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Using Business Intelligence to Uncover Areas of Myopic Corporate Vision

January 24, 2012 No Comments

By David A. Kelly and Heather Ashton, Upside Research

eyeball my Using Business Intelligence to Uncover Areas of Myopic Corporate VisionBusiness intelligence has performed well as a corporate housecleaning agent – reducing the inefficiencies related to manual data entry for report creation and corporate ‘Excel farms’ creating one-off reports to satisfy individual stakeholders. Stories and examples abound counting the ways that automated reporting and analytic dashboards have provided an insight previously not possible across the distributed global enterprise.

Now, however, it is time for business intelligence to move closer to its ultimate goal of shedding light on all the dark corners of an enterprise’s data stores. New technologies, such as mobile accessibility, and better integration capabilities that can extract and normalize data from multiple, disparate legacy systems are features of the latest crop of business intelligence tools that reveal the promise for companies to seek a previously unavailable level of insight into their businesses, and drive top-line growth along with the standard cost-savings associated with BI and analytic tools.

The umbrella of business intelligence is far reaching, encompassing tools such as query, reporting and analysis, advanced analytics, financial performance and strategy management, CRM analytics, supply chain analytics, workforce analytics, and data warehouse platforms. At the highest level, the market is led by solutions from vendors including IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, SAP AG and SAS.  This article takes a closer look at how two of those vendors, IBM and Oracle, are positioning themselves in the broader business intelligence market.

IBM has bundled its business intelligence efforts into Business Analytics and Optimization, or BAO, and created an extensive offering around analytics. Built on the goal of collecting multiple sources of data in real-time, discovering actionable insights from that data, and then optimizing business results, the goal is to provide a single view of the customer (internal or external) by using dashboards to gain immediate insight. IBM combines Business Analytic software (BI, GRC, predictive analytics, financial performance management) with Information management (content management and data warehousing) and IBM services to share best practices in specific industries.

Oracle offers its Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition, enabling companies to apply BI to new areas across a business to attain actionable insight, making business decisions that drive growth and change. By creating a Common Enterprise Information Model, users can access data from any enterprise data source (legacy included) and interact with that information in multiple ways, including interactive dashboards, mobile devices, collaboration workspaces, or within their favorite applications such as ERP or CRM. Real-time access to business-critical data can be used across a global organization to make positive business decisions at the speed of the market.

These two examples highlight some of the new sweet spots for enterprise business intelligence. They provide a way of accessing data from many different sources, some of them legacy, some of them external to the company. Since data is the true corporate asset that can be invaluable when harnessed and leveraged, creating a single, normalized view of that data is significant to driving business advantage. In addition, these solutions add new ways of interacting with that data, ways that help meet a user where they are most comfortable, whether it be via a mobile device for a distributed sales force, or through web-based interactive dashboards, or even in the power application that a user is most commonly living. And, finally, these solutions seek to raise the bar of business intelligence and analytics beyond reading and interpreting reports to putting information at business leaders’ fingertips to make real-time, informed decisions that will drive the direction of the business.

Naturally, these solutions are not for the faint of heart. Their implementation is typically extensive and requires a commitment to each vendor’s interpretation of the business intelligence and analytics of the future. However, from the compelling case studies that we’ve read and customers we’ve spoken with, it’s clearly a future that offers significant ROI opportunities for the enterprises that make the commitment. And, given the broad reach of this technology across industries, it is very possible that you may find one of your closest competitors using this to gain the edge over you in the near future.

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