Tag Archives: Business Intelligence & Datawarehousing Services

BI in the Cloud

3 Apr

Business intelligence (BI) industry is experiencing a profound effect since the inception of Cloud computing. The exponential growth in the use of amorphous data by companies, including big data leads many decision-makers to grapple with the most efficient ways to analyze real-time data quickly and effectively. These intensifying data demands are just one of the reasons that predict the developing market interest in cloud-based analytics. While Gartner forecasts the global business intelligence (BI) market to grow 9.7% this year to $10.8 billion, business analytics software-as-a-service (SaaS) is anticipated to spring up three times faster than the total business analytics software market.

BI facilitates companies to analyze data and turn it into valuable business information. As more data and applications migrate into the cloud, numerous new data sources are being created. Cloud-based BI and analytics offer companies and business users multiple benefits. Businesses of all sizes can leverage vast computing and storage resources in the cloud without having to invest in expanding their existing IT footprints or IT support staffs. BI providers are adapting their tools to this new reality, and successful companies must now evaluate and act upon this opportunity. In addition, cloud-based BI and analytics provide business leaders opportunities to quickly gather and act on granular insights from a mix of structured and unstructured data.

Cloud-based BI and analytics tools also relieve business users from trusting on their employees to generate reports or create dashboards for them, thus facilitating decision-makers to act quickly on rapidly changing market conditions. Thus enabling organizational leaders analyze the sales pipeline, monitor the results of marketing campaigns, or trends involving individual line-item expenses and releasing other departments/employees to focus on other activities.

The availability of cloud-based BI and analytics helps to have a greater collaboration and teamwork between decision-makers, including those who might be geographically separated. For instance, users of a particular BI tool can embed dashboards within its dedicated platform via a stream so that followers of that stream can then obtain and share real-time information. Hence provides business users to easily share ideas and insights with one another

These capabilities provide line-of-business users the ability to promptly and easily make informed business decisions across all levels of the organization.
Benefits of cloud BI

  • Investment: Without any upfront cost, hardware and software systems can be managed remotely by the vendors or the services providers
  • Opex Vs Capex: The Money that has been invested by the business people are expense incurred to create future benefit i.e. acquisition of assets that will have a useful life beyond the tax year
  • Elasticity in terms of volume, usage, and price.
  • Less reliance on internal IT resources.
  • Scalability: Even the smallest businesses can have the ability to tailor a BI system to fit their needs and improve their businesses.
  • Cost: Instead of buying complete software or full license, a Cloud-based system provide companies a subscription-based model that ensure companies paying only for their usage.

It is believed that 50% to 80% of all BI applications fall or can fall under the above criteria and therefore SaaS cloud BI will be a huge market. So if you are planning for a Cloud BI, then you have taken an apt decision at your level.
To know more on ZSL’s cloud BI services and solutions, Contact Shaughn Knight.

 

 

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Avoiding your frustrations in BI

29 Mar

I cannot say for certain that every; in fact, most organizations that endeavors business intelligence (BI) sees a demonstrable business benefit from it. They find it unmanageable, more perplexed and more pricy than they expected and are unable to quantify the business benefits gained from it. Thus, Organizations has been investing in or working on BI for some period of time, are only partially satisfied with it and are frustrated more with the implementations.

So what should an Organization do to avoid these frustrations?

Let us see this one by one.

Missing Strategy:

Forgetting to create a strategy before BI implementation is one of the common mistake that many organizations do before investing into it. The company must know what is the exact intention of implementing a BI in their organization, why are they implementing it, how a BI will drive their organization towards business benefits, ROI of the Organization etc.

Most of the companies fail to do these ground level researches within their organization. The management staffs involved in approving the budget is also not willing to do so. The reason may be they either don’t understand the benefits of a BI or they expect some else to do the ground level research and they will use it. This is the core factor that causes the downfall of BI in an organization.

Business intelligence is just like any other business improvement technique: there must be a strategy/plan/roadmap that describes exactly what it will do, how the organization must change to leverage it, and specifically how having it will drive positive business results.

