What ‘Business intelligence’ really means to project management

March 3, 2017 Steve Cuneo

The buzz words ‘Business intelligence’ are being thrown around a lot across many different industries. But what do those words really mean in terms of project management? And how does business intelligence impact your projects?

In a nutshell, business intelligence (BI) is the practice of leveraging methodologies and tools using internal and external research data to deliver actionable insights for business leaders and project managers to make informed decisions. The key here being insights that are actionable

From aggregating data and conducting benchmarking to identifying industry trends that impact your business, BI ultimately provides realities and opportunities that, when leveraged properly, can make a great impact on your projects.

Now that we understand what BI is, what can it do for you?

Business intelligence drives productivity

Business intelligence gives today’s project managers a huge advantage. In the past, project managers would have to conduct exhaustive searches or make multiple calls hoping to receive answers to their project questions. Today, BI simplifies project management tasks and increases productivity by putting the information required right at their fingertips. With the click of a button, today’s project manager can:

  • Reduce time searching for insights or answers to their client’s questions; find analytic solutions; search for best practices; and create status reports
  • Utilize data to quickly tell powerful stories
  • Establish a holistic view of information by integrating it across technology platforms

Business intelligence helps drive performance while mitigating risks

BI allows your team to perform effectively by visually identifying risk areas such as budget, schedule and data accuracy issues, using a systematic algorithm and approach. With the proper BI tools in place, such as tools for progress and performance, projects remain on schedule and the budget is closely managed. Without this governance in place, a project can easily go off the rails, resulting in lost time and dollars to the client. Standardized reporting through BI ensures everyone is aware of the project schedule and expectations throughout the project.

Business intelligence enables transparency of resources

It’s critical to get the right resources in place when it comes to project planning. You don’t want to be overstaffed and you certainly don’t want to be understaffed. A solid history of project benchmarks and complexities, applied with the right methodology and BI tools, provides project teams with transparency through visualization of the workload. Without this transparency, there is a high likelihood of negative downstream impacts to your project’s schedule and budget. The ability to select the right project manager for the right project at the right time is critical for project efficiencies.

Business intelligence delivers real value through sourcing

Having the proper BI tools in place can help project managers better negotiate with suppliers. When armed with the right benchmarking data, project managers can use data points as leverage in their negotiations, helping them get the best prices and service delivery for their clients. Having access to this type of intelligence delivers real value.

Bottom line: business intelligence is required

When leveraged properly, BI methodologies, practices and tools can make a real difference by optimizing productivity, while mitigating your risks. Be smart–make sure you have the right BI tools in place to maximize your own project effectiveness.

Want to see business intelligence in action? 



About the Author

Steve Cuneo

Steve Cuneo is a National Director of Business Intelligence for JLL's Project Management Office (PMO). His team supports and leads reporting and data analytics for both the Corporate Solutions and Markets divisions. Steve also manages the project platform’s performance metrics, dashboards, benchmarking, and resource models. He is an accomplished business intelligence professional with 12 years of expertise. Steve has a proven track record of consistently driving results, influencing critical decisions, and exceeding client expectations on multi-disciple programs, globally managed projects, and strategic initiatives.

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