How to Implement BI – Part 4

How to Implement BI – Part 4

Successful Software Implementation - Communication

In our final step for How to Implement BI, we discuss the importance of communication between all those on your team.


  1. Touch Points. Hold regular status meetings. Make sure all tasks are on schedule, issues are discussed, and solutions are proposed.
  2. Email Minutes of the Meeting. Designate someone to type up the meeting notes and send them to all team members.
  3. Join User Groups and Network with Other Users. Getting involved in local and virtual user groups will help you meet people that can be great resources when you have questions.
  4. Keep an IBM Cognos Notebook. Jot down ideas of how IBM Cognos could simplify your reporting and planning needs in a dedicated notebook. This will be valuable in design sessions.
  5. Communications Plan. Have a communications plan so that you are in touch with all stakeholders throughout the project. Create status reports and an issues log for team members to share.
  6. Documentation is Important. Document not just how it’s designed, but why, where and when. Remember your goal is to be promoted, so make the environment one that someone else can easily manage.

To read about the other 3 steps that Lodestar feels are necessary for successful software implementation, here are the links:

See Part 1 of our series HERE

See Part 2 of our series HERE

See Part 3 of our series HERE

How to Implement BI – Part 3

We continue our series  How to Implement BI by showing you why educating yourself and your teammates can lead to success.

EducateHow to Implement BI

  1. Know What the Software Can Do. IBM Cognos has a number of modules, so be realistic about what the software is designed to do. Clients often try to fit a square peg into a round hole by using modules beyond their capabilities.
  2. Understand IBM Cognos Licensing. Take the time to understand what licenses you own and what they do. You might find functionality that you aren’t even using. For example, the IBM Cognos BI Consumer license and higher includes Go! Office, which will let you embed IBM Cognos BI reports in PowerPoint for presentations. The IBM Cognos BI Admin license includes Event Studio, which is a powerful scheduling tool.
  3. Understand How the IBM Cognos Modules Integrate – Controller, Planning/ TM1, BI. Integration of the modules requires proper planning and design. Lodestar Solutions hosts regular webinars on integration and design considerations.
  4. Clearly Understand the Condition of Your Data. Data sources are not always conducive to robust reporting. In many cases, it is recommended that data is staged in a data mart or data warehouse so that it can be cleansed. Cleansing the data will give it the hierarchy and rollups you desire so that reports can have informative drilling capabilities.
  5. Explore the Benefits of Using Partners. Recognize that an IBM Cognos project requires mentoring from, and collaborating with, experts. Hiring experts that train you using best practices may cost a little more but long term it will be less expensive than hiring cheap resources that you have to call every time something changes.
  6. Know Your Customer. Don’t assume you know what they want; ask them. Have periodic check points with the end users to get them excited and invested in the project.

To learn about the other 3 steps for a successful software implementation, here are the blog links:

See Part 1 of our How to Implement BI series HERE

See Part 2 of our How to Implement BI series HERE

See Part 4 of our How to Implement BI series HERE


How to Implement BI – Part 1

How to Implement BI

How to Implement BI  – Part 1

  1. Get an Executive Sponsor. Get sponsorship from your organization’s senior executives; determine their expectations. Meeting the expectations of the executives will help provide continued funding.
  2. Create a Project Charter. A project charter is a mini business plan for your project that defines success, and is approved by the team members. It includes objectives, risk factors, timelines, and resources.
  3. Plan 8-10 Weeks to Achieve Results. Most executives want to see results in 8-10 weeks. Define your scope to deliver something in a short period of time. This allows you to build on small wins and gain momentum.
  4. Set a Realistic Budget. Plan for emergencies and contingencies. You may need to reduce your scope to meet your budget.
  5. Save Costs Where They Matter the Most. Don’t just pinch pennies for present savings; ensure the savings will pay off in the long run. Compromising on quality now, could result in rebuilds and missed deadlines. Training and design are two areas you should never skimp.
  6. Involve Key Users. IBM Cognos projects must involve both business and IT representatives. Both sides need to work together to understand and respect each other’s needs, capabilities and timelines.
  7. Put Resources on the Project that Know Your Organization. Don’t underestimate the importance of understanding your organization internally. It will help save time and missteps on your project.
  8. Spend Extra Time on Architecture and Design. Think big start small. Your initial design should consider subsequent phases and future data sources. Explore reporting requirements by reverse engineering current reports.
  9. Remember End Users. Avoid assuming what the end user does, needs or wants. Involving end users helps to gain their buy in. Ensure the project plan includes end user training.
  10. Self Reliance. Your organization should own the project and not rely solely on consultants. Look for consultants that mentor and train your team members to be self-sufficient; this will help increase your project’s long term ROI.
  11. Test Contingency Plans. Waiting for disaster to strike is a dangerous way to find out if your emergency plans will hold. Test backup plans periodically and modify them when things change. Make sure backup plans are well documented to help reduce stress during an emergency.
  12. Under Promise but Over Deliver. Don’t create deadlines that you know you can’t meet. Promise only what you know you can do, not what you think people expect, and you’ll be able to finish on time or early and under budget. It’s less stressful and the team will look like heroes.
  13. Ample Testing is Required. Do as much testing as you can as early as you can. Allow time for rework and retesting to ensure that you’ve eliminated errors without introducing new ones. At the business level, include end users in testing. Remember that the goals are end user satisfaction and added value.
  14. Avoid Scope Creep. Evaluate all events that could change the project’s schedule and all scope change requests. Review the affects of any change before making a decision and then implement a revised plan. Make sure all stakeholders are informed of any scope and timeline changes.

See Part 2 of our How to Implement BI series HERE

See Part 3 of our How to Implement BI series HERE

See Part 4 of our How to Implement BI series HERE