Tag Archives: SmartPrise BI Framework

Self-Service BI & adapting Line of Business (LoB) Executives

19 Apr

Today, BI has sprouted more than just a technology as organization across the globe demand over more relevant and faster information to support decisions. Eventually data volumes are conservatively increasing 30% a year and enterprises find it difficult to handle these enhancing data sources that enrich their analytical systems. Best-in-Class companies are able to identify these needs and allocate appropriate IT resources to manage these back end data warehouse leaving only the functionality reports to be created by the Line of Business executives. However LoB executives are struggling to find a way to capture the appropriate insights from the information that are streamlined in and out of the organization.

Line-of-Business executives are entitled to make more agile decisions with the efficiently streamlined information. LoB Decision makers has no longer have an option to wait for the IT executives to generate their reports, they need to be abreast of the market sheers and quickly respond to the threats and opportunities they face. Hence they require self-service access to their analytical solutions to take right decision without the interference of the IT. Top performing companies have started implementing a comprehensive road map to develop their technically imperfect LoB executives into analytically inclined decision makers, spread Business Intelligence (BI) capability to more organizational functions, and drive significant internal and external business efficiencies as a result.

The self-service delivery model to BI is being adopted by many enterprises in order to create significant efficiencies for organizations and meet the growing need for business visibility and decision. The self-service approach allow

  • LoB executives to increase the curiosity towards their analytical thinking to learn more on the BI tool
  • Companies to extinguish IT intervention into the deployment and support of the BI tool
  • To create more analytical friendly environment wherein reports and dashboards can be created, applied to the data and distributed to the executives within the organization
  • LoB executives have the complete freedom to create their desired customized data that induce them to make more confident and perfect decisions that significantly leads to improved business performance.
  • LoB executives to drive value form traditionally untapped organizational data.

While speaking about the companies adapting to the self-service delivery model there are two main factors that are driving companies to generate a self-service environment for BI.

  1. Most enterprises are experiencing a growing need to create business visibility between top management and specific departmental levels i.e. In a business the view of a top management executive will be only at a strategic level and he/she might not be strong enough to understand the functional area similarly the LoB managers of an organization have a good understanding of what drives the business but strategically weak to take decisions. In order to improve the business visibility, companies therefore leverage the self-service environments.
  2. Most departments in an organization find themselves submerged with raw data about their business. While efforts have been made at the IT level to capture and manage this data, many have yet to leverage those efforts to deliver actionable insight to the department level.

These two factors are top of mind for companies looking to achieve self-service BI at the functional level.  Companies are looking for precise fact-based decision-making rather than decision via gut-feel. BI is generally designed to enable more fact-based decisions and most LoB executives share the overall desire to extenuate doubtfulness in how they run their business. Additionally, the need for self-service BI has shown to be born out of economic necessity. Many organizations have been forced to cut IT spending and therefore transfer not just the technical burden of BI to LoB executives themselves, but the financial obligation as well. Many of these cash-strapped companies are looking for creative new ways of delivering analytical capability, and a new direction being considered is outsourced BI model delivered via web-based Software as a Service (SaaS) interface.

For a more detailed discussion of BI deployment methods contact shaughnk@zsl.com

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Business Intelligence implementation – How to guarantee your Success

16 Apr

Organizations often start their sophisticated Business Intelligence implementation with aspirational and competitive goals in an attempt to meet their business needs. However, they are ending up or restricted with department-levels due to the substantial business dimension that clutches around it.

The intention of organizations to implement a Business Intelligence solution is a mighty step, but how will you avoid these implementations getting restricted at department levels.

Mistakes during implementations

Organizations are most familiar with the mistakes that they do however they don’t realize them.

On time project delivery

Generally, Business intelligence and data warehousing implementations are large and complex, if enterprises don’t eventually define the scope of the work then the implementation becomes more complex, time consuming and cross the budget than predicted. Most companies fail to create the scope of the work and don’t realize the consequences out of this negligent behavior.

