In the past, enterprises viewed business intelligence as its collective
thinking and sharing of information using collaborative tools.
This view has stepped up another notch with BI Tools becoming more
readily available to large and mid-sized organisations.
Today, BI is considered more in terms of capability to extract
real time data from transactional and enterprise systems, and present
it to users in a meaningful way such that it is capable of supporting
on the spot decisions.
BI tools are no
longer specialised and expensive products, requiring significant
training, and IT intervention. They are now user constructed, published
and driven by data owned by the business user. No IT required. And
they are no longer confined to C-suite. The use
for BI tools extends over at least 80% of the organisation.
Benefits of Business Intelligence
With todays faster business cycles, there is more need for decentralised
decision-making, and an increased requirement for automation of
business processes to reduce both costs and risks.
Top quality decisions require complete knowledge, not just data
from customer and product databases. Much essential knowledge is
sourced in email, documents in the content management system, and
even outside the organisation.
BI tools now have the ability to integrate both transactional and
other types of enterprise information into central repositories
- data warehouses.
And business intelligence is expanding beyond the corporate walls
- Cognos, SAS, Information Builders and Business Objects have all
announced joint initiatives with Google, enabling use of Googles
search interface to access relevant reports, dashboards and other
documents within the organisation, as well as content world-wide.
Microsoft Office 2007 products have many embedded BI functions
within the applications themselves.
Open source BI tools are also available to support small businesses
- Pentaho and JReport are credible, lower-cost alternatives.
BI Software as a Service, previously known as ASP is also emerging
as an affordable means of accessing BI technologies.
Regardless of the BI technology, good decision-making becomes harder
as volumes of information increase and cycle times reduce. BI tools
need to be embedded in business applications to such a degree that
they are sychronous with the normal use of the tool, effectively
The ideal operational tool supporting closed-loop decision support
may take some time, but organisations are finally waking up to the
reality that the only way to view their organisations is holistically
in terms of People - Process - Technology.
To improve our businesses we need business intelligence.
Intelligence is improving the management and performance of both
IT architecture and systems, as well as providing enhanced business
As busineses recognize the value of the data they hold, there is
an evolution of IS from being a business expense to a business asset.
warehouse projects are dominating IT strategy today, in spite
of standards and open integration of tools being less than ideal.
Intelligence is pervading networks,
taking over many administrative functions such as provisioning,
analytics, intelligent call routing etc
The sheer size of such programs of work, means starting now, in
an imperfect technology is essential if companies are to stay competitive
in the future.
With IT being such a diverse field, the application of intelligence
is equally diverse. This signals the need for a comprehensive business
intelligene strategy that will encompass both todays capabilities
as well as those of the future.
Integrating Intelligence Into Business Systems
As business assets incorporate more intelligence, they move along
the Artificial Intelligence
continuum, releasing human resource from low value-add administrative
tasks, to further engage in more innovative and creative functions.
The focus of technology and data has changed from accessing information
to using information before it loses its value.
Regardless of where your company lies on the Intelligence continuum,
of BI systems is a long and complex process, but one that will
pay dividends in years to come. Before any implementation, a project
business case and intiation
phase must be completed.
Video - Business Intelligence Strategies
A short film that describes the need for a business intelligence
strategy for your business or organization. [5:59]