Business intelligence basics for 2015

Business intelligence is a technology with an unbeatable premise – better decisions. This is applicable to just about every area of corporate operations, in a vast number of industries. If there is data on a topic, companies can sharpen their response to related operations, and as of today, there is information pouring in on just about everything. Organizational leaders can commit a reasonable amount of resources to gaining an advantage over their closest rivals. Winning such a battle can represent the difference between financial success and failure in today's intense and close market battles that have extended to international competition via the Internet.

Today's competencies
Creating a BI project today means getting down to the basic concepts behind the technology, ideas that can be obscured by years of hype and experimentation. A recent piece by Forbes contributor Suhas Sreedhar pointed out these underlying concepts, the ones that animate analytics. He explained that one of the most important points of BI development is making the tools accessible to a wide selection of employees. This may be lost in the shuffle as organizations prioritize bigger and more impressive collections of data. Implementers who focus too hard on the quest to work with more resources may end up with a theoretically great system usable by no one.

Sreedhar relayed advice from IT Business Edge, explaining that theoretically sound BI projects can fail if no users can get a handle on their applications. In an environment where just about every department of a company has some kind of analytics it could be performing, cutting these professionals off is one way to weaken the relevance of a solution. Sreedhar noted that there is something to be said for spending a little on a system that will fit into an existing workflow. The opposite, breaking the bank and buying a solution no one can understand, is pointless.

Self-service BI thrives
The use of self-service solutions is the antithesis of the top-heavy model that suggests processing power is all that counts. Applications such as Necto 14 embrace true self-service BI as a mission statement and include dashboards that can be customized to suit the unique preferences of departments throughout the company. This way, employees from CEOs on down can see the data points they are used to and need to know about, rather than dealing with a stream of raw numbers or figures more relevant to some other section of the organization. This way of looking at BI can save companies from investing in tools that don't help them.

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