Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Myths around Business Intelligence

Business intelligence has been around for many years, but for many, business intelligence(BI) is just a reporting tool; BI is much more than that. There are other various myths circulating around BI that many owners are not clear as to what is right or wrong about reporting. We tried to list some of the common myths that we have heard :

1. Reporting = Business Intelligence : Just running static report is not business intelligence. It can be one BI model but there are several more. Timely alerts (daily/hourly or at the time of events) is a good model to delivery intelligence out of data. Dash boarding with a user friendly view of KPIs is the most widely used form of business intelligence - dashboards give a quick view of important metrics. Dashboards can be used to drill down from any KPI and get into the granular level of metrics. Self service ad hoc reporting, which is generally used by super users, is another way to go beyond traditional business intelligence reporting and get a lot out of company’s data. With ad hoc reporting users can interactively explore data from different sources and get answers to specific questions not answered by reports or dashboards.

2. Manual reporting is better than BI: In manual reporting, every manager will put forth the numbers that suits their territory if departmental managers generate reports. If IT Team generates manual report, then they may not have expertise or knowledge to pull key KPIs. In manual reporting reports are at the whim of who creates the report, higher management will not have a consistent view of what is going on in the organization. Management may not get drill down view along with high level numbers and data. In case of BI reporting, management does not have to rely on someone else to organize all the data. They will always have all the reports and information on their screen any time they need.

3. Implementation Takes a Long Period of Time : Business intelligence on ground up projects, can have a long implementation cycle - that’s where companies need to look at packaged applications. Packaged applications, like Advanz101's solutions, have built-in functionality for pharma and retail sectors. The functionality and key metrics are already baked in the solution - this reduces analysis and implementation effort hence reducing the cycle time.

4. BI is too Costly: For most solutions in the market, if you add hardware cost, development cost and license cost; overall costs can be high, but with Advanz101 that’s not the case. We take a different approach - we do not charge perpetual license fee, take minimal implementation time, and offer flexibility in deployment (cloud and in-house) - which ensures cost effective solutions. Companies should also look at Return on Investment from BI deployment. ROI from BI can be in the form of increased revenue, profit enhancement, decreased cost, and cost avoidance.

5. The Most Popular BI Tool is the Right for My Organization : In BI one size does not fit all. The hype around popular solutions does not necessarily translate to be the best for your needs. BI solutions should be evaluated to see if they will address your specific requirements, along with compatibility and scalability. Organization might set itself for failure if only popular vendors are looked at.

6. Business intelligence is not a priority: Companies always have burning issues and other top priorities - idea of long, costly implementation is painful. But as stated above, BI solution does not need to be long or costly. Having good BI reporting should be company’s number 1 priority. Proper reporting will give company’s visibility into the business like they never had before. BI can help in fixing problems, find areas of improvement, uncover what is working for the company (to replicate elsewhere), free resources from manual reporting, give timely information to help make key decisions.

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