It used to be that a corporation or enterprise could dictate software and technology solutions and expect users and team members to fall in line. Whether the solution was user-friendly or supportive of an end-user’s role, the employee had no say in adopting and embracing the software and using it for everyday business analysis.
Today, users play a very important role in informing the direction technology will take within an organization. Their lives as consumers teach them to expect performance, mobility, ease-of-use and interaction, and they expect no less from a business application. When it comes to Business Intelligence Reporting, the scenario is the same. If an organization wishes to cascade strategy and hold employees accountable for results, they must provide sophisticated tools that are easy to use and can provide early warning systems so that users can identify trends, patterns and issues and stay ahead of the competition.
But, diverse roles and requirements can challenge even the most adept organization. So, no matter how hard the business tries to provide appropriate tools, many companies find it difficult to satisfy every user. An executive needs concise, timely reporting and information to get an overview of performance, while a plant or sales manager needs the details, displayed in a way that is meaningful to their role and can be personalized to their needs.
From IT professionals and analysts to casual users, executives, managers, international teams and functional users, the need to integrate and analyze data is constant and varied.
In order to fully leverage the disparate databases, legacy systems and best-of-breed solutions and place this information in the hands of every user, the organization must think long and hard about detailed requirements. Buying and implementing a behemoth, inflexible system will create a nightmare of lengthy and expensive deployment and discourage users from adopting the system so ROI and TCO will suffer.
Then, there are the diverse needs for reporting and alerts. From hard copies, presentations, email alerts, and shared reporting to structured and ad hoc queries, OLAP and graphical OLAP reporting, exception reporting, and data mining, a true business intelligence reporting solution must anticipate growth and be flexible enough to satisfy the needs of today and tomorrow.
One of the most critical things a business must understand about business intelligence and reporting software is that requirements change. In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, the manager of one division will have a different need from the team leader or employee in another department or division and those needs will change every day and sometimes every hour. Reporting tools and software must be able to meet the needs for every type of report and data display you can imagine, and then some. There is no way to tell exactly what an employee will need to know, nor how quickly they will be required to produce results.
In order to meet these demands, a business intelligence tool must be flexible to the unique needs and role of the employee and to the day and time they use the reporting software. The employee must be able to personalize the dashboard, establish specific exception reporting and alerts and make changes – all without the assistance of an analyst or an IT professional. Otherwise, they won’t be able to meet deadlines or they will produce reports that are not timely, accurate or concise. In today’s rapidly changing business market and technology environment, every business needs reporting software and business intelligence tools that provide data that is integrated from disparate systems and sources and is mobile, affordable, intuitive and can be quickly and easily changed, and upgraded.