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Searching for Business Insights

Business Insight today, lists at the highest in the wish-list of world’s most executives across industries.  Because they have reached at the stark realization that though their business managers might be burning the midnight oil to try and retain their company’s competitiveness, reduce uncertainties, and toiling hard to make their firm ‘future-proof’, they seem always missing the mark.

But companies continue to misunderstand the true story behind the numbers—a reality that translates directly into a growing number of financial restatements, serious strategic missteps, or worse. Despite a generation of investment and effort, their financial analysis and reporting often miss the mark.

This is the saga everywhere.

Knowing what has happened is no longer adequate. Business leaders assert that they need to know more about--what is happening now, what is likely to happen next and what actions they should take.

Having no choice but to look at business analytics to know more & better of their own companies, they are realigning their strategic objectives with sound IT strategy.  Re-emphasized importance of seeking business insights, calls for a different approach to their strategic IT deployment.

No longer it does matter that whether you are a boardroom executive or a front-line operation manager, the uncertain economy has highlighted the necessity—and the benefits—of making informed decisions. To cut costs, streamline operations, and fuel continual process improvements, you & your employees must be empowered to make better decisions at every level in the organization. It is imperative that critical business data be accessible to all employees, so that they can perform their own analyses and freely share insights with team members. With access to relevant data, they will be able to find opportunities to operate more efficiently and grow revenues, so the company can emerge stronger from any economic environment. 

 

Key Challenges

Most organizations face three main challenges when it comes to implementing a Business Intelligence solution of any kind:

  • How to stay within budget?
  • How to meet the needs of the business without making budgetary compromises?
  • How to maintain the business intelligence solution efficiently, particularly while scaling up the solution going forward?

You may genuinely struggle to find a cost-effective Business Intelligence solution and implement it within reasonable time-frames. Sometimes many BI solutions are very expensive or sometimes they are highly resource-intensive as they may require you to maintain multiple, non-integrated systems and tools. For, a cost-effective solution that fits within your budget, you need to work within the technology infrastructure you already have in place, minimizing start-up and implementation costs.

Even greater challenge typically revolves around--how to meet the needs of end users.   For the generation of wide-spread business-insights or much better decision-making, it is imperative that you ensure the chosen business insight solution supports the skill-sets of employees across the cadre and is easily accessible to all and sundry.  It is not of much use if it is mastered by a few highly-trained users only.  If it incorporates familiar tools and user interfaces, it certainly would increase the adoption rates among all employees while reducing your training costs and time at the same time.  Nonetheless, it is paramount that it delivers relevant information when the end users need it.

Hitherto the conventional Business Intelligence implementations heavily rely on IT departments to develop reports for the end user.  More often than not, the IT department becomes a bottleneck for the rest of the company. When IT professionals have to devote time to producing ad-hoc reports, they have less time to focus on important high-value projects.  The phenomenon itself presents serious opportunity costs to the company.

Another set of challenges emerge when the Business Intelligence solution has been put in the place.  Especially of--How flexible or inflexible the inherent architecture is?   How compatible or incompatible it turns out to be in reality?  If it is not compatible enough, it would force end-users to create serious, inefficient workarounds within organization’s reporting hierarchy, compromising the system’s ability to deliver timely, accurate data.  One thing is for sure that It should be easy for you to track how your data and reports are being used, only then you would be able to move IT resources to areas of the highest need.

If you need to scale your Business Intelligence solution to meet your ongoing performance needs, then the chosen solution should be flexible enough, so that you can expand the coverage or add more capabilities to the solution. It is established that the most efficient and cost-effective solutions to maintain are those that allow you the central management of enterprise-wide workloads, and integrates within the existing IT environment, and adapts to changing business needs.

The ideal business insight solution must allow you, with a relatively small and incremental investment, to extract data from your existing IT systems and analyze that data in a variety of ways to measure performance, identify cost-cutting and growth opportunities, and increase agility.  And once implemented, Business Intelligence solution helps you improve organizational performance by meeting your company’s individual, organizational, and IT information and analytical needs. 

 

Turn Information into insights into profits

On technological side, an ideal business insight solution incorporates the following:

  • A quality RDBMS system with powerful reporting and analytics capabilities
  • Enhanced capabilities to drill through data via web browsers and to publish reports and documents to central libraries where data is easier to track, store, and manage
  • Data manipulation tools to use pre-defined data connections and data mining add-ins so analysts can quickly perform ad hoc analyses to identify real-time trends that aren’t visible in canned reports
  • Ability to create customized, interactive dashboards that collect data from multiple sources (structured and unstructured) and present it in one timely, consolidated view
  • In-built scorecards helping you to keep people aligned with goals and drive accountability
  • Well-presented mapping of your business strategy
  • Integrated collaboration tools & interfaces to allow people everywhere in the organization to easily find and share data, collaborating whenever and wherever they need to
  • Enhanced ‘predictive modeling’ capabilities, to discover subtle patterns and associations to optimize decision-making

Whether you are seeking traditional analytics using Business Intelligence solution or adding big data to the equation, you must be able to:

  • Tap into all types of information.
  • Empower people in all roles to explore and interact with information and deliver insights to others.
  • Optimize all types of decisions – whether they’re made by individuals or are embedded in automated systems -- using insights based on analytics.
  • Provide insights from all perspectives and time horizons – from historic reporting to real-time analysis to predictive modeling.
  • Improve operations, manage risk and achieve better business outcomes.
  • Guide management strategy in the most profitable directions with timely, reliable insights, scenario modeling and transparent and timely reporting.
  • Make risk-aware decisions and achieve profitable growth with smarter risk management programs and methodologies.
  • Sustain profitability and improve decision making while keeping pace with increasing regulatory demands.

Integrate with your existing Enterprise Content Management system, so as to reduce processing cycle time, improve customer service and compliance, and establish agility and flexibility.

Remember : Most companies have vast stores of content existing throughout the entire enterprise. It is estimated that 85 percent of the information managed by a typical business is in the form of unstructured "content."  Your business intelligence solution must achieve data integration between disparate systems to improve business processes and total business performance, and make intelligent decisions.

You must end up with calling -- 

Aha!  Wow!  Yes!  Now I know more about my business – more than ever.  

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