Prior Preparations for a BI initiative:

 Before you plan for a new BI initiative, or looking to revamp a stalled BI program you need to make sure that your time, effort and money are not wasted. In order to foresee a successful implementation companies should have a track on necessary pre-conditions to achieve better outcomes.

What are these pre-conditions?

Pre-conditions are nothing but few prior preparations that you need to do before identifying a BI initiative

  • Make sure your quality of data as the quality of the information is directly proportional to the quality of the data that you provide
  • Make sure if you have a proper framework in place for managing and prioritizing your BI investments
  • Make sure your employees or your vendor has necessary BI skill sets to use the technical methods in BI. Especially when you consider executives with less computer knowledge, they experience a very tough time with BI challenges. So executives must be aware of the challenges they might come across during BI initiative.
  • Ensure your organization is aware of all the change management challenges in BI. In other words, it basically is a thought process; any time we’re asking someone to change the way they think about a problem or business situation, change management is a critical element They also need to identify and manage the risk involved with a BI initiative i.e. risks must be predicted, discerned and mitigate prior challenging your organization.

If your organization is capable to handle these pre-conditions, then you have crossed 50% of the frustrations in implementing a BI solution.

Lost Directions:

Assume that you are travelling on a road to success, at a point there are several roads diverging in different directions. What will you do, if you do not know the exact direction to success? obviously you will end up it losing your direction. The similar scenario happens in BI too. Organizations having multiple data warehouses, data repositories, BI environments, multiple BI tool sets, and multiple user communities lose directions while accomplishing BI.  The risk involved in such an approach leads to duplicated cost/effort and Incremental technical complexity and cost from multiple similar technologies in use. All those multiples are not necessarily bad, but they should not indicate an undiscriminating approach to BI.  It is a best approach to have the initial venture into BI with best guided by a BI strategy/roadmap and a BI data architecture plan.

Improper Execution

BI applications are not easy to use. It involves lots of user knowledge on tools and data structures and lots of manual effort. It takes too long for the BI team to complete projects or even to fulfill requests for minor enhancements/modifications or new reports and dashboards.  Your company may have well-articulated requirements, a sound BI strategy, and a good set of tools, but might not be good at designing, building, maintaining, and supporting BI applications.  The consequences would eventually leads to your BI applications that run slowly, break frequently, are hard to use, deliver uncertain results, take longer to build and cost more than they should. These factors indicate that your company’s BI execution is unconventional.

A Successful BI execution requires the following capabilities

  • Adequate financial support from the management of an Organization
  • Employees or external vendors  should have essential BI skill and complete involvement in the BI projects
  • Use of a BI-specific development methodology
  • Project management and change management skills and discipline

BI Impact

This is a common scenario faced by the organizations. They have invested, have one or more BI applications in hand, but they are unclear about the impact. The actual reasons are

The decision makers of the organization are not capturing the business value of their BI investments, limited usage of the BI that has been deployed and Key decision-makers in the business do not use information from the existing BI system. These reasons proportionally affect the additional funding for BI and increase the number of unsatisfied users in an organization who are to be the key decision makers. To overcome this scenario companies have to gather little information within their departments.

  • Who are the major users in the company
  • What and how the information from a BI tool will be utilized
  • Which KPIs or strategic objectives will be advanced by it

Just by doing this little research you can easily overcome the related challenges and feel the BI impact within your organization.

The above discussed points may help you to overcome your frustrations and at the same time all these frustrations have proven solutions through successful implementation history by companies like ZSL. However, BI can be challenging to do well, but the potential business benefits make it worth the effort.

Would you like to know our successful implementation?

Would you like to see our happy customers who have come out of these frustrations?

Would you like to see a demo on our Business Intelligence and Datawarehousing (BI/DW) services

Email me your interests Shaughn Knight, AVP – Business Development and Inside Sales Operations.

Business Intelligence Is More Important Than Ever

28 Feb

From CRM to Supply chain management there are around 200 and above categories of software that helps companies in back office and front office operations which are considered to be an essential segment for a proper business management. Most companies require both these segments and the one particular tool that’s becoming more indispensable is the business intelligence and data warehousing (BI/DW) software enabling more effective business process management (BPM) by providing comprehensive analytics that are primal to sustain and support profitability and growth of an organization.

