Between 2006 and 2011, the business intelligence industry has grown by 8.7% which is about a $32.6 billion increase in spending over the past five years. This continues to prove the trend that business intelligence has become a vital weapon within any businesses to help them on their quest for success.
Business Intelligence (BI) is the conversion of data into information that could then be used in your organization’s decision-making process. Actionable intelligence is the real power in the hands of Managers as they sift through the compiled data and refine their searches to find the relevant information that will lead to effective and informed decisions.
I can hear MS-Excel fans hollering loud and clear that it’s the best tool for careful data analysis. I will be the first to admit being a Super-fan of MS-Excel as it is flexible and easy to use, and this tool makes it possible to import/export data, do automatic mathematical manipulations, and help you find answers to standard questions. But what about when the search needs to be further refined or analyzed against information that is not in your financial solution? Or if you would want an alert when you reach a certain amount? And finally, how can you get these reports created and sent on a regular basis without it being a drain on all your resources? It’s when you reach this level of requirements that it’s time to face the facts: this is where Excel’s limitations begin and you need to start to look at other business intelligence tools.
As data warehouses, dashboards, reports, or KPIs are becoming more accessible, you will need to arm yourself with a complete set of tools to best match the different levels of detail that are required within your business. Every group has a distinct set of requirements that could be best solved with different types of BI tools, for example:
Individuals: This information is typically only intended for their own use and is looking to have a snapshot of their tasks and to help with their daily decision-making process tools. Excel, Outlook task list and a personalized CRM homepage with mini dashboards are usually a good start.
Departments: Whatever the size of your company, everyone is usually working towards a common goal: increasing productivity. Sharing documents and easily obtaining up-to-date reports but respecting security procedures set in place is essential. The next steps after Excel to help you achieve these departmental tasks are SharePoint, SRS and Web Reports, dashboards and data warehouses.
Organizations: The Management Team is looking at measuring the success of your business, assessing the contributions of your different departments and individual employees as well as analyzing the data from different sources. This may seem daunting and time consuming right now but BI tools such as dashboards, data warehouses and custom reports will enable you to have a global view of your business.
For those of you who want to dip your toes into the ocean that is business intelligence, start small and begin with the wide range of familiar tools that you probably already use on a daily basis (Excel, SharePoint, CRM) which are the foundation of advanced Business Intelligence solutions. These tools are flexible and can adapt to your current workplace processes and can help you realize how much more information you would be able to extrapolate from your solution if you went deeper and created customized reports and SQL queries.
At JOVACO Solutions, we believe it is crucial to choose tools that can help you structure and analyze your various business strategies. By investing in an ERP Solution based on Microsoft technologies, you allow yourself the flexibility to build on a data platform that is unified across your organization therefore making it easier to get more out of your system with additional Business Intelligence tools.
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