The Death of Business Intelligence

Trends in Business Intelligence and ERP systems for 2015

Posted in Analytics, Business Intelligence by luisaferreiradsp on December 18, 2014

2015 will be a year of consolidation and transformation for Business Intelligence (BI). The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), the integration of cloud and the ever increasing demand for mobility, will shape the way people consume data and shape an established industry that’s worth $89.5 billion this year alone. ERP systems themselves are transforming from a desktop-only model to a device-centric mobile technology.

What are the paradigms that will change? How will this affect the Business Intelligence industry? And most importantly, how are you preparing for the upcoming year? Are you ready for what’s to come? Here at DSPanel we have prepared what we think are the main things you should consider in 2015.

  • Integrate and analyze wherever you are

Integration is one of the top aspects for any big tech trend such as mobile, cloud, Internet of Things, and digital business.
With the ever-increasing need to ‘do more with less’, enterprises will be keen to adopt agile approaches to integration. This will also intertwine business agility with the flexibility to use a variety of services, the scalability to keep pace with business volume, and the efficiency to keep costs to a minimum. Rapid integration leveraging simple interfaces is going to become the standard.

  • Apps

When it comes to simple interfaces, and according to Gartner, apps will play an important role in delivering intelligence. Apps enhance the mobility and versatility side of the software available as they will allow real-time and simplified analysis.

  • Smart analytics start to emerge

Advances in graphical and intuitive modeling will mean a bigger role for data visualization in BI. As self-service analytics become more mainstream, tasks such as forecasting and prediction, will become more common and a lot less painful.

  • Analytics across the organization

In today’s BI landscape, we see a dilution in the roles each person plays within an organization. That is particularly true in the case of data analysis. Today’s data analyst is no longer the BI expert within the department. Data is now being analyzed and generated by your operations manager, supply chain executive or even salesperson. This will have implications on the way BI is utilized in 2015 and on the type of platforms we’ll see appear during the upcoming year.

  • Dominance of Mobile and the intersection with Business Intelligence

More and more companies will invest in mobile solutions and business intelligence software to get more out of their existing ERP systems. Businesses are leveraging mobile ERP not just for reports and dashboards, but for conducting key business processes. Real-time information needs are demanding more agile business applications.
This is an ‘anytime, anywhere’ Era. Allowing access to ERP data from any device, puts users in the driver’s seat and facilitates the interaction with technologies on their own terms while also empowering the occasional user.

  • Convergence of ERP and consumer interfaces

With the proliferation of social media platforms there is a growing need for platforms that offer a user experience close to those user-friendly interfaces that we see on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. However, until now, ERP systems have always maintained a more complex and less consumer-friendly look and feel. A new look at the user interfaces from ERP vendors such as DSPanel’s partner Epicor, all reveal that 2015 may be the year that enterprise software starts to close the usability gap with the social media giants.

  • Different technologies complement one big system and make it simple

When it comes to ERP systems there is an increasing demand for software which complements each other. Companies will create a large puzzle with items of software that suit their needs perfectly. More importantly, the choice of software is becoming crucial. The major software developers like to react quickly to current trends, providing swift interaction, and a wide variety of their products. This means the puzzle is going to get bigger in 2015.

Financial Consolidation software: The Binoculars of the Corporate World

Posted in Analytics, Business, Business Intelligence, IT, Mobile Business Intelligence by errahseno on March 18, 2014

The Chief financial officer and his team are bombarded with overflowing huge amounts of data every day. It is not a bank of data resources that is question rather a question of how well the team can convert all these data into valuable information able to run the business and drive maximized profit.

While it may seem fairly easy for smaller companies, this is not the same case for a bigger, widely distributed multinational company. The daunting tasks of having to collate the profit and loss reports from varying locations, to consolidate these reports, and contrast it against the corporate budget is just a bird´s eye view of what they have to battle with.

Imagine what it feels like for these teams during month-end reporting. Just moving the entries from being just operational to now analytic is a challenge by itself. As if the challenge is not enough imagine reconciling the ledgers.

Without any doubt, the system of guessing and crossing fingers just cannot do the trick anymore if the company wants to stay afloat in the industry and even more so, if the company has high ambitions of aggressive corporate growth. The home-grown make-do financial systems of companies which used to suffice cannot even be relied on anymore.

