Business Intelligence

The business intelligence (BI) solution market has expanded and deepened, with new products, features and modules added every month. Some solutions are cumbersome, expensive and time-consuming to implement and adopt. Other solutions are browser-based, intuitive and flexible. Some BI tools are easy to learn, and practical and affordable to implement with great ROI and TCO. But, when a business is considering a business intelligence solution or if a business wants to migrate to or upgrade from another BI system, how can the management team determine the efficacy, efficiency and practicality of that solution without spending significant time and resources?The fact is that business intelligence solutions may have sophisticated features, but those features may be inaccessible to the average user or may require that users modify how they work to suit the process and flow of the system. The solution may be difficult to integrate, thereby disallowing data from other enterprise sources like ERP, CRM, SCM systems, HR solutions, legacy systems, or other disparate data sources. A BI solution might not support flexible reporting or allow for quick and easy customization to meet new needs.

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So, what good is a business intelligence solution if it isn’t easy to use, sophisticated enough to provide appropriate analytics and powerful and fast enough to support deep dive technology that brings together all information for timely, confident decisions? The short answer to this question is that such a solution isn’t very good at all! And, nowhere is that fact illustrated more clearly than in the statistics that reflect the use of BI in the average enterprise. Two studies of BI usage within the enterprise – one completed in 2005 and one completed in 2013 – reveal that less than 25% of the enterprise actually uses business intelligence on a regular basis, and that a very large percentage of the businesses that implemented BI describe their implementations as ‘failures’.

The glaring question here is, ‘how do we fix this problem?’ How do we optimize the powerful analytical features in a business intelligence solution and put that information at the fingertips of willing users to create customized, meaningful reports and display data in a way that empowers them and makes them accountable for success in their little corner of the enterprise?

To change the landscape of the business intelligence market and satisfy a broad base of businesses, industries, functions and users, a BI solution must give users:

DemocratizationBI democratization enables small, medium and large businesses to employ the powerful features of a business intelligence solution without restrictive licensing costs, training costs or schedules or restricted access to the BI solution or to data originating in other enterprise systems.

Deep Dive Technology – So users can get to data, ask difficult questions and solve complex problems with ad hoc analysis and a large range of data operations. Users should be able to explore and discern value from data, with unlimited dimensions, and on-the-fly data additions from finance, inventory of other departments, As well as ranking, filtering, sorting, and computed data at a summary detail level.

Independence – Businesses and users need complete freedom to use business intelligence in a flexible environment with data and displays that enable users to change what they need, how they need to see it, what kind of data and formats they want for reports and just about anything else – on the fly, every day for every need! True independence means that users can design KPIs and customize dashboards, without relying on IT staff or analysts, and they can leverage the BI solution on every type and size of mobile device or desktop, and on any operating system.

If the business intelligence solution market truly wants to serve its customers, it must provide comprehensive, sophisticated (yet simple) tools that are practical to implement and use and can be easily customized to meet the needs of an ever changing business environment. Business Intelligence solution providers that meet and exceed these requirements will be more successful and these solutions will improve user adoption and satisfaction as well as enterprise and competitive success for businesses – no matter how large or small.

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