Many firms missing out on business intelligence

The advantages conferred by business intelligence are extremely important in the modern enterprise environment. Improving decision-making through the application of data analysis can help firms move more quickly and seize opportunities that their competitors miss out on or fail to notice entirely. Of course, success with these applications is far from assured, and some leaders may be missing out on the overall benefits. Simply deciding to buy a software solution isn't enough – IT executives need to develop a confident and assured plan that will guide them through the adoption process and help them become leaders in their respective fields.

Unprepared to succeed
When leaders scan the IT media and see the prominence of BI, they may believe these systems will automatically transform their processes. However,  there are some requirements and caveats. According to a survey by Computacenter and several other IT firms, many companies have not even prepared their data to be analyzed. More than half of the companies in question do not have information in an orderly structure, the report explained, meaning they could run into trouble when they try to extract useful insights from their resources. Though BI is a powerful approach, thinking of any technology as a "silver bullet" solution can weaken companies' actual efforts in that area.

Computacenter's Bill McGloin was unequivocal about the role of analytics in the business over the next few years, stating that becoming ready to inspect data must be a "key priority for 2013." He also suggested that companies with analytics programs use them as an enabler for different projects, including the successful introduction of new offerings to product lineups. In McGloin's opinion, the entire coming decade could end up wasted if businesses do not prepare to use information in intelligent ways. This is critical, as even one poor year can doom a company in the current, uncertain economic climate.

Advanced offerings
Once companies begin the journey to BI and analytics excellence, they can go beyond the basic offerings to unlock solutions that suit their unique structures. The advanced forms of business intelligence include mobile BI, which can accompany workers anywhere through their powerful smartphones and tablets, and self-service BI, in which dashboards are distributed widely in the corporate infrastructure, with each suiting the job description of the professional using it. Having any sort of insights based on internal and external data is good for a company, but getting that information in a form well-suited to the firm's processes is especially empowering.

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