Stakeholder buy-in can be particularly tricky when you’re trying to win support of a BI software implementation because there are a lot of smart people that just don’t understand what business intelligence does. And although they may be asking you for reports, or analytics on company data each month, there are a lot of people that don’t actually know what BI can do for them and the organization.
So, here we give you some tips on how to gain stakeholder buy-in to get your BI Project some momentum. These tips may be handy when trying to gain funding approval. Or you may already have a BI platform but you’re fighting for priority amongst other projects to get it implemented. You may even just need some renewed vigor on that BI installation that happened a while back with low levels of adoption.
Before we start, one thing to remember: this process doesn’t need to be formal and can be a very quick process when you’ve got the right techniques. You might see an ‘ah-hah!’ moment, or the penny drop in a millisecond. Regardless of how structured you are about it, here are a few tips’n’tricks proven to work to win influence and gain stakeholder buy-in necessary for your BI Project.
Of course, it’s important to appeal to financial sponsors and people that can ultimately approve or fund your BI project. But it’s wise to also map out any individuals, departments or teams that will be affected by your BI Implementation.
This process will help you get a good grip on who is a part of your project, who may be able to cooperate on the project, and what impact they may have – including anyone that may risk becoming a roadblock for you.
Typically, if you don’t gain buy-in from:
PRO-TIP: I’d recommend that you get someone that’s already aligned with you on the value of your initiative to use their influence to assist in getting further buy-in across the organization.
In this instance, they may be a business analyst who can articulate the ‘what’s in it for me’ for various stakeholders, or the IT team who can quantify how much time they spend extracting data from different systems each month for regular reports for senior and middle management.
Probably the most important part of your stakeholder analysis is to assess the different needs among your stakeholder group.
From my experience, a way to get started on this, and appeal to the needs of the usual suspects involved in your BI software project are:
PRO TIP: try out a survey (like a free one from Survey Monkey) to assess business information or reporting needs and potential resistance or concerns from your stakeholders. This is also a great way to benchmark buy-in should you move through project phases like pre-implementation, through to adoption.
Once you’ve nut out their requirements, you need to keep up communication; consult early, and often. Make sure you offer efficient ways to communicate progress and get feedback from your stakeholders. If you’re doing this with international or remote teams, ensure the communication channel you’re using matches the type of communication you’re trying to achieve.
Here’s some information on the tools and methodology we apply in the management of remote BI projects and virtual BI Teams that may be handy if the remote teams scenario applies to you.
One persuasive communication technique that is really simple, and proven to work across a wide range of scenarios is the ‘Head, Hearts and Hands’ approach:
PRO TIP: The best and the fastest way to address heads, hearts and hands of almost every stakeholder in a BI software project is to offer a tactile interaction with a solution:
Now, if you’ve done all the hard work required to get stakeholders to look at a system, it’s important not to blow this opportunity to win them over by failing to demonstrate ‘what’s in it for me’. If you don’t make the demo or POC relevant to them by using data relevant to their industry, their role or their burning business problem you may risk turning them off your idea all together.
For a limited time, Blueprint Intelligence is offering you a free BI Starter Kit – your free proof of concept, demonstrating your data live so that you can possibly get that BI Project off the ground, or to assess different BI Applications available to you.We’ve called it MINI BI.
Check it out and get in touch with me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions.