Tag Archives: Social Media Analytics

16 Essential Steps Of Best Social Media Marketing Strategies

To surface gigantic achievements out of Social Media Marketing, you leverage the strategies and steps analyzed below:

  1. Know Your Product Or Service Well:

    The complete details of Things that you sell is an important attribute of Social Media Marketing and it yields really great result by considering it into your Social Media Strategies. Even in 6Ps Rules Of Marketing, product always takes the highest position followed by people. You plan of running a Marketing Campaign and utilizing the available inputs from all associated heads to get complete idea of products to be engaged in future. The selling trends, key selling features, target customer segments and geographical regions, socio-economic positions of customer, customer behaviors in the zones, average societal-strata of customers, Market Exit Reasons of other competitors, comparative view of products from other competitors in present and future, availability and types of logistics, government rules and policies are key attributes of today’s Social Media Marketing.
    You can leverage Competitive Intelligence and Customer Intelligence to know the information in more detail. Besides, they are valid for selling the services too, including engineering, construction, human resources, private security and police services, transportation, railway, healthcare and aviations through Social Media Marketing.
    Also Read: 10 Essentials Steps Of Requirement Analysis Of Social Media Reports

  2. Business Analysis Of Expectations:

    Just like product knowledge, knowing the expectations of your Social Media Marketing from all aspects is a vital step in gaining a greater success from Social Media Marketing. Prepare a list of all expectations and outcomes as a document and include the target sales figures, projected sales figures, actual sales figures in the last selling periods(WOW,FOF, MOM, QOQ and YOY) and targets sales figures of other marketing channels like brand-shops, retailing and franchised shops. These information are important due to differences in sales figures of same product or services or other things from different sales channels.

  3. Analysis of Business Issues:

    To formulate world class Social Media Strategies, it is very important to know all possible hurdles, problems and issues that may occur inside Social Media Marketing and Sales. You prepare a list of all possible hurdles, issues and problems as a document including important information like seasonal selling patterns, socio-political stability and reasons of reduction of customers like floods and shifting of residential colonies.
    If the strategies are meant for selling of premium electronic devices of category of Head Mounted Display like Telepathy One or Google Glass, the availability of better devices in comparatively lower prices from other competitors is the biggest threat in achieving the bigger sales through Social Media Marketing. You can create the counter-strategies against these problems. Offering the same product bundled with another relevant service or product like 4G Connectivity or Baby Earphone or subscriptions of Digital Publication from leading publishers including Times Of India, NYT, The Washingtonpost, Time Magazine, The Guardian, Teen Vogue and The Forbes.

  4. Consider All Latest Trends:

    To design the best, updated and next generation quality of Social Media Strategies, you can consider all the latest and futuristic trends of the product, industry and Social Media Marketing into your Social Media Strategies. To capture the present trends of the product, conduct a knowledge crowdsourcing, consider all vital points of Case Studies from leading Market Research Firms like Gartner and KPMG and independent Business Analysts like Amrit Chhetri and Carol Stephen and leverage outcome of Competitive Intelligence and Customer Intelligence, if they are available in your organization.
    Also Read: Social Commerce Is The Future Of E-Commerce

  5. Outline The Social Media Strategies::

    Now, it is time to outline strategies for your Social Media Marketing. Amalgamate all inputs from Business Plan, Product Knowledge, hurdle and other inputs relevant to Social Media Marketing. Divide overall strategies into two parts-core Social Media Marketing Strategies and Execution Strategies. The importance of Social Media Marketing in Digital Marketing is really important point of your strategies and include outcome of different Social Media Marketing campaigns can be part your strategies. In executing these strategies, you can include plan and details from different types of documented needed. Detailed Analysis of Social Media Marketing Platforms, content types, categories and the names of different campaigns, analysis of different marketing activities. Keep options open for leveraging all sales channels utilizing Social Commerce, F/T Commerce, Mobile Commerce and Blog Commerce to market your product or service.

  6. Prepare An Army Of Social Media Professionals:

    Through Social Media Marketing looks essay from outside, it is not that simple to get best selling success of any service or product. You evaluate skills-sets of all available social Media Professionals and plan for Corporate Training to train them to its best within a limited period of time. If you have hired new resources, consult your Social Media Strategist and Solution Architect or Software Architect or System Architect to know right-set of requirements to hire new resources to run and analyze the Social Media marketing.If size of the team is greater than five, it is great idea to have a specialized Social Media Consultant or Social Media Analyst who can provide techno-functional inputs including insights of Business in future.

