The whole point of gathering intelligence is that it enables you to make better informed decisions. And so it is with business intelligence; the more data, facts and stats you have, the better they are sliced, diced and segmented, the more you know about how your business works and reacts.
But it’s how you use that information that matters – not how it’s gathered. “Having the right information, easily accessible, is the most important thing as it allows businesses to make informed and innovative decisions,” said Scott Graham on dynamicbusiness.com.
“Some systems even allow what can be called ‘social business discovery’, whereby users can make collaborative decisions. After all, no one makes decisions just based on hard numbers, they also factor in information from the world around them, including conversations with others.”
He called it a ‘self-service BI experience’, “serving the business like never before – all while assuring strict data security, quality and governance.”
But how many businesses are using BI to this full effect? Dominic Parsons thinks too few. “When you get past the snazzy charts, analytic epiphanies and one versions of the truth, the single key to successful Business Intelligence is adoption,” he says. “That means as many people as possible in your organisation getting at-will access to the information that they need to be successful in making your organisation successful.”
He added that a lot of Business Intelligence spend is focused on the production of information, not on guaranteeing its effective use. “IT departments and finance folks toil away daily to pump out various analyses, views, datasources and data sets and push them to the point of release. After that, most dust their hands satisfied that they have done everything they can do
“If adoption is the key, why don’t we spend even a fraction of the time we’ve spent producing and distributing these analytic ‘objects’, making certain they are adopted? Why aren’t we learning from those usage profiles to become more effective in driving adoption – seeing what the greats do, sharing that with the not-so-greats and even learning to ignore what the greats determine is just not important?”
Scott Graham agrees. Proper use of BI – company-wide – can really help when it comes to making critical decisions. “If you want to implement a successful BI programme in your organisation stop talking about the problem, but rather focus on delivering the end result,” he says
Michael Koploy, an ERP analyst, goes one step further. He reckons BI can be used to help a business achieve a whole swathe of policies and practices such as greater levels of CSR, including sustainable business practices. And it’s being driven by the ‘consumerisation’ of BI.
“For years, companies have been able to conserve energy, hold regional operations accountable for their emissions and energy usage and become more profitable through the use of BI software,” he said. “Traditionally, BI applications required a lot of IT involvement to get up and running. And even then, they required a sophisticated analyst to make use of them. A casual user wouldn’t be able to use them effectively. However, the “consumerisation” of BI tools is leading to increased use among sustainability teams–without IT’s involvement.
Has the ‘consumerisation’ of BI helped you implement it company-wide, seeing a greater degree of collaboration – and better decision-making – as a result?
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