Happy New Year to YOU from everyone at PSSI! May 2012 be filled with all the good things you work and pray and strive so hard for…
Businesses today are under constantly increasing pressure to make decisions more rapidly. So we thought it was a good time to look at what’s happening today in the realm of “Business Intelligence,” a critical analysis and planning discipline (and tools) that seems timely to present as we begin a new year.
This requires the ability to deliver better business intelligence more rapidly which, in turn, requires modern tools, relevant and up-to-date business data, and for good measure, a ‘power-user’ or two thrown into the mix. In this series of posts we’ll look at Business Intelligence (or “BI”) – its role in business today, how it’s evolving, and what you need to do to harness its benefits for your organization.
First up: What is BI, and why is it important to your business?
BI starts with the understanding that businesses often struggle to get the right information to the right employees at the right time. Add to that the fact that what constitutes the ‘right information’ can change quickly, and the ‘right time’ can be not just days… but hours, and you begin to understand the challenge. When, for example, a sudden ‘bad run’ of product requires immediate action, how do you get access to supplier data, or the shop floor production info of just a few hours prior? In today’s world, fixing it next week doesn’t get it. You need answers today.
Which begs the question: Do you have the data, the systems, the tools, and the people to answer the query?
The traditional approach to business intelligence usually involves two parties: the business managers, who have a need for information required to drive better decisions; and an I.T. or “computer person” tasked with creating the right reports, forms or drill-down screens, with links to the right data, to satisfy management’s needs.
The problem with this ‘traditional’ approach is that studies show it takes on average about a month to complete a support request to create a new dashboard, and about 8 days just to get someone to add a column to a report. Oh sure, you can ‘rush’ the request, but you can only use that bullet so many times, and in each case, you have to ask what other important need got shelved or delayed because or your emergency request?
Besides requiring a lot of collaboration, the traditional approach is increasingly encumbered by the increasing pace of business. Sometimes you want to go to the restaurant and have someone serve you up the meal. But sometimes, it’s just easier and more efficient to cook it yourself. It’s the same with B.I. With today’s modern systems, and a little time and determination, the determined manager can create her or his own dashboard, report or form. True, it pushes you into borderline ‘power-user’ territory… but the gains are worth the effort. And increasingly, business pace-of-change simply requires it.
Hence, we see the move today from IT-created reporting, to ‘self-serve’ business intelligence. And we’ll look at that in our next post…