  7. Write Core Content Of Social Media Marketing:

    Analyze and outline the scope of the marketing content, resource allocation, copyright, ways of content curation and scope of granulating the content further into platform specific style. Your outlines must be very generic in nature with all important headings and sub-headings of the content in summarized manner.
    Also Read: 11 Essential Steps Of Blog Marketing

  8. Engage With The Process Of Social Content Curation:

    Social Content Curation is The Hottest and Latest Trend of Social Media Marketing and Social Republication. There are many great Social Content Curation Platforms that curate and generate an appropriate content ideal for your service or product in the most economical and the best possible way.

  9. Automate Social Content Curation With BigData:

    You can automate the process and steps of curating great and precise social content by levering BigData Predictive Analytics. BigData Predictive Analytics with necessary customization can produce suitable Social Content related to your Social Media Campaigns and Strategies. The content generated by this procedure can be utilize to generate and distribute Social Newsletter, News Publication and Audio News automatically.

  10. Prepare Channel Specific Content:

    Initiate the interaction with in-house or outsourced Sales, Marketing and Advertisement Team to get a ready-to-use and highly individualized content for Social Media Marketing. If you strategize to market using Video Broadcasting channels like YouTube, Vine, Instagram and MixBit, use videos created by other units and teams. Otherwise, create a short and institutive video with sensationalized marketing-effect on Social Media. To get a maximum outcome on Visual Platforms like Pinterest, Flickr and Facebook,prepare content that looks like a slide of powerpoint presentation with content in bold letters.

  11. Leverage Suitable Social Media Marketing Platforms:

    There are many Social Media Platforms in BI ecosystem and their top categories are Video Social Marketing Platforms, Audio Social Marketing Platforms, Short Video Platforms, Presentation Platforms, News Publication Platforms( Paper.li, Fllpboard and News360 ) and Blogging Platform( Twitter, Tumblr and WordPress). Leverage best one from each category is the latest trend of Social Media Marketing.

  12. Document Steps And Social Media Strategies:

    Create a well-detailed document of strategies and steps related to selling of things through Social Media Marketing. It must include the names of product-wise campaigns, targeted Social Media Platforms, beginning and ending dates, expected outcome and all other related details. In same fashion, either use Social Media compatible CRM to control your Social Media Campaigns or create separate spreadsheet with all necessary details. If those platforms are viable under company’s policy, create a well-structured spreadsheet using MS Excel or OpenOffice Calc or spreadsheet editor of iWork.

  13. Run Your Content Under Social Media Strategies:

    Once all documents on executing the marketing strategies,steps and methods and CRM Platforms or spreadsheet get ready, you initiate process of Social Media Marketing campaigns. You can assign this responsibility of running campaigns to an army of Business Executives, if it is really larger in scale. Otherwise, give it to the executive who is taking care of other Social Media responsibilities.

  14. Deploy Social Media Analytics:

    What platforms you’ll leverage for Social Media Analysis depend upon types of Social Media Platforms you leveraged to market the product or service on Social Media using all content curated. Know one best one from different sets of Social Media Analytics. SumAll, Google Analytics and HootSuite are three best Social Media Platforms.
    You can leverage other type of Social Media Analytics Platforms to get auxiliary inputs like perfect time of running campaigns, tentative numbers of potential customers and reach of each hash-tag to make Social Media Analytics more effective and meaningful.

  15. Reshape Your Strategies With Social Media Analytics:

    Without analyzing different categories of activities of Social Media Marketing, it almost impossible to gain expected results from the Social Media Marketing. Utilize the insights of Social Media Analytics to re-shape the strategies by removing all critical mistakes of your strategies and execution steps.

  16. Re-Execute Your Campaigns And Strategies:

    Once you run all strategies and campaigns using Social Media Networks, you can utilize the insights and outcome of Social Media Analytics to re-shape campaigns executed earlier to generate greater social reach and outcome without wasting time, efforts and resources.

    Analyzed By And Author:Amrit Chhetri
    Place: Bara Mangwa, P.O: Takling, Darjeeling-734312

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Popular Mobile Apps For All

  1. Evernote :
    Evernote is a multi-purpose Digital Note Organizer and its latest update allows to digitize the regular notes as pictures. It can be used in varieties of needs including organization of old books to create a digitized Library, creation of Video Libraries of your favorite DVD, CD and BluRays and arrangement of your favorite recipes and places. You can also sync blogs, articles, pictures and videos you loved across different Social Platforms like Instagram, Vine, Pocket,Digg Reader and Feedly as your Social Content Curation. The GenX students can utilize it to organize their reading materials,routines and other resources in one place. In the same way, academicians and educationists can use it as the Digital Record Book of their teaching materials, schedules and records of progress and their achievements of students.

  2. Twitter :
    Twitter is the most common, easiest and popular micro-blogging site. It’s users range from students to academician, developers to CEO, politicians to national presidents, artist to architects, bloggers, business-man and almost all. It allows to express your ideas within 140 characters including URL of photo or picture attached. The latest update gives you the notifications of the activities by your followers and friends on Twitter as DM.

  3. Facebook:
    Facebook is the simplest and most common Social Network site with the highest number of users and it allows to interact with friends, beloved ones and family members in the easiest way. Facebook has been adopted by Business Brands to use it as the Social Marketing Tool. It also allows you to have two distinctly personalized sites -User-Profiles and Pages for persons, brands, products and institutions. You can beautify your User Profiles by synchronizing your photo updates from Flickr, Music you loved on 8Tracks, Soundcloud and CloudMix, the place you visited and loved on TripAdvisor. You can also sync blogs on blogging platforms like Tumblr, Typepad, WordPress and Blogger.

  4. Instagram :
    Instagram is the most easiest and simple photos and short-videos sharing application and now it is owned by Facebook. It also allows to share your great moments as photos and short videos. You can sync it with almost all Social Networks including Facebook. According to the latest studies, young group of Gen Xers are preferably using Tumblr, Vine and Instagram over other Social Networks including Facebook and Twitter.

  5. Vine : 
    Vine is the latest photo and six seconds video sharing platform and it is the largest competitor of Instagram and upcoming Keep and Mixbit. It allows to share Photos and short videos across different Social Networks and can be manage it from Social Management Tools like HootSuite, ViralHeat, UberSocial, IFTTT and the paid version of Buffer.

  6. Google Plus:
    Google Plus is the newest and the fast growing Social Networking site for personal and brand .It also facilitates you to create Profile Page as well as Community Page for various interest and communities. It’s Google Hangout leverages a great service to live-stream the video conferences or video calls.

  7. Google Earth:
    Google Earth is the geo-search services from Google and allows to search places, public establishments, roads, rivers, mountains in a very intuitive way. It gives two views- Terrain and Geographical and allows to map the place and things of your interest. It has been used as educational tool, platform to monitor mass criminal-activities, to get information about new places and things and studying geographical demographics.

  8. YouTube:
    YouTube is a great video sharing platform in the world. It can be used for education, infotainment, digital marketing, crowdsourcing and crowd-funding, healthcare, innovations ,research and almost to everywhere. Its maximum users are Music lovers,artists, authors ,marketers, internet entrepreneurs, internet promoters and students. Its trend-dashboard , https://www.youtube.com/trendsdashboard, organizes everything one place .YouTube also leverages Analytics service for analyzing the social-reach and impacts of videos you created or interacted on YouTube.

  9. SoundCloud:
    This is a great Music App for listening tracks and mixes from your favorite artists. It allows you to organize the tracks you loved into different categories like Nu Jazz, Jazz, Fusion,Heavy Metal, Fusion Rock and Country and allows to share the same to friends, family-members and beloved ones from Social Networks like Facebook,Pheed,Hi5, Twitter and Tumblr. It caters a platform for Social Audio News Services from world’s leading media houses like CCN, BBC, Bloomberg and WSJ. This is a truly great app for music lovers and music enthusiasts.

  10. PicsArt:
    PicsArt is a free and full-featured Photo Editor.It is complete in Social Integration and has more features than in many paid Mobile Apps. It enables users to apply various effects on the new picture or an existing picture from the different sources. It leverages the functionality to edit your photos in every possible way including frames, borders, stickers, text effects, clipart graphics, callouts, crop, rotate, color adjust masks and collages.

  11. Contacts +:
    Contacts+ is an intuitive Contacts Management App with a phone-dialer. It brings all contacts from different sources in one place. With Contacts+ you can send free and regular text messages without switching apps and it auto-syncs pictures from your contacts of different Social Networks including Facebook. It also reminds you for every birthday of the contacts from all connected Social Networks.

         Analysis & Author By: Amrit Chhetri, Copyright(C): Amrit, 2013

11 Essential Steps Of Blog Marketing

 

  1. What is Blog Marketing?
    Marketing and selling of your content in any form are the most vital strategies of Social Content Curation. Marketing of Content including blog-posts is an art of selling ideas, creativity, personal innovations and writing-skills on Social Media and there are lots of Social Platforms and the best-practices for achieving a really great ROI.
  2. Essential Steps Of Marketing Your Blogs:
    11 essential steps of Blog Marketing or Content Marketing :

    1. Curate Great Content:
      A great content is a driving force to promote the brand values, create great social-influence and sell anything on Social Media. You need to focus on creating the best, well-informed and highly precise content of your product, services, brand and person to generate a great ROI. You read my blog ‘9 Steps To Boost Your Social Content’ to know all essential steps of creating and curating mind-blowing content.
    2. Use Great Blogging-Platforms:
      You can leverage the best Blogging Platforms to promote and broadcast your content in the best way and you can increase ROI by utilizing their services. Thenceforth, you can choose one out of two categories of Blogging Platforms- free and default Blogging-Platforms like Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, Weebly, Medium and Quora or custom-Blogging Platforms with or without a support for CMS(Content Management System) like Joomla, Etimote, Drupal and WordPress.
                           
    1. Leverage Common Social Networking Sites:
      A simple rule of promotion of any of Social Content or Blog is to increase the Social Influence Statistics and a well-strategized use of common Social Platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ yields the best ROI with the lowest TCO. You can use Vine, Instagram and Mixbit to market your content through small video-advertisement of your blogs.
    2. Use Inputs Of Social Media Analytics :
      To take any important decision and the futuristic actions towards your blogs use the inputs from Social Media Analytics. It helps you in writing and curating the best blogs or content as they trend in the market. You can read my blog ’10 Best Strategies Of Social Media Analytics’ 
      to know all of the essential steps in using Social Media Analytics. You can organize all of your blogs using Bookmarking Sites like bitly and delicious to generate an interesting metrics of readership and readability.
    3. Create Social Content Profiles:
      You can create a Professional Summary of your blogs, write-ups and articles in one place. You can leverage Content.ly and About.me to create a beautiful looking Social Profile of your works. It gives one -point access to your works and it allows to promote your content, increase Social Reach among readers from Social Media and Corporate domains.
    4. Leverage Social Reputation Platforms:
      Writing of blogs and Guest Posts is primarily a creative work and maintaining the Social Reputation Profiles on Social Reputation Platforms like Klout, Xeeme, TrustCloud, Naymz and Kred helps to increase the readerships. You can leverage Social Reputation Platforms for two reasons – firstly to create a Professional Profile and secondly to know the matrices of your blog post.

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    5. Conduct Weekly Social Drills :
      Conducting Social Promotion Activities like AMA(Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, Tweetup on Twitter and Social Group Chatting on Social Communication Tools like WebChat, WhatsApp, Line, Nimbuzz, ooVoo, Skype and Google Hangout gives an enough room to promote your writing-works. Besides, you contribute your articles and blogs to the international onlines like The Huffington Post, NYTimes; regional national dailies like The Telegraph, The Statement, The Hindustan Times and Times Of India as Guest Posts or regular contributor. Also, contributing to other blogger-brands like Tech Crunch, SocialTimes and Mashable to increase the reach and values of your content.
    6. Use Social Promotion Platforms:
      You can leverage special category of Social Platforms like Outbrain, Sulia, Empire Avenue, Facebook Group and Linkedin Groups to promote and market your content. You utilize the services of Newsletter Platforms like MadMimi and FlashIssue to create promotional Newsletter for your blogs. You also can curate your blogs into Curation Platforms like Scoop.it, List.ly, Pearltress and Storify and leverage MadMimi to generate the Newsletter directly from the curated content.
      You can strategize the use of Blogging Community to promote and sell your blog-content and Blokube is one of the best in this category.

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      In my reviews,The Top 10 Blogging Community are:

    7. Use The Latest And Contextual Examples:
      The Context is one of The 6’Cs of Social Commerce and the same is true for Content Marketing too. Always be strategic in citing examples in your blogs and it must be very interesting, lively and truly contextual ones. If your blog is on Social Commerce, inclusion of the latest and innovative marketing strategy -‘Buying Coffee from StarBucks using Twitter’ improves the read of your blog-readers. 
    8. Include Great Social Content:
      You can increase the quality of your blogs by embedding some of the great Tweets from Industry Experts ,Analysts and Subject Matter Experts and by including the relevant videos from Social Video Sites like YouTube,Vimeo, Vine, Instagram and MixBit. Also, you can cream-up the richness of the blogs by inserting the latest updates from the companies or brands included in your blogs. It helps to increase the Social-Reach of your blogs by improving the readerships. If possible you can add the financial indicators and business forecasts by Business Research firms like KPMG and Gartner. You can also include great Visuals and Infographics from free Social Visual Platforms like Visual.ly. 
    9. Leverage Features Of Blogging Platforms:
      A great content is a driving force of your blogs and use of all great features of blogging-platforms improves the quality of your blogs. Leverage of the latest and unique features allows to improve the quality and richness of your blogs. It depends upon the type of blogging platforms you have chosen. If you are using WordPress on its own domain-server or on third-party domain, inclusion of ‘Slideshare’ of the relevant pictures, videos from YouTube, relevant Tweets, excerpts from an official blogs, article from national dailies and magazines improves the blogs in all aspects.Analyzed And Author By: Amrit Chhetri, http://about.me/achhertrib


Social Commerce Is The Future of E-Commerce

Social Commerce -Definition :
Electronic commerce is a shopping innovation leveraged by internet and advancement on the related technologies. The same commerce when initiated through the Social Network and executed in any existing methods of supply-chain management then it becomes S-Commerce.So, Social Commerce brings a new generation kind of shopping experience.

Evolution of Social Commerce :
Social Commerce is new shopping experience created by Social Media on internet and it will occupy at least 50% of electronic shopping by end of 2012.Increasing number of internet and social networking users across the globe are the main boosting factors for Social Commerce and its success will continue in future. E-Book and E-Printing are also slowly moving towards the Social landscape and #Shutterfly has prominent presence in Social Commerce as Social Printing Service.

How e-commerce works?
Social Commerce is initiated directly either from the Social Commerce site,or Social Commerce application site or integrated Social Plugin in Social Network like Facebook, Twitter Google+ etc.Once the order is placed using the Social Commerce Platform like Groupon,the logistics and other delivery process are executed just like in any other standard E-Commerce business process but some of the S-Commerce vendors has strategized the better back-end process to bring the next generation type of service quality.

Applicable area of Social Commerce :
No doubt, social commerce is trending globally for all type business domains. S-Commerce can be leveraged in almost every electronic commerce and the main business domains where S-Commerce has been deployed are Social Games, Ticketing, Travel Management, Hotel Booking, Fashion and E-Book and Mobile.Fashion Retailer like ASOS has already great presence on Social Commerce and same is expected to grow further in future.

Dependent factors :

The S-Commerce is software driven business process and its success is directly dependent over the richness of electronic shopping,easiness of S-Commerce Platform and great UX. Besides, other parameters are also associated with it.It is also dependent on the number of internet and social media subscriber-base. All good social commerce strategies become successful if they can transform the social visitors into Social Customers at higher conversion ratio. Fast growing Smart-phone and Tablet user-base is directly facilitating the the success of S-Commerce and its fast growing success.
In Social Commerce, all financial transactions are transmitted over the internet and internet facilitated platform.It may go through some of insecure channel too. So, it has bought the need of good security mechanism for Social Commerce to make it compatible with fast growing business-processes and the need of specialized data security mechanism to make it safe on internet for all financial transactions.
Smartphones users from Rural-Areas of India will contribute contribute a lot towards the business opportunity on S-Commerce.

Major Social Commerce Players :
Groupon is the major global player in S-Commerce followed by Ticketfly in ticketing and currently there are more than 100 plus Social Commerce players in the market. Recently launched Facebook Gift is expected to bring altogether new shopping experience in Social Commerce but right now the offering is not available globally. Facebook’s ‘Want’ button will give it bigger business opportunity to convert the registered users into potential customer or actual customers. Ticketfly is another player with business interest in Ticketing and and Ticket management.

Social Commerce Technologies/Software Stacks :
The Social Network which is used for generating Social leads are the main backbone platform of Social Commerce. So. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google are the main source user-base for potential customer for Social Commerce. Indirectly,Enterprise Social Network,Social Networks and Social BI are three key components of S-Commerce

Social-Commerce Analysis :
To make any Social Commerce business successful, it is necessary to analyze every parameter from all aspects of Social Commerce and Social Media. And it brings the importance of Social BI and it importance will grow exponentially along with the increase of S-Commerce. Social BI technologies are emerging and its need will grow exponentially at global level. As Social Commerce happens in Social Networks or associated platforms, it contributes a ton of data towards BigData forcing the integration of Big Data Analytics into F-Commerce, T-Commerce and S-Commerce, Social-Search.
http://youtu.be/cfhxKBZQjV0

Social BI plays a great role in measuring the success of Social Commerce strategies and Social Media Campaigns.Measuring the performance of Social Marketing through Visual Analytics Tool is very important for a better ROI.Statigram is a very useful platform for measuring the performance of a Visual Marketing supported by Instagram.Pinerly helps in measuring the performance of Visual Social Marketing strategized using Pinterest for any sort of Social Commerce.All S-Commerce platforms can leverage LBS(Location Based Services) to improve its visitor-to-customer ratios.

 Analysis & Author By: Amrit Chhetri, Copyright(C): Amrit, 2013

10 Best Practices Of BI Implementation

1. Know Your BI Strategies:

Business Intelligence is software system designed to derive the Business Values from a Business and primarily it is meant to analyze the different business operations and associated activities like cost forecast, performance management, sales projection and production management. Its success depends on various factors like fulfillment of user requirements, user experience & flexibility of the solution, momentum of BI strategy at management level and the organizational IT policies created for the adoption BI system.It is necessary to follow the best practices and guidelines created by an individual or a consulting firm to make the BI initiative a big success with sensationalized ROI(Return On Investment). SDLC of a BI Project involves a complex project management and execution strategies to conclude it successfully. The initiative starts with business requirement analysis, the development ends at deployment to production server and the final delivery ends with the post-deployment activities like Change Request Management, finalization of user manual, internal adoption strategies and practices, strategies to bring BI as part of Enterprise Social Networking practices and planning & training practices for Support & Maintenance.

2. Strategize Well Your BI Requirements:
BI initiative devised to fulfill the BI requirements varies from organization to organization. It (BI initiative) may be meant to have a completely new BI System or sometimes it is initiated for one or two specific BI Modules only.In both the cases, it is possible to implement them on top of the existing BI system or a consider a new BI Platform. Along with Budget, Planning and Management, requirement analysis of BI System plays a vital role to make really successful.

Good analysis of BI requirements drives the initiative to success. There are some theoretical aspects associated with the requirement analysis but in practicality, it can be executed under certain good practices and guidelines. In today’s BI Market, BI initiative, either at module level or at system level, it should be considered as an organizational initiative rather than departmental or individual responsibility for the best Business Values Additions and higher ROI (Return on Investment). Starting from the Use-Case Analysis, consider the importance of participation of Business Analysts, BI Architect and users, CEO, COO, CFO and CMO to capture the holistic view of the requirements. It is the right time to bring the Enterprise Social Networking sites into action. A closed group of community can be created to get the requirement updates and opinions over the already expressed requirements and it can be considered as ‘Pre-Deployment GAP-Analysis’. Here, the whole requirements are captured as free-flowing diagrams inside a chart-paper or in a special editor using the digital pen/stylus before laying down all the details into the actual FDS- requirement details document. Business Analyst takes this responsibility with the help of Solution/Business Intelligence Architect. Once the requirement are completely gathered in an industry standard document format i.e. FDS along followed by SRS, do the internal review of the captured requirements among the team members. In this exercise, get the opinion from Technical Analyst or BI Architect to know initial feasibility of the solution to cover the solution for all the requirements.

The BI Solution always comprises of one or more than one modules. The overall requirements can be divided into modules and finally they can be grouped into requirements for Enterprise Reporting Solution, BI Dashboard/Business Cockpit/Dashboard, Business Analytics (Standard Analytics, Predictive Analytics and Self-Predictive Analytics) and OLAP.

3. Use The Best BI Platforms:

There are more than two to three dozens of BI Platforms in BI market and each one is best for one specific sets of BI functionality & features. It makes the selection of BI Platform a very serious task at organization level but there are ways and best practices for conclude the selection process with international standards. To start with the selection process, firstly, initiate an activity to create the detailed information about the BI Platforms through the comparative analysis. It is a good idea to finalize the group of BI Tools as the first elimination process before moving ahead with the actual finalization steps. The best BI Platforms should be selected through two well-defined processes i.e. comparative analysis followed by POC (Proof Of Concept). So to start with this process, create the features-comparison sheets using Spreadsheet Processor (MS Excel, OpenOffice Spreadsheet etc.) or a report using Free/OSI BI System considering all parameters like features, licensing polices, ownership acquisition type (installer setup, Cloud SAAS or OEM type), availability of resource pool in market, expense/charges of consultants/experts and case-studies of successful BI implementation in same business domain for each of the BI Platform. These details can be collected from various sources like direct vendor interactions, IT-magazines, IT Newspaper/Portal, e-books and groups and communities on social networking sites. Here, some of the vendors can be eliminated straightforward if they don’t meet the requirements of core/fundamental functionality. But, it is a bad idea to finalize the BI Platform simply based on this fact/comparison sheet. The best practice is achieved by initiating the process of POC with pre-defined sets of requirements to generate the limited numbers of reports, analytics, KPI, Scorecard/Dashboard and OLAP models.

Now, the communication with BI vendors can be triggered to finalize the actual date of starting the POC. Business data is the asset of each and every business process and an organization and it should be treated with full responsibility and under certain documented guidelines. Irrespective of level of comfort in relation with vendors, always sign an NDA(Non Disclosure Agreement) to protect the data, concepts that’ll be used to create BI Solution .The requirements and expectation from POC must be documented well enough and give the same to all vendors finalized for BI POC. Involve key users to get the feedback on user-experience, look and feel and easiness of usage. Similarly, get the opinion of technical experts regarding the robustness of architecture, API, integration compatibility and easiness in customization.

4. Design The Best Prototype Of Your BI Solution:

When requirement are gathered completely into a well formatted document i.e. FDS, start conceptualizing the BI Solution to be deployed using the selected BI Platform. Now,it is the time to start building fully working prototype of the final BI Solution in HTML or the prototype designer tool like Serena-Prototype-Composer2009R1. This type of Prototype designer helps in maintaining standards and makes easier to add change request come across till the completion of production deployment. Alternatively, it is a great idea to enhance the deliverable of POC further to make a POC deploy-able to production environment. In this consideration, time and efforts towards Prototype of POC increases at least by 50% but the time fame to deliver final solution will be reduced and changes of re-occurrence of the technical glitches will be minimal. The following points should be considered thoroughly while designing the prototype taking the points from the requirement document: –

1. In Ad-Reports:
a. The color combinations and other look and feel parameters like font size and name, logo and report-footer text like ‘Powered by PentahoBI’.
b. The type of reports and layout supported by the finalized BI Platforms, it could be the default types leveraged by the platforms or custom-report supported by the programming extensions.
c. Number of grouping and group-headers labels, font name and font size at each grouping levels.
d. Nature of drill-downs, whether it is intra-report or inter-report,or two level drill/expansion.
e. The name of report-portion or target reports to drill from main reports or on subsequent drilling.
f. The header-names and sample data should be relevant.

2. In Analytics :

a. The color combinations and other look and feel parameters like font size and name, logo and footer text like ‘Powered by PentahoBI’.

b. The type of report and layout supportable by the finalized BI Platforms, it could be the default types leveraged by the platforms or custom design report supported by the programming extension.

c. The typed of visuals and sample data, even if it is necessary to have more than one interface for single Analytics.
d. The header-names and sample data should be relevant, and all look and feel details of all.

3. In Dashboard KPI & OLAP:

a. The types of Visuals, specific type of Charts/Graphs.
b. The columns for dimensions and measures.
c.  The user specific KPI sets and nature and number of expansion in OLAP report.

5. Create Documented Best Practices/Guidelines :

Designing a software solution is an art of amalgamating the business process,software platforms and business information into a best possible fashion. The business requirements, the functionality supported by the BI Platform and budget and resource allocated to the project or module are the key parameters to be considered while designing the BI Solution.

User Experience is always driven by easiness and intuitiveness of the user-interface available either by default or through the customization. So, create the standard and the best combination of Layouts, Colors, Fonts and labels. Preciseness of the business information brings up greater user-acceptance and helps in gaining the higher ROI. So consider these points while conceptualizing the BI Solution.Keep the appropriate type of charts or graphs and other visuals and it is great idea to keep the uniformity of chart type for better presentation, readability and easiness.

To bring all of them into reality, some standard practices are taken into action. Apart from tertiary documents, two main documents are created to support the development process or stage and they are SRS(Software Requirement Specifications) and DDS. All core technical stuffs like the Architecture details & diagrams, details about the finalized software platforms and other associated software components are placed inside SRS. All design related details including summary of functionality from FDS, a report/analytics/KPI/OLAP specific screenshot taken from the Prototype, data-fields details, SQL statement or procedure names to be used in designing the report object are placed into DDS. These document are generally designed, updated or altered by senior techno-functional resources along with Technical/Solution Architect or Solution Designer.

