Business Intelligence Strategy Development

One of the pinnacle offerings of The Knowlton Group is our Business Intelligence/Data Strategy development. Many financial institutions know they can do more with their data, but they don’t quite know how or where to start.

Why do I need a business intelligence strategy?

The financial industry yields a wealth of potential as it relates to business intelligence and developing a successful, sustainable data strategy. However, these financial institutions typically do not have the in-house expertise and skills to define and execute a successful business intelligence strategy. Credit unions and banks that are able to successfully develop a sustainable business intelligence strategy are able to gain significant competitive advantages including:

  • Reduce operational and reporting inefficiencies typically resulting in several FTE savings
  • Gain a 360-degree view of the customer due to data centralization and integration
  • Improved understanding of customer demographics and product utilization leading to greater marketing and new product ROI
  • Analytic models improve strategic decision-making based off of data-backed evidence instead of gut feelings
  • Reduce fraud and card breach exposure through transaction-level analysis of credit and debit cards
  • Dashboards and visual representations of data allow for data to be better understood and digested by decision-makers.
Credit Union Business Intelligence Feasibility Matrix

Sample Feasibility Matrix

While there are many benefits that a business intelligence strategy can deliver, the aforementioned are but a few of the most valuable that credit unions can yield.

Most strategic consultants have the sole ability to provide recommendations as to what path financial institutions should take. Rarely can a strategic consulting engagement provide a turn-key solution; the strategy and roadmap can be defined while also providing the necessary technical skills to implement the recommended solutions.

“Brewster Knowlton, from a customer’s perspective: When you need to maximize your investments in technology; but just don’t have the bandwidth to do it all yourself, you reach out to consultants. Or as was the case with The Knowlton Group, I discovered an SME that I could partner with to meet my goals and still keep the bottom line where it belongs, at the bottom of the pile. After all, there are equally important things to focus on, spending too much on a project is not one of them when you align with the right people.

Brewster’s knowledge of all things SQL was very noticeable during the vendor selection phase of our DR Enhancement Project. However, what I personally witnessed during the very first meeting and each subsequent one after that, was an extremely talented mastery of the systems and tools that Brewster was intimately familiar with. That’s an understatement, as I saw the commands, creation of stored procedures, new tables, ETLs, queries, and methods of displaying the data flow from his mind, through the keyboard and onto our screens. This is what Information is supposed to be, meaningful, concise, and helpful. Not buried in an endless array of numbers and letters that overwhelm even the brightest people.

Instead of selling us on the idea that we had to buy more tools that required even greater breadth of knowledge on a subject we had very little expertise in, Brewster demonstrated the hidden gems within our existing licenses. An encounter with Brewster did not pass without me recognizing that I had finally hit the jackpot with regards to finding the right resource to take us to the next level.

It would be enough to stop there; but I have to acknowledge another skill set of his that is seldom seen in DBA’s of his caliber. Brewster can really present. I mean, organize a presentation to help others see what they need to be shown, express it in a way that is comprehended by all levels of the organization, and really sell it. Attending numerous presentations that were lead by Brewster gave me the distinct privilege of seeing what else he had up his sleeve. He was engaging, informative, professional, and to the point.

I know who I’m going to call on for my next database project.”

-Scott White, Director of Applications at Saratoga Hospital

What is the outcome of the business intelligence strategy engagement?

The engagement is broken up in several phases. The first is the initial consultation, a multi-day onsite engagement, where we meet with your executive and key operational staff to determine your business intelligence and data-driven goals along with the current business intelligence environment at your financial institution.

At the end of the initial consultation, we will produce a final document that will include the following:

  • Complete assessment of the current business intelligence strategy if one exists.
  • Complete assessment of key application data sources including data silos manually compiled or managed within specific departments. This is referred to as the “Data Inventory”.
  • Detailed analysis of the future goals for the financial institution’s business intelligence strategy as they have described in several days’ worth of interviews with the management team.
  • A completely new or revised business intelligence strategy based on discussions with management and operational staff.
    • This new strategy will be accompanied by an eighteen to thirty-six roadmap detailing key milestones that need to be accomplished at various points in time to achieve the goals set forth.
    • These milestones may include technical implementations (i.e. data warehouse/data marts), skill development milestones (i.e. staff trained in SQL, SSIS, SSRS, Crystal Reports, etc.), and/or hiring and organizational milestones (i.e. Business Intelligence department creation, hire a SQL Developer, etc.).
  • Technical proposals and solution recommendations to accompany the newly defined business intelligence strategy:
    • Data Mart/Data Warehouse project SOW proposal for credit union to consider along with estimated cost
    • “Quick Wins” – these include smaller projects (often less than $10,000) that can yield significant operational savings. These often include small projects to automate key recurring reporting processes or reduce manual efforts involved in key operational processes. Typical payback period for these projects is less than six months (often calculated via FTE savings).

Future DMVC

“Brewster Knowlton is extremely knowledgeable, easy to work with and service oriented. I have worked with Brewster on individual data mining requirements. He seeks to understand needs and intended uses of the data requested and then provides solutions, advice and alternatives based on his expertise and understanding of the project requirements”

-David J Gosstola CPA, MBA, executive at a Top 50 Credit Union

After the initial consultation, we can develop any technical solutions recommended as part of the new business intelligence strategy that your organization needs assistance with. Our continued technical assistance is coupled with our strategic support throughout all phases of the business intelligence strategy roadmap. Quarterly reviews ensure that all milestones are met or to determine if the roadmap needs to be adjusted.

Our goal is to become your partner throughout all facets of your new business intelligence strategy and ensure that all of your goals are met and exceeded!


For more details on the business intelligence strategy engagement and more detailed documentation about the offering, please contact Brewster Knowlton at brewster@knowlton-group.com.

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