Successful business operations require quick retrieval and analysis of accurate enterprise data as essential components. Easier said than done, right? Maybe not.
Whether organizations realize it or not, Business Intelligence (BI) is practiced internally on a daily basis, in some form or another. At the same time, when evaluating, implementing or managing powerful tools like SAP BusinessObjects as a solution to BI needs, most companies face similar questions: Where does BI fit? How does it fit with ERP? Should ERP be implemented first? How is it deployed? What do you deploy? What metrics should be considered?
While these and other questions alike are all very important, in order to answer them correctly, businesses need to constantly take a holistic approach to BI. The key is not to make your business fit to BI, but to make BI fit to your business.
Let’s look at it from an ERP standpoint. In the past, present and future, many companies employ data analysts to devote time and effort organizing high volumes of disjointed information across organizational spreadsheets. But, this activity often leaves the analysts no time to do any actual analysis. This is in part where ERP comes in, providing companies with a good system for inputs. Pertinent data is entered into the system throughout company networks—at every level of enterprise activity—from HR to finance and from procurement and production to CRM to shipping.
The next step is to then do something with all of this valuable data. This is where true BI strategy comes in, laying it on top or mapping the data to run the business. This is essentially ERP amplified for maximum efficiency and value, working as a system of outputs to improve the business with better decision making.
However, it isn’t just about visualizing your enterprise information. It’s more about extracting the transformation of data from disparate systems; matching and cleansing data fields and records; and handling data loading and error recovery for applications and databases. Imagine how much better your decision making would be if you could validate the accuracy and completeness of your trusted data and access all of it regardless of where it resides, while maintaining consistency across all data sources.
By mapping out core business decision making processes and aligning them with tailored Business Intelligence processes, companies can visualize and think about BI the right way—as a true, value-added solution to solving problems, not just a data aggregating tool.
When implementing, enhancing or simply better engaging in BI, a smart IT professional will consider the end users. They’ll factor in technical skill levels and ask about their requirements, what data will be needed most, and how it should be formatted. itelligence’s approach is a fundamental driver to successful implementations. For example, we help coach customers through the big picture issues to think about how to unlock trapped information and view data in timely, easy-to-understand, and relevant terms; become less reactive and more proactive with decision making processes; gain real-time access to information versus processes that typically took hours or even days, creating competitive advantages and significant increases in productivity and efficiency; leverage better, timelier information to streamline operations, consolidate and analyze financial trends, provide visibility into sales and sales forecasting, and expose hidden problem areas to the people who can address them faster than ever before; and achieve a return on investment within weeks of their first implementation.
No matter where your business is in the BI process, remember it’s an ongoing effort that will produce a quality of results equal to the quality of solution used and holistic plan in place to capture the unique business metrics important to your company.