The term 'Big Data' covers virtually all articles about information technology and management information. The candidates for the Dutch BI Award have also shown in recent years that they are serious about Big Data. But what exactly is Big Data? Many, including myself, struggle with the term. There is a lot of confusion about Big Data because there is no generally accepted definition. We all know that it has to deal with large volumes of data involving fast processing time and several different manifestations. This doesn't say much, because what is a large volume? What is fast and what are several different manifestations?
Customer-oriented business is crucial when it comes to CRM and the proper approach to the customer. Much has been written about customer-oriented business, but actually putting it into practice remains difficult. In this article, Dick Pouw presents the 7 main causes and provides tips on how to deal with it. By Dick Pouw, Associate Partner with Passionned Group If you want a successful customer-oriented business, it should be clear what you stand for. The client's vision must be inspiring for employees, customers, and other stakeholders of an organization. This must be the dot on the horizon, where everyone can work towards. Employees, customer-oriented processes, and the supporting systems should be focused on this goal.
If you want actionable management information, you need genuine KPIs. To ensure that users understand the information as quickly as possible and that they can define actions, the Intelligent Organization will have to take into account a number of generic requirements (see below) that should be imposed on management information and key performance indicators: Keep the number of indicators manageable. Not too many, not too few. A rule of thumb here is: it's better to have set of four meaningful KPIs than to have forty indicators showing arbitrary information. Initially, managers as well as employees seem to need a lot of information to be able to steer well. Research has shown that managers who are capable of scanning a wide range of information perform better. Question is, though: does this mean they also need a wide range of indicators?
Through carefully examining the business processes, the horizontal business-driven approach offers insight into the added value of an organization and on how we can measure the performance of activities. The business processes are an important point of action for defining the information needs and for improving the organization’s performance. Practical experience also shows this: business processes form a significant point of engagement for the mapping of information needs. In this way, we obtain the ‘certainty’ that the information we need is actually relevant for the people that are part of these processes or who are responsible for them. “Every company on earth consists of processes. Processes are what companies do.”(Hammer, 1995).
A higher level of maturity requires a well thought out and integral form of Business Intelligence. After all, maturity level 2 already requires data integration from various sources - different tasks and processes now need to be aligned. To be able to perform tasks better, we frequently need data from parallel processes. The next two levels of maturity, ‘improving’ and ‘innovating’, demand that internal and external data, such as information about the market or about technological developments, merge.
Passionned colleagues Mark de Kort and Dick Pouw have published a white paper with that title, which is designed to help IT departments and companies become customer-focused by injecting them, as it were, with ‘Customer Care DNA’. According to the authors, customer-focus in both mind and work is a prerequisite for the survival of any IT business. “Based on my own practical experience, a lot of BI companies are stuck in a technocratic mind-set, so to speak, and have no regard for their customers,” says Dick Pouw. “In areas aside from IT, a huge amount of knowledge and experience has been built up in the field of customer focus and customer care. If that DNA can be introduced into existing IT organizations, it will close the traditional gap between them and the business side.”
How can you get a better grip on business processes and transform your company into an organization where the customer comes first? The idea of role-based portals can provide new thinking and give you a fresh perspective on your organization. Nowadays it is important for every company to put the customer first. It is all about companies listening carefully to the customer, understanding what the customer needs and ensuring that the customer’s needs are met quickly. All companies, both profit and non-profit, wish to excel in this and thus distinguish themselves from the competition.
Business Intelligence (BI) is described, both appropriately and inappropriately, as a way to ‘bring the right information in the right form at the right time to the right person’. That is right four times, but formulated very abstractly. By applying the aforementioned combination, information becomes meaningful and relevant for the end user. The practical translation shows just how complex the implementation of the combination is: the number of possible variations is in fact very large!
Mobile Business Intelligence has taken off. Market research agencies estimate that in 2015 one third of the Business Intelligence functionality is accessed on mobile devices. Our own research shows that more than half of Business Intelligence suppliers offer an app on a smartphone or tablet. Ample attention is given to the mobile functionality of Business Intelligence tools in the new edition of the Business Intelligence Tools Survey. No less than 24 new questions have been added in the field of mobile Business Intelligence to this survey, which is completely independent of the suppliers.
When people talk about agile business intelligence, then they are often talking about the software development framework Scrum: the project management perspective. Or is it about the idea that BI can make the business more agile: the business perspective. There is still little attention given to making the BI process itself more agile, faster and cheaper. Nowadays this is quite simple. Then you need to keep out the traditional builders of report factories and dashboard collections (for now), because they often have little interest in minimising reports and dashboards. Business Intelligence frameworks can help you here.