It is well interpreted that building an implementation plan would provide enterprises utilize the BI tools sooner and faster, make quicker decision making in terms of new functionality, gaining traction with smaller groups.

Strategic initiatives and Unavailability of depth reports

This interconnected factor to on time delivery is a tough balance to strike. Organizations need to approach with a strategy that would first measure the impact on the business and then technical foundation of new projects required to support the business within the subject area to deliver depth and rich reports. These strategic business initiatives on the basis of high business value that have low technical complexity to implement would help them to drive expected business value. When enterprises fail to approach these type of strategy and focus only on delivering subject areas and reports that can span across the organization they end up with departmental levels.

Troubling Support and Training

Business initiative must be followed by support and training activity as a part of the deliverable of the architecture phase. But most of the organization makes a mistake by forgetting to include the support and training cost as the part of BI initiative budget. Significantly an organization must provide technical training and support for a single user or a small group of users so that they can help the other users in knowledge transfers on how to design and build a BI repository or an ETL process, how to use the tool, how to manage the tool etc. These trained users become the nucleus of the design and developer skills in house for the data warehouse platform and BI toolset and first line of support for other users. This is one of the simplest of the initiatives that can be fixed, but after the initial project delivery this activity is being forgotten by the BI services implementer or the BI service vendor.

Lack of Internal communication

Another factor that affects the enterprise wide project is lack of internal communication within the organization. Business intelligence systems are contrasted to more of information gathering by their inter-departmental focus and their general overview towards business performance. They are also unique in their use of advanced technology and techniques to mine for data and to crunch that data in the most optimal manner. While a group in charge of market analysis might have a strong understanding of the particular sector of the market in which a business operates, their lack of the same detailed understanding about specific competitors and the inner management of the company make their information less useful. In a business intelligence model, all these various forms of business improvement should be tied together so that communication is quick and easy, and each segment should help to inform the other segments so their insights are even more valuable than they would be on their own.

Strategies that organizations must follow to avoid these mistakes

  • Ensure to begin your strategy with an insight towards Enterprise Data Warehouse that leads to high-level BI architecture
  • Understand various business process workflows of each department and gather the data required to support the high-level BI architecture.
  • Originate an implementation strategy that is important to deliver high business value and derive incremental deliverables to build your BI architecture
  • Develop strong working relationships with key business sponsors.
  • Educate a group of users with key technical knowledge and business and data analytics
  • Develop a strong communication barrier within the organization in order to gather information from different departments.
  • Take a release level approach to the incremental delivery of new (ETL and BI) functionality. Use strong (ETL and BI) tools and adopt common development standards; the ETL admin and the BI admin will be the central point for development standards. Pay attention to data profiling and data cleansing, and informally start to build master data. Don’t underestimate legacy data challenges, and don’t underestimate the challenges of unstructured data. Don’t underestimate training and support requirements, including the initial technical training, the initial business-user training, and ongoing training.

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.

 

 

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.

SmartPrise BI for Healthcare, Banking, Finance, Telecom, Pharma & Life Sciences, Travel & Logistics, Wholesale & Retail

26 Mar

ZSL’s 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, Wholesale & Retail.

ZSL’s SmartPrise BI® suite includes:

  • Enterprise Data Warehousing: ZSL follows on industry best practices in developing and delivering data warehousing platforms that span the business and analytical data warehouse needs of the enterprises.
  • Enterprise Data Management: the platform brings together the various data sources through integration between various application systems such as CRM, ERP, Legacy and third-party applications and is organized and managed through well-built service oriented data architecture.
  • Enterprise Data Delivery: ZSL’s SmartPrise BI® suite is flexible and agile that enables the users to have data drilled to any nuances and is delivered in any preferred format such as pie-charts, graphs, dashboards, reports and more. The reports can also be posted into a portal, emailed to users or allow for web-based access.

SmartPrise BI® suite is available for multiple deployment models – On Demand, SaaS & Cloud.

