Business Intelligence (BI) supports technologies for data analysis and provision of historical, current and predictive views of business operations across the enterprise.

BI has evolved from data collecting into a more advanced business discipline. BI provides the capability to manage large volumes of complex structured and sometimes unstructured data to identify, develop and otherwise create new strategic business opportunities. BI is commonly used, by executives and managers, to access and evaluate performance insights and data relationships of production and support activities and allow quick interpretation, uncover new opportunities, and drive implementation of time-sensitive strategic and tactical decisions.

BI Strategy & Charter

BI tools are numerous and variable in cost, features, configurations, and support services and can prove complicated in an RFP / RFI selection process. Best-in-class organizations typically commence the selection with the creation of a focused BI Strategy and Charter to support successful selection, adoption, and deployment of a BI solution in total alignment with corporate business and technology strategies. Additionally, a methodology is typically identified, at this stage, to guide the project life cycle. The Agile methodology is an industry best practice and the choice of organizations with a professional project management office (PMO).

BI Requirements

Selecting the most appropriate BI solution involves the set-up of a formal RFP / RFI / Due Diligence program or team to methodically evaluate the top industry-recognized BI solutions with a focus on the functionality features, technical capabilities and vendor reputation for quality and success.

Key BI requirements that are generally included in selection evaluations encompass:

Compound Reporting: This feature supports interactive reporting and what-if analysis eliminates the need to integrate with third-party reporting tools.

Evolution: This feature is the capability of the BI solution to expand and accommodate changes.

Import: This feature allows users to merge data from other organizational business applications. For example, graphs and charts are integral to BI visualization tools and need to integrate into reports.

Mapping: This feature supports the use of geographical data in an easy-to-interpret, at-a-glance manner.

Multiple Data Sources: This feature support access to a variety of data sources. For example, data sources such as data warehouses, data marts, SQL servers, etc.

Multiple-Device / Environment: This feature supports user experience across multiple devices and technical environments.

Open Architecture: This feature supports a BI solution built on open architecture.

Real-time Data Access – Self Service: This feature supports the delivery of fresh, self-service data.

Security: This feature supports a user privilege parameter to provide setting limits on who can access, export and edit files, spreadsheets and graphs.

Smart Alerts: This feature provides pre-defined alerts via modern messaging tools.

BI Benefits

There are many reasons why organizations adopt and deploy a BI approach and many ways these tools are put to work to significantly benefit the organization.

The key benefits realized from successful BI deployment encompass:

  • Better business decisions
  • Boost productivity
  • Faster reporting, analysis or planning
  • Gain insights into consumer behavior
  • Improve visibility
  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Improve data quality
  • Improve employee satisfaction
  • Improve operational efficiency
  • Increase competitive advantage
  • Increase revenues
  • More accurate reporting, analysis or planning
  • Obtain sales & market intelligence
  • Reduce costs
  • Turn data into actionable information