Business Intelligence – More Accessible for Companies and Departments of Every Size
BI software and tools are no longer reserved for the large enterprise. The flexible, cost effective BI tools available today, are designed to satisfy the functional and budgetary requirements of the Small and Medium Enterprise and will easily conform to any industry, market, or product or service context.
Many organisations launch BI projects in a business unit, department or division, and manage the installation and make use of the tools without the assistance of company technology teams. This autonomous implementation allows the enterprise technology team to focus on other critical tasks, while the department manager and employees can immediately leverage the value of the BI application and achieve results. By selecting appropriate BI tools and services, small and medium companies, and corporate departments and divisions can take advantage of the rich features of BI Systems without exceeding their budget or waiting for years to obtain the BI system they need today. If a company or business division can avoid the expense and lengthy implementation of a large footprint BI system, it can quickly capitalise on the advantages provided by accurate Business Intelligence and thereby improve business results.
It’s true that data cleansing and transformation effort will always be required in order to make all of the disparate information within an organisation accessible and meaningful; but emerging BI solutions provide the power user with a visual, user friendly interface designed to enable many data manipulation exercises to be performed within the product itself. This can often be done by the user themselves, perhaps with a little assistance from the vendor’s technical support team, or their partnering organisations. This capability delivers real value to businesses, regardless of size and sector, eliminating the need for complex, costly and time-consuming programming projects – just to prepare the data for analysis. It can also eliminate the need for unnecessary substantial investment in IT infrastructure – meaning the already impressive return on investment through BI toolsets can be even higher.
Business Intelligence - Solving Problems at Every Level
It is easy to understand the value of Business Intelligence to corporate executives but, in fact, BI solutions can add value at every level of the organisation.
Executive BI - Senior executives can use BI to develop and alter strategy, and to monitor high level business results, from revenue per product and product line, to new product investment and timing. Most companies believe they can control all business issues and manage results without the assistance of Business Intelligence. In fact, it is impossible to maintain a thorough understanding of a business without the appropriate tools. Without BI tools, it is difficult to find the right information, for easy analysis. Even if corporate executives employ a team of analysts to provide reports and summary information, finding the right information and presenting it in the right format is still a daunting task. To perform a manual analysis of business information, analysts must engage technology professionals to extract data and create reports, and then discard any extraneous data. From these results they must then develop graphics, metrics and summaries to report their findings. If these analysts do not understand the location and format of all the necessary data, they risk critical omission.
Middle Management and Integrated Organisational BI - It is not difficult to understand the importance of BI tools in the modern, competitive, global market. Many companies are now expanding their use of BI tools beyond the board room, enabling middle managers and line staff to make better decisions and to provide simple, organised information to other departments, and to executives. Consider the information and knowledge maintained in various organisational functions.
Using key BI tools throughout the enterprise can greatly increase organisational success, and the quality of business decisions at every level of the company. Middle managers and tactical line managers can be more responsive and productive, and senior executives can implement and adjust goals and strategic objectives with full confidence.
Business Intelligence – Data Sources
Business Intelligence is gathered from a variety of sources including customer data, competitor information, partner and channel results, historical financial and seasonal product data, staffing, training and skills information, workforce management, strategic plans, target demographics and customer data, and other sources. As a company gathers this data, it can develop valuable baseline information, and establish Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to monitor results and make strategic course corrections. The BI applications in use today offer simple reporting and query tools, online analytical processing (OLAP) functionality and the ability to trend and forecast data, and satisfy operations and line management informational requirements. Some organisations explore their data using data warehouse “mining” tools. However, data and information may also come from legacy systems, ERP, CRM or SCM applications, spreadsheets, system logs, integrated reporting tools, time and project management applications, and contact management tools.
The power of BI tools allows users to extract data, and transform the data into multidimensional cubes. The cubes are then queried to develop reports, perform OLAP analysis, and produce executive dashboard information to meet specific business needs. In today’s competitive market, gathering and analysing targeted Business Intelligence is critical to business success. Some technology research firms estimate that more than 30% of global companies will fail within the next three years, specifically because they do not have the tools to analyse critical information and make timely, effective business decisions.echo " ";