeaky wheel”. By analyzing the operational data, you can see if, maybe, someone on the devteam isn’t pulling their weight or making code that isn’t up to par compared to others. That way you can either help them catch up or, well, apply some stricter management techniques.
The Stars Align
One of the base aspects of BI that many seem to ignore is checking the correlation between your current business strategy and your goals. Is developing this product really conducive to your overall plan?
Could the project be tweaked to fit into the bigger picture of your business more neatly?These certainly seem like minute tasks on paper but establishing a streamlined and coherent project map is important if you want to be cost-efficient and true to your business goals. It’s pretty easy to go off-track when chasing innovation and hyped up technologies but an entrepreneur should have their eyes on the prize and follow the business plan that leads to success.
“Data is what you need to do analytics. Information is what you need to do business.” – John Owen
More Than Meets the Eye
You might be wondering what the difference between big data and business intelligence analysis is. After all, both terms concern huge amounts of information and parsing them.
However, big data is often one-sided with only the base analysis done.Business intelligence, though, requires a deep look with insight gained on multiple sides. For example, you research the past years in your target market and see that a product similar to yours wasn’t very successful three years ago. This might seem like a warning sign but, if you look at all the factors at once, the situation might change.
Sure, the customers weren’t piling money onto the product… but they might have been swayed by the absurdly high competition, diluting the userbase. Or, perhaps, there were economic factors at play such as crises or target companies going bankrupt. It’s always beneficial to look at all sides of the issue so that you might come to a conclusion that others will glance over.
Who You Gonna Call?
So we’ve talked about what kind of results business intelligence analysis can deliver…But who’s going to take care of the analysis itself? That’s where the job of a business intelligence analyst starts. This expert comes in to survey your work, collect data, and integrate it with your operations, matching it to your goals.
Eventually, the analyst should compile a comprehensive report that lets you know which areas could use some improvement and whether your software development process is set up optimally. Their role as an interpreter of business intelligence and similar data should help you see the inner workings of your business clearly, offering a sort of an outsider point of view.
While there is an alternative in the form of business intelligence software, you’d need someone to develop it for you. Thankfully, Incode Group is here to help. Our experts will handle business intelligence development for you and deliver results like no others.