Much has been spoken and written about cloud computing, as well as about Business Intelligence (BI). You can expect a specialized BI research company and consultancy to follow developments closely and to share clear and stimulating views on various topics with you. In this way, we can help you to separate the wheat from the chaff and to make a good choice. In this article, we look at the ‘BI in the cloud’ phenomenon.
From the outside a portal looks a bit like a stained glass window. The little windows within it – the so-called portlets – represent the different parts of the portal. Portals offer direct, centralized access to relevant information and business applications through intranets or secured extranets (pull). Portals also ensure that the relevant information – or a reference to it – is sent to users (push).
Interactive analysis and OLAP is often regarded as the most important innovation in the world of Business Intelligence. The eyes of analysts and managers often begin to sparkle when they see the possibilities of interactive analysis and OLAP for the first time: “This is what we always wanted to have!” Their enthusiasm is not without reason: this powerful tool enables us to quickly and casually ‘browse’ through large volumes of data, regardless of whether we search for specific information. This allows us to quickly approach data with a varying level of detail from different angles.
We use reporting - just as dashboards - in order to display the known key success factors and the associated indicators. Both already prepared in the data warehouse. In this way, we can signal potential problems in business operations at an early stage. Reports typically provide detailed information. This is why they use both data from data marts (or cubes) and detailed data from the ‘Central Data warehouse’. Reports generally display information in charts or tables, although alternative visualizations are also possible. An example of a report is shown below.
Interactive analysis or reporting? A well-executed - business-driven – information analysis ensures that many potential decision problems are already on the ‘agenda’ and that information and goals demonstrate coherence. The indicators that are crucial for the realization of our strategy, for accomplishing our goals and for achieving our mission, are placed on the dashboard or in the reports. Interactive analysis powered by OLAP – playfully analyzing enterprise data – allows us to identify additional indicators and key success factors.
The architecture of a Business Intelligence system is guided by a good number of basic principles that specifically apply to Business Intelligence systems. A basic umbrella principle here is the well-known phenomenon of ‘structure follows function’: the indicators that are derived from either the business processes or the strategy as well as additional management information largely determine the architectural structure of the Business Intelligence system. In other words: the content of the system determines its architecture and structure.
In a recent poll among the visitors to this website, it has become clear that mobile Business Intelligence (BI) is no longer just a hype. More than 75% of those who voted, expressed that they believe that Business Intelligence will become completely mobile in the near future. This is hardly a strange outcome since the business case for mobile Business Intelligence is very strong. In addition, managers love gadgets like smartphones and tablets. The future of Business Intelligence is mobile. We asked visitors: "Business intelligence will become completely mobile in the near future".
Passionned Group offers a three day Business Intelligence Training workshop aimed at anyone interested in becoming more effective with business intelligence and bringing them up to speed with the latest business intelligence insights and novel techniques. Some of these insights include KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), data visualization, big data, mobile BI and much much more. The goal of the training for the trainee is to master these insights and techniques, allowing them to confidently apply this new knowledge to their field of expertise. The Business Intelligence training program will give you an overview of the three training days.
For the last 10 years the market has been dominated by the Business Intelligence tools IBM Cognos and SAP BusinessObjects, but Cognos with release 8 had been losing its position for the last two years. Now with the new release 10 Cognos has returned to its status as one of the leading products in the marketplace. SAS Enterprise BI Server and IBM Cognos score the most points in the 2012 BI Tools Survey.
Now that both established vendors and upstarts offer Business Intelligence solutions as on-demand services, more customers are saying yes to SaaS – gaining faster deployment, and speedier access to reporting data. Ask Dennis Hernreich, COO and CFO of Casual Male Retail Group, what his life was like before he switched to an on-demand business intelligence reporting application, and he remembers the frustration all too easily.
Jaspersoft has delivered a new release of its open-source Business Intelligence software, offering an improved user interface framework and new customization and integration capabilities geared toward developers who build the toolset into their applications. Sixty percent of the company's business comes from ISVs and developers who embed Jaspersoft within their applications, said CEO Brian Gentile, in an interview.
A lot of business intelligence vendors are selling their cloud offerings, which seems like 'heaven on earth' to us. It's cheaper, faster, more scalable and more reliable they say. But can true Business Intelligence be in the cloud? Can we draw parallels between water from the tap and Business Intelligence in the cloud? In our view it's running your business better using key information about your processes, your clients and the market. To be able to do that you should gather all kinds of data from a variety of source systems inside and outside your company network, integrate the data and transform it into information to produce insights in such a way that we can speak of 'intelligence'. Each company has it's own intelligence which can bring a real competitive advantage, allowing companies to swim in the profit pool.