Nuts & Bolts

Startups Need BI Flexibility Over Brawn

“It’s hard enough launching my new product.  I’ll deal with data and reporting later.”

While both sentences are technically true it would be more accurate to say, “I’ll deal with the PAINFUL LACK of data and reporting later.”  Everyone needs data to run their business and the insight it provides at very early stages may be the difference between a launch and a successful product.  Thankfully there are some ways to make  it easier to get what need now and be prepared for what you might need later without braking the bank or diluting your focus on delivering to your customer.  Here are some guidelines to help you get started.


Acquiring & Accessing Data: Assuming it isn’t CC#’s and launch codes collect everything and make the data readily available to all users. Especially in small organizations where execs are forced to do a lot of their own investigation and analysis
Keep it open and centralized – The 80:20 rule; if 80% of the data (measured in columns not rows) is in one system that is your primary repository and the rest should be appended; if not everything is exported to a common provider (ex. 1 SQL DB)
caveat: highly specific data, regulatory requirement, unique data element not widely adopted by business (ex. manufacturing quality control device)

Keep it flat (structure) – data volume, types, end uses are growing exponentially keep your data very granular and flat so it can more easily be used for myriads of needs as yet unknown

Keep it very simple (process and systems) – AKA “Excel first” if the answer’s actionable and moves the dial then invest in the process, tool, system to best use it

Actionable uses: Propose and test KPI’s for the business which are constantly refined and applied deeper and deeper into the organization