Proving the Value of BI Tools to Senior Leadership
It's easy to get excited and want others to join in on that excitement when you find a tool that could make your job and life more comfortable and more efficient. We often take place with our clients, prospects, and peers. The roadblock most frequently encountered, proving that that value exists to senior leadership. It has been brought up at least once, if not more, at every single one of our monthly Data Meetups to date!
When it comes to proving the value of business intelligence (BI) tools to senior leadership, there are a few things I have learned through the years that will support your proposition so it gets noticed and the action gets taken.
Let's face it: in today's world, everyone is busy. Those in senior leadership positions are no exception; some might even say they're the most active! Most of these folks are in back-to-back meetings all day, and getting time in front of them can be tricky; this is why it is crucial to make the most of it when you get the chance. How can you ensure you make the most of that time? You keep it simple. You show them the value by addressing an issue that is important to them and honing in on the solution. You have a plan.
To keep it simple, keep it brief. You need to prepare ahead of time so you can be concise and not let yourself go down a rabbit hole (which can happen when you're excited about a tool), lessens the risk of getting into the technical weeds of the tool and losing their focus and interest. It could take you a long time to regain your credibility if that is the case, and it will be even harder to get another meeting with them further down the line. Have an outline and stick to it!
Most of the BI tools out there were developed to improve efficiency, and they have loads and loads of use cases to help spark ideas if you are at a loss. Once you've made your case on how the BI tool will blow their mind and save them gobs of time and money, SHOW THEM the value.
If you don't already have a license for a tool, ask for a trial license to use your data and make it real for the person in senior leadership. Most platforms/tools offer these trials on their websites. With a trial license, you'll be able to demonstrate how the tool could save them, for example, eight hours every day, therefore freeing up someone
When done with the meeting, be sure to follow up with any lingering questions or requests for information that arose. You will not always have all the answers when you are in front of them, and that's okay! Do your due diligence and prove you're committed to the value you believe the tool can provide.
Since BI tools are typically not free, the chances are that you'll be asking senior leaders to spend money on something. Plan for this ahead of time. Put yourself in their shoes and answer any money-related questions you can imagine they might ask. Think about what you would want to know if someone was trying to convince you to spend money on a tool and answer those potential questions during the meeting, not at the end.
Finally, remember that people in senior leadership are still just people and are looking for solutions to problems just like those from entry-level positions and up. Even if you're starting in your career, it's essential to keep this problem-solving thought process in mind. It isn't useful to anyone to have someone complain about something that's not working but offer no solution. Be the one to step up and think outside the box to find and present efficient solutions!