It is a time to look for the resources of different skills sets depending upon the project size and readiness of other related software environments like transaction system and Data Warehouse. If Data Warehouse and Data marts are the parts of BI solution then start sub-project and it requires BI resources of different skill set. Considering the complexity of the BI Platform, it is always a great strategy to have specialized team of Data Warehouse just like the BI Developers team.

The actual report or Analytics/KPI/OLAP designing process can be divided into two parts – data modeling and interface designing. In Ad-Hoc reports designing, check or update the query given inside the DDS and make it fully compatible with all changes added till now and use the same for report designing. The designing of Analytics and OLAP varies from BI Platform to Platform but the fundamental steps always remain same. Against each requirement set given inside the FDS and summarized inside DDS, all associated data points logically mapped to the database-fields are taken from DDS. If they are not there, the request to get the same can be raised to the Project Manager or to Team Lead for the earliest update. The testing team or member is informed putting all other members into the loop for the completion of each of the report object. In my opinion, it is great and imperative practice to use Enterprise Social Networking sites for this kind of collaborative updates.

6. Create Simple And Intuitive User Manuals:

Users always love to have a comprehensive, intuitive and visuals-oriented User Guide/Manual and it is better idea to start designing the same once the developmental efforts starts and complete only when all the solution gets ready for production testing. Any change in the functionality and screens placed inside the report objects namely Reports, Analytics and Dashboard should be updated whenever the new changes are added or updated. It gives a really updated and compact User Manual. The feedback or suggestion regarding the contents and types of details looking can be taken in collaborative ways using an Enterprise Social Networking Platform.


7. Leverage Enterprise Social Platforms:

Organizations have started adopting the Enterprise Social Networking as a core Collaborative Platform. Create an intra-organizational community or group to start with putting the updates about the BI solution, different technical updates and request for the feedback from the user an peoples across the organization. This is next generation method of delivering the solution considering the interests of all users and group of users. If the Enterprise Social Networking is not implemented or still in pipeline stage, this step can be avoided but same can be leveraged later on whenever it becomes ready for use.

8. Create Testing and UAT/UWT Plans:
Now, it is time to test the smart efforts placed so far. Create the Test-Cases covering all functionality mentioned and detailed inside all three documents SRS, FDS and DDS. It is always better to have very comprehensive Test Cases against each of the module or one deliverable unit. If there is more than one module to be tested, follow the approach of catching one at time. The defects or errors reported during the first iteration/testing should be fixed before moving into another iteration of testing. And, the same approach should be follow for rest of the modules. It will remove 100% of all technical defects and 99.5 % of functional issues or defects. Now, schedule a UAT with internal Business Analysts & BI/Solution Architect and users and incorporate all defects reported during these activities. After this, schedule a session with all users, CXO and people connected in this project and present the solution for feedback mostly for functional correctness and easiness . This process is UAT (User Acceptance Test) and UWT (User Walk Through).

Now, time to add the final beatification to the solution. All change requests from UAT and suggestion gathered through Enterprise Social Networking sites should be incorporated before moving the solution into production stage or LIVE. The UAT/UWT should be iterated depending upon the quantum of the suggestion or feedback on previous UAT/UWT. It is possibly great idea to take the solution into production on modular basis.

9. Conduct Interactive Sessions:
When the fixes are added for all change requests, take the solution into production stage or LIVE and repeat the testing of all functionality and features to make ensure that whatever were passed on stage/testing environment are available in production environment too. After that, a final interactive/intuitive presentation can be prepared. It can include the videos presentation with audio. Publish this also into Enterprise Social Networking Sites for comments and suggestions. All suggestions, feedback and comments by target BI solution users and other associated team member are incorporated inside the final Presentation and Video to be presented in Final UWT. The final copy with latest updates can be made available to all through mail or using Social Networking Sites.

10. Schedule Final UWT :
Now, it is time to predict and discuss the actual values addition of the BI Solution and its future road-map to get the higher ROI. Schedule a final-combined meeting session with all Business Analysts associated in the project, CXO, end-users, power-users and Enterprise Solution Architect or Business Architect. Time to present the finalized Audio-Video Presentations, Power Point Presentations of all ready modules to educate users in best way about the solution and working steps. It should include the roadmap of the BI solution and strategies to get the higher ROI from the solution. All the best.

Author: Amrit Chhetri, http://about.me/achhertrib