By working with a skilled Cognos implementation partner, you are, in effect, guaranteeing better performance and a significant return from your software investment. An IBM Cognos implementation, like any other software, needs a systematic implementation methodology. To ensure efficient and successful deployments, here are six recommended best practices.
1.Understand business needs and challenges
The right implementation approach for any analytics software starts with fully understanding your business processes and operations. Studying your business needs and possible stumbling blocks will help create an implementation framework which maximizes business benefits.
A pre-implementation evaluation essential for determining the types of customization needed. It is the key to developing an implementation framework that efficiently leverages available tech capabilities and the capacities of your teams. The more time spent on understanding your business, the more chances you have for smoother implementation and transition to the solution. Consider both immediate and long term business strategies and needs in this analysis.
2. Build a business case
The ultimate goal for Cognos Analytics is business insight. Understanding and validating the use case for your business is essential to crafting an implementation plan that guarantees project success and high user adoption after deployment.
Validating use cases gears the implementation process towards attainment of key performance metrics. It allows for quantifiable progress evaluation during implementation. Validating each use case gives the implementation team the opportunity to anticipate challenges and architect solutions in advance.
3. Focus on data readiness and data quality
The data readiness test is a critical step before rollout. Data governance and management frameworks are critical after implementation for tangible business value. Most companies focus on feature evaluation and architecture customization without first analyzing these critical factors. The result is a slower time to value and low user adoption.
Focus on solving your data quality issues before implementation. Clean up your data, expand its scope, and create a new governance concept. As you work on your data before and after implementation, think about compliance, adaptability, and interoperability with your business.
4. Address training needs and change management
The right implementation framework for Cognos should address the training requirements for the full adoption. Investing in an implementation partner that understands all the ins and outs of the software, and conducts employee training on a regular basis, you are guaranteed better knowledge transfer to your teams.
As you look into filling knowledge gaps before, during, and after your analytics implementation, you should also consider the change management aspect. Will current roles change? Will any business processes need to be rethought? Is the organizational culture impacted? Change management is a critical factor in the success of your analytics initiative. Failure to address training and change management generally results in organizational resistance.
5. Optimize your implementation for business performance
The technical aspects of an analytics implementation involve architecture design and configuration based on your current and long term strategy and performance. From your initial evaluation, your team should have a clear understanding of areas of maximum returns. Target these opportunities with your performance improvement customizations.
One proven strategy for tracking performance and managing feature extension is building a business intelligence competency center. These are teams that ensure that performance management is continuous through the life cycle of the analytics program. They ensure that any fine tuning is in line with your KPIs and quality expectations.
6. Start from the pilot phase as you scale upwards
It is recommended to start small for your analytics implementation to be successful. Organizations should choose an individual executive or small department with a compelling use case and start there. An initial small implementation and roll out allows stakeholders to see the capabilities and benefits firsthand.
A pilot implementation of Cognos Analytics prior to scaling further ensures that your business continues to run smoothly throughout the implementation. Stakeholders will be able to see exactly how the data transforms as well as how the solution integrates with your data sources and other applications. Challenges can be addressed in advance prior to the full rollout. Other benefits of gradual implementation include:
- It's crucial in determining the application capabilities that would be best for meeting your business and end-user needs
- It reveals architecture designs that improve user adoption and self-service
- It makes it easier to plan for capacity, compliance, security and performance optimization
- Helps teams build experience and support needed for a full-scale implementation
Cognos Analytics equips business executives with the insight to make the most out of big data. At LPA, our Cognos implementation framework includes proactive assistance, training, and business centered configurations. Leverage our Cognos Analytics expertise to get the most value from your software investment. Here's our 8 Characteristics of a Great Data Software Implementation Partner.