SmartPrise BI® Mobile
The mobile enablement of SmartPrise BI® suite enables the end users to access the mission critical reports over their smart phones and tablets such as iPhones, iPad, Blackberry, Windows Mobile & Brew devices.

Key Benefits

  • Key information that analyses your present and past business performance and guides the decision makers to frame and consent policies and processes suitable to the organization at time of need
  • Serves as a yardstick to measure your employee productivity, operation efficiency and business performance as a result of your new policies and programs
  • Proven and successful methodologies to extract, manage and deliver data
  • Centrally managed data, business hierarchies, rules and calculations to eliminate data silos and inconsistencies throughout the organization
  • Proven and cost-effective BI&DW methodologies built on prudent architecture powered by IBM Cognos which offers seamless integration between various data sources and compatible for SOA, Web 2.0 and BPM capabilities
  • Easy to interpret and analyze data using reports, charts, scorecards and dashboards in preferred formats that has a rich new look & feel and instantly accessible over web and mobile devices
  • Faster implementation services and simple configuration procedures saving 30% of your time and money involved in implementation and roll-out
  • Flexible, role-based security model to protect the reports and reporting resources appropriately and also includes extensible interfaces for integrating other security models if desired

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

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

Why should you go for a BI when you have an ERP in hand!!!!!!

20 Mar

When you rewind the IT history a few years back, most industries preferred ERP as a significant tool to generate their organizational data. With the inception of sophisticated BI solutions and implementations the hype on ERP phenomenally reduced as ERP wasn’t generating the required information to run a business. While BI was significantly able to generate data and information alongside which was sufficient enough for companies to minimize the reporting structure, taking right decisions for their business etc., Hence industries started giving enormous importance to the BI solutions leaving less importance to ERP and CRM

Fairly speaking, ERP is the true backbone of any company or business. ERP was designed for efficient data entry and storage to provide much-needed capabilities, such as management of financial, product, human capital, purchasing and other transactional data within one environment. Certainly they are not the best tool for reporting as the information delivered by an ERP is at a very detail level. If you take any organizations and their top-level executives, they wouldn’t like to see business users essaying them the reports, they wanted it to be short and simple and easy to understand. So to ease the reporting structure and to make right and accurate decisions most organizations prefer a BI solution.

BI on the other hand provides robust access to different reports, dashboards and balanced scorecards facilitating business users in streamlining their business operations with accurate decisions. In simplest term just a facilitator for reporting and hence it is the decision-making solution for businesses so that they can cut costs and hence increase profits.

For any normal business, a need for an ERP, CRM or SCM system comes first and then they start thinking about using a BI solution. What if these organizations are given a chance to use BI along with their existing ERP or CRM tool? Is it possible for these Organizations?

The answer is SmartPrise BI. ZSL, Inc with an intention to showcase their BI capabilities to all small and midsized organization emerges with an exclusive, sophisticated and cost-effective BI add-on for CRM and ERP. Now the business users of small and midsized organization have to just integrate this add-on to their existing ERP/CRM system and get the complete benefit of that of a BI tool.

Salient Features:

  • Cost effective implementation
  • Filter, sort and analyze data.
  • Formulate ad hoc, predefined reports and templates.
  • Provide drag and drop capabilities.
  • Produce drillable charts and graphs.
  • Analytical features like ranking, filtering, sorting, group by etc…
  • Dashboards with KPI reports
  • Interval Grouping on date field
  • Distribution reports with XML Publishing
  • Export reports in different formats (PDF, XLS, TXT, HTML etc.)

In case of any further customization required to this add-on, based on the customer requirement, ZSL can provide the customization.

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.

“If you wish to avail my blog article please click the follow button at the bottom of this blog”

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.

“If you wish to avail my blog article please click the follow button at the bottom of this blog”

BI/DW Services for Retail Industry

11 Nov

Retail is one of the most diversified Industries standing at its point of inflexion, waiting for the boom to take place in the vertical industry arena. It is observed that the retail enterprises face numerous challenges and competition due to the fact that the players in the retail markets have not adopted the ability to react quickly and decisively to the market trends and the ability to facilitates their individual clients with tailored products and services; adding to the challenge is the sustained profit that are moderately small. Apart from these challenges, if you are a retailer you also need to focus on few challenges such as choosing the right product to sell, selecting the right supplier for the product and appropriate shipping options, well understanding of the customer expectations and pricing, Anticipating and forecast stock and inventory and so on.