What is Business Intelligence (BI)?

Business intelligence (BI) can be interpreted as a broad category of applications and technologies for accumulating, stacking, analyzing, and supplying access to data to help organizations/users make better business decisions. BI/DW applications include the activities of decision support systems, query and reporting, online analytical processing (OLAP), statistical analysis, forecasting, and data mining. Thus leveraging data from various systems, applications, and databases, business intelligence software users can make the best-informed decisions more efficiently.

Key Benefits of Business Intelligence

Companies of all sizes can benefit from business intelligence software, and it is important to consider the fact that companies acting without it are in a sense running on gut feelings. Every company needs to think on its feet, and leverage its enterprise data for the greatest advantage. After all, this data is essential for conducting and understanding mission-critical activities, operational patterns, and industry trends. Every company has varying needs, and there are a wide variety of benefits within each company;

  1. No More Guesstimate: Far too often, business data of organizations lacked unified structure and as a result guestimate was the best weapon for executives to make decisions while attempting to direct their companies into the future. Business intelligence can render precise historical data, forecasting and trending, real-time updates, synthesis between departmental data warehouse and even predictive ‘what if?’ analysis, eliminating the need to guesstimate.
  2. Mobility: Availability of Mobile based business intelligence applications provide walkthroughs for users/executives to access key business metrics, reports and dashboards on iPhone, iPad, Droid or BlackBerry, giving sales and marketing people access to critical business information on the go.
  3. Retain Your Customers: One of the great benefits of BI/DW tool is that it permits companies to attain visibility into what customers are buying or what they need , providing them the ability to gain additional profit and retain valuable customers.
  4. Selling Opportunities: BI/DW software permits organizations to leverage customer data to build, refine and modify predictive models that help sales executives to up-sell and cross-sell products at appropriate customer touch points
  5. Improve Efficiency: Apparent amount of time are wasted by companies in hunting data within their departments to find the information they want and process as a report to take a single decision. With the influence of business intelligence software, however, all the information is centralized and can be viewed in the form of dashboard or converted into a report, saving enormous amounts of time and improving efficiencies.
  6. Greater lucrativeness: Business intelligence software can provide users greater insight into manufacturing costs and the ability to line up production on the go for greater profitability
  7. Greater Inventory Management: BI helps organization to order the right amount of inventory at the right time so that customers receive their products when they need, thus avoiding over stocking
  8. Business Insight: Business Intelligence has been very successful at explicating the complete insight of your business over a period of time. The tool can provide you insights on how many units were sold, through which store, in which geography, or by which customer segment. Hence, these issues are now well understood, and so the next generation of competitive advantage comes from analyzing unstructured content to understand how and why these things happen. From simple content-based metrics to sophisticated sentiment analysis, business intelligence software can provide a more complete view on customer and competitor experience and opportunities therein and help executives plan for the future.

What to Look for in a Business Intelligence Software Solution

While Analyzing BI/DW solutions for your business management needs, there are a few important features to look for.

  • It’s a best way to find a web-based program, and one that offers unlimited data access as on-demand solution will provide accessibility for more users, and will support scalability should the company need to add more users and run more reports in the future.
  • Not all business intelligence software is fully scalable, so choose one that addresses specific capacity needs.
  • It is also important that a BI/DW tool should support several output formats, from spreadsheets to PDF documents for producing reports and to run the reports.
  • Corporate data can be highly complex, and reporting tools should support that. In the same vein, the platform should offer predictive analysis, unlimited data access, and complex visualizations.
  • The visualization abilities should range from simple charts and graphs, to maps, matrices, and histograms depending on the mathematical or scientific reporting necessity

Business Intelligence Is More Important Than Ever – Why?

Apparently, adopting a BI/DW solution is a smart step for companies of all sizes and in all industries because of its analytical possibilities and it is quite likely that soon, companies not adopting one will have a difficult time surviving the competitive world. Businesses are currently collecting more data than has been amassed before, and as a result IT organizations are spending billions of dollars investing in data warehouses and business intelligence tools.

In addition, with the surge or Web 2.0 technology within enterprise software, business intelligence systems are beginning to provide real-time information. Minimizing reaction time between an event’s occurrence the subsequent business decision is the most important point of business management, and while business intelligence solutions have been able to predict outcomes before, the availability of real-time data will further decrease any latency periods.

As you can see, BI/DW Solutions are more than just a reporting tool, as through recent technological advancements it now offers highly evolved predictive abilities. So when looking for business intelligence software, outline your goals and choose the scalable solution that best fits your informational needs. The more complicated your data, the more complex the visualizations should be; likewise, don’t select a convoluted system for simple data. And one thing your selection should include, no matter what your data needs, is real-time reporting and analysis.

Is your organization looking for a vendor? Have your organization chosen the right tool?

Email me your interests Shaughn Knight, AVP – Business Development and Inside Sales Operations.

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SmartPrise BI for Sales & Marketing Team

30 Nov

It is a fact that “Sales & marketing” are the heart of any organization to run their business successfully. Sales and marketing requires specific amount of skill sets and determination to create an undefeated business across the globe. At the same time the marketing skills and the sales activities of the sales person or the sales and marketing team has to be identified and supervised to improve the performance. In how many organizations the sales management or the head of sales take initiative to measure and manage their team’s skillsets and activities? Unfortunately, the answer is always no because most of the organization doesn’t remember that sales and marketing is a process. Only if the organization has a tendency to operate at process level they can see the success in their business, else they will certainly be defeated in this competitive market.

BI advantage:

BI enables the sales teams to

  • Analyze results by product, customer demographic and geography.
  • Provide information on key sales transactions and the information are shared with user-friendly reports, dashboards and automated alerts.
  • Increase their sales targets by constituting individual sales targets and monitor generated sales with drill down and drill through potentialities and provide comparison with previous historical data of sales.
  • Build profits by focusing on productive activities and find the source of shortfall in sales and correct the issue before it becomes critical.
  • Identify valuable customers based on their requirement and allot resources more effectively based on the geography, sales and volume.
  • Increase the customer satisfaction and customer retention.
  • Increase the sales forecasts with accuracy and on-time delivery
  • Achieve the targeted sales at the right time and within the forecasted budget
  • Increase the clientele list with high-value customers
  • Deploy promotions and advertising that could yield the organization better profit and market shares
  • Predict the sales forecast of the company and can provide insights on customer and prospect behavior.
  • Better align with the production team as well to ensure the appropriate level of inventories, products and raw materials are available to meet the sales demand.

Why SmartPrise?

SmartPrise BI® is the complete end-to-end Enterprise Intelligence solution for small-to-mid enterprises, which enables them to monitor report and analyze their business performance effectively. The solution enables the enterprises to transform data into business-critical information that helps them to scale as well strategically plan to improve their business performance. SmartPrise BI Mobile for Health is developed based on Cognos, SSRIS, Business Objects, Spotfire, Xcelsius and can fit with any leading ERP & CRM applications that include Microsoft Dynamics, Infor, SAP & Oracle.

SmartPrise BI® suite provides enterprises accurate, consistent and clear data in the form of reports, scorecards and dashboards that acts as a key information for decision and policy makers to give consents, frame policies and guidelines and allocate funds for different planned and ongoing activities across the organization. The suite is addressed to meet the intelligence analytics needs of wide range of industry verticals which includes Healthcare, Banking, Finance, Telecom, Pharma & Life Sciences, Travel & Logistics, and Wholesale & Retail.

Our SmartPrise BI Mobile suite, which works standalone, or with your Learning Management System, enables companies like yours to instantly:

  • Keep sales teams more informed and productive
  • Deliver high-priority business/product/service updates
  • Improve accessibility to compliance/certification training
  • Increase access to corporate knowledge/expertise
  • Ensure regular corporate communication
  • Reinforce formal training
  • Analyze the delivery and usage of mobile content in real time

For more information on SmaprtPrise BI please click here