There needs to be improved visibility on what drives the inflow of money for the company and what drives its losses. There needs to be an improved ability to see where the money should go and where it should not. A tool which can be used to have a closer look at the real numbers, turn these numbers into analytic information, and these information into concrete business decisions.

Does my tool help me see things clearly?

There are disparate notions about what makes up good financial software but when searching for a new financial consolidation tool, there are certain things that are non-negotiable. Here are 3 of the most important features, you need to look for:

1.       User-friendliness

This is always an overly claimed and promised feature by many software-providers but very few of the choices of software out there actually are. In choosing financial consolidation software, people tend to forget that ease in setting it up and maintaining the tool is just as important as what it can do. The tool must be easy enough for the team to be handled but robust enough for the tool to handle all of the demands of consolidation.

2.       Intelligent, Real-time Functionality

Can your tool keep up with the modern complexity of your corporate structures and hierarchies while making sure it can handle varying currencies and several account policies? Is it intelligent and quick enough to allow you to view certain financial impacts of certain types of changes in the organization? Can it keep up with the dynamism of your business? Do you have instant access to transaction systems?

3.       Rigid Control

The integrity of the numbers you produce in the end is the most important factor you must consider. Does your financial consolidation tool provide you features that ensure the process is tightly regulated minimizing risks? Do you get reasonable numbers out of it?

If you are not convinced by the tool you are using or the tool you are considering, it sounds logical and reasonable to reassess your options, think about your predefined financial structures and goals, and how this tool can leverage you towards fulfilling those goals. The financial software consolidation tool is after all, your binoculars to the future.

Data critical to ERP in manufacturing

Posted in Business by TheLondonEconomic on September 12, 2013

 

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a vital function for firms in the manufacturing sector. But manufacturers need to be agile and able to respond to situations quickly, making a lack of information a problem.

Over one-third (38 per cent) of manufacturers surveyed by Aberdeen Group for a recent report cited a lack of timely information as their top business driver for ERP. “If employees are unable to access data when they need it for decision-making, organisations can miss out on opportunities (such as favourable prices for materials),or be slow to react to adverse events (such as products that need to be recalled),” the report’s author, Nick Castellina, states. “The costs to the organisation can be substantial.”

The report also highlights how ERP can serve as a “hub” for collaboration, containing records of conversation and facilitating communication between employees. Best-in-class organisation are more likely to utilise ERP to facilitate communication, collaboration, and continuous improvement, it reveals.

They are also more likely to provide their employees with access to the data they need to make decisions. According to the study, 77 per cent of best-in-class organisations are able to view summaries that can then be drilled down in order to understand past performance and the status of processes across the organisation. “For example, project-based manufacturers can track costs that will help them steer projects away from scope creep and going over budget,” says Castellina.

However, it is not enough to simply have all of this data available to employees. Since agile reactions are needed in today’s manufacturing environment, best-in-class firms more likely than others to aid their employees with automatic notifications. In addition, to continuously monitor performance against goals, 70 per cent of the best performers have the ability to create variance reports.

Again we see how business intelligence is giving firms a competitive edge. Thirty-eight per cent of best-in-class organisations have a fully integrated view of all customer information. “This is necessary for understanding customer requirements, shipping orders more quickly, and responding to service requests,” says the report, noting that this can be a key differentiator that separates manufacturers from their competition. Castellina adds: “This is just one of the ways in which visibility can help an organisation to perform more effectively. But what technologies can be utilized to provide the above capabilities?”

According to the study, what matters is creating a ‘one-stop-shop’ for data. Top performers have tailored their business systems to best serve their needs. Since collaboration and visibility are critical to manufacturers, it is logical that their “operational backbone” serves those needs specifically, the report says.

Leading organisations are 80 per cent more likely than the rest to have integrated business systems serve as a complete system of record. Best in class organisation are also more likely to integrate business intelligence into ERP.

“This means that employees can find all of the data they need in one place. If it’s easy to find, then employees will be more likely to use it,” says Castellina.

CMOs and CIOs failing to gel

Posted in Business by TheLondonEconomic on September 6, 2013

 

Chief marketing officers (CMOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) are failing to collaborate effectively, according to a new report. Only one-in-ten of the executives polled believed collaboration between the two roles is currently at the right level.

The report from Accenture highlights the key role that business intelligence can pay. It shows disagreement over the freedom and control of the use of technology and data prevents effective collaboration.

While 45 per cent of CMOs say they want to enable their teams to leverage and optimize data and content without IT intervention, 49 per cent of CIOs counter that the marketing department uses technologies without consideration for IT standards.

As Accenture points out, business intelligence holds the key to change. It recommends the skills mix in both organizations should be updated: the marketing department would become more tech savvy and the IT organization would become more agile and responsive to market demands. The report also suggests both teams agree on key business levers and embrace tools, processes and platforms to understand consumer intent and unlock consumer value.

CMOs and CIOs agree that technology is essential to marketing and that its primary purpose is to gain access to customer insight and intelligence. But while CMOs believe gaining customer insight is their number one motivator for collaborating with IT, CIOs rank this tenth on their list of reasons to work together. Accenture calls this the CMO-CIO ‘disconnect’.

“The CMO and CIO continue to work in silos, but now more than ever bridging the gap between those two organizations is critical for success,” says Brian Whipple, global managing director of Accenture Interactive.

“With today’s multichannel consumer seeking highly relevant experiences and with digital and analytics platforms emerging to help companies respond, marketing and IT executives must work more closely together.”

In spite of the issues highlighted, the report does suggest the situation is on the mend. Both CMOs and CIOs believe their relationship has improved over the past year: 45 per cent of marketing executives and 47 per cent of IT executives share this opinion. In addition, almost an equal number of CMOs (41 per cent) and CIOs (42 per cent) believe that significantly more collaboration with each other will be required to drive improved customer experiences.

As Mr Whipple points out, this trend needs to go even further if organizations are to fully realize the benefits of business intelligence tools and platforms.

“To succeed in the digital age, CMOs must place an immediate focus on technology to improve relevant customer experiences and advance marketing practices,” he explained. “The good news is that CMOs and CIOs agree technology is important. Now they must work together to agree on how technology can be most appropriately applied to drive their company’s specific marketing needs, and how it can ultimately result in increased brand affinity, loyalty and sales growth.”

Just to add another element to the mix, when it comes to processing data, the Journal of Accountancy argues the finance department should be taking the lead role. Certainly all three departments – IT, finance and marketing – must learn to engage and work together.

Global BI market to grow annually by 8% in five years

Posted in Business Intelligence by TheLondonEconomic on September 2, 2013

The worldwide market for the use of business intelligence (BI) software is set to grow at a rapid rate over the coming few years, a report that has been released by Research and Markets has revealed.

The findings show that the global market for the technology in 2018 will be worth some $20.81 billion (£13.4 billion), rising considerably from the $13.98 billion that it is worth in 2013. This will mark a worldwide growth in the space of just five years that amounts to an 8.28 per cent compound annual growth rate as use of the technology continues to grow among businesses and markets.

It said that the fastest rate of growth anywhere in the world will be seen in North America. In this market in particular, BI will continue to be more and more popular to the end that the continent commands 49 per cent of the entire BI spend worldwide. Although this is the case, it will still be a technology that continues to grow across the rest of the globe as well.

The rise in BI comes as more and more firms see the advantages of using the technology. The analytical tools can assess a range of different data and help to work out how to stay ahead of the competition, and its advances in recent years have seen it become one of the most vital pieces of software for many big global companies.

The increasing volume of data and big data available to firms around the world has made the use of analytics without these specialised tools a no-go for most forward-thinking organisations, and this is something that is set to be extended over the next few years.

So why do firms now make use of this more than ever?

According to the research, BI has proven itself as an effective piece of software and tool over a number of years thanks to the way it has helped companies see their performance on a better level and increase their profits by making the right decisions on the back of the data that has been collected.

They were faced with an increasingly difficult task in terms of data management, thanks to such roles as the fact that data has to be stored, consolidated and abstracted for future references and strategic planning of business processes.

Essentially, the rise of the technology has helped to simplify some of the most complex issues that companies around the globe were having to deal with. According to Markets and Research, these included: tracking and monitoring of business activities; analysis and presentation of large volumes of transactions carried out by business activities; control of the execution of strategy through effective monitoring of key performance indicators (KPI); and assisting in the slicing and dicing of the data that is needed for the decision making processes.

How to avoid the pitfalls of BI

Posted in Business Intelligence by TheLondonEconomic on August 15, 2013

Business Intelligence (BI) technology has become more and more common in the