To overcome such challenges you need a framework that should be very effective in means of organizing and analyzing the vast amount of information generated in the retail business, align your business with client needs, differentiate your product than that of your competitors, should optimize product mix and space utilization, and finally should help you to generate a more effective business mode to keep you always ahead of the profit margin. This can be done only if you have a Business Intelligence (BI) system in place. Retail is all about getting the right product at the right time at the right price. However, the right location and mix of web and brick and mortar facilities also plays an important factor in the industry. If the customer is unable to find your business obviously they are not going to reach you.

You may think, gathering and analysis of business intelligence is an easy task. Trust me; it is not. The retail industry by itself is awash in best of breed, enterprise and legacy systems to manage everything from

  • Traditional retail information, including point of sale data, gross margins, turns, and gross margin return on inventory investment (GMROI);
  • Market data, including market share and competitor pricing;
  • Promotional data, including special pricing offers and vendor contributions, such as promotional allowances and coop advertising fees; and
  • Client data, including demographics and various loyalty and client value metrics

If the retailer is to remain competitive, executives, managers and business users must have access to the most complete information with full insight into results and critical issues and the ability to quickly analyze, present and report these results to support decisions and adapt to the changing market.

Advantages of using a BI framework:

  • Provide you simple dashboards that enable swift reporting and analysis of information integrated from numerous sources. These tools digest large volumes of information and convey it in an intuitive format, making it easy to classify and respond to critical, time-sensitive events. They also help in exploring issues and trends without getting completely lost in a big pool of information.
  • Deliver information through personalized BI dashboards and charts, graphs, gauges, automated alerts and other views designed to meet the needs of the individual user and to support their role and function
  • Contour and optimize resource capacity and merchandise management
  • Determine and manage supplier performance to ensure appropriate inventory and stock management
  • Provides you the ability to analyze and adapt new and advanced marketing and ecommerce strategies and customer buying capabilities
  • Perform market share analysis and market research to support marketing, sales and targets
  • Enhance your category management
  • Compile and analyze brand and marketing research
  • Perform Integration and analyze information from key performance metrics such as financial data, inventory, etc., and CRM systems with unlined integration of various formats and stunning reports and graphics providing accessibility across the enterprise in every location with integration and information sharing, collaboration and consistency irrespective of the location of the users
  • Design effective marketing campaigns for specific products by identifying opportunities
  • Gather and analyze data to determine appropriate stock and inventory levels to meet demand and avoid overstock or shortages
  • Enhance you financial performance and enables the user to monitor the financial health of the organization and create and share reports to comply with government and industry regulations

For more information on Business Intelligence for retail industry or any other industry queries please click here

Necessity for a Mobile BI

28 Oct

The demand for Mobile BI has phenomenally increased due to the fact that the executive management has become less tethered to desktops and laptops. The management has changed their work environments from traditional office workspace to work anywhere. In order to make up the work force spry and mobile every organization requires a corporate knowledge bank which should provide them unshackled access to the real time data regardless of geography, time and delivery platform.

Mobile BI is one of the best ways for organizations to achieve their goal. People think that BIs are just a collection of boring KPIs to illustrate the performance of an organization. But is a slightly more than that. It actually provides the organization an ability to make dynamic, clean and right decisions using the real time data. If your organization is likely to run an average business, there are two categories you might come across

  • Firstly you wanted to improve your business by using a new platform
  • Secondly, you are satisfied with the current business.

Frankly speaking, if your business falls under the second category then the chances of your need for a mobile BI is limited. But if you wanted to improve your business using a new platform then trust me you are reading the right article.

Most of the people using their mobile devices for generic usage like email access, texting, internet, GPRS etc, while there are a few of them who gets benefited from high end functions or specialized usage like alerts, dashboards, analytics etc.(Shortly Mobile BI).

There are four primary justifications for having a mobile BI:

  1. They accelerate executive decision making
  2. Ameliorate and increase customer service
  3. Augment operational productivity and contour business processes
  4. Extenuate risks and control business processes and assets

Mobile BI is one of the emerging trends in business intelligence today. As Standardization has emerged and the performance breaches have stabilized, the ease of use of Mobile BI has tremendously increased. Reports have become customizable on all types of mobile devices which are wireless and 3G enabled. However, the mobile BI users must comfortably be able to pilot dashboards and analytics, i.e., they should have mobile devices that will help them to navigate their dashboards and guided analytics easily, which is where devices with touch interface and high resolution screen will be a right option.

How many BI Vendors offer this kind of pilot service?

The next time your BI vendors touts its mobile business intelligence capabilities, all you need to do is invite them to present the use cases that demonstrate these capabilities. The presentation will speak for itself, whether the vendor is capable of providing you the services.

Mobile BI is here to stay, and will continue to grow rapidly, as employers increasingly look to keep managers and decision-makers “on the hook” on a 24×7 basis. In other words, certainly there’s hope — but there’s also hype.

For further information on Mobile BI and any other BI related queries please click here

Good Business Decisions are based on Good Information

28 Oct

ZSL presents you an extensive experience in providing cutting edge Enterprise Intelligence Services to clients on a global platform. Today organizations are turning to the vast pools of corporate information residing in their collective networks to unlock key trends and make better decisions.

Many organizations are recognizing the need for delivery of accurate, consistent and timely information to analysts, managers, customers and other stakeholders. But many of them fail to meet these objectives for many reasons, such as multiple legacy reporting systems and complex spreadsheets or a failure to properly implement new reporting tools. ZSL help you be competitive by converting information to intelligence for making better business decisions and responding to insights quickly through our unique Enterprise Intelligence Services.

Our Enterprise Intelligence Services ensures the availability of business-critical information. It makes a clear path to competitive advantage and allowing customers to substantially enhance their services and bottom-line profitability.

We deliver end to end Enterprise Intelligence Services from requirements definition through development, deployment, and post-implementation support. We choose the appropriate tools, implement the right solutions, and ensure that clients successfully unlock the value hidden in the data.

Our Enterprise Intelligence Services customers include wide range of industries – insurance, banking and financial services, manufacturing, telecom, utilities and retail. Our Data warehousing and Business Intelligence services help our clients manage, change and transform their businesses through focused, high-quality, cost-effective business information solutions.

Our wide range of Enterprise Intelligence Services is:

SmartPrise BI Framework

ZSL provides a cost effective Enterprise BI solution powered by IBM Cognos enabling organizations to transform data into business-critical information that helps to scale as well as strategically plan to improve their business performance. Our industry based SmartPrise BI Framework includes: SmartPrise BI for Healthcare and SmartPrise BI for Construction.

Business Intelligence / Data Warehousing Consulting Services

  • Study of existing Data Warehouse Architecture
  • Technology / tools evaluation and recommendation
  • Roadmap for re-architecture/ re-engineering services

Data Warehousing Services

  • Database management and performance tuning
  • Data modeling; data extraction, transformation and loading
  • Data Merging, Migration and implementation
  • ETL (Extraction, Transformation and Load) and DTS (Data Transformation Services)
  • ETL architecture and development
  • Development, Testing, and Deployment

Reporting & Analysis Service

  • Enterprise Reporting
  • Management Scorecards / Portal analysis and architecture
  • Online Analytical Processing Reporting / OLAP Solutions
  • Data Mining
  • Report Migration
  • BI reporting on ERP Packages (PS EPM, SAP, etc.)
  • Customized reporting and analytics

Application Management

  • Monitoring and Enhancements
  • Dedicated Offshore Development Center
  • 24/7 Production Support

For more information on how ZSL can help you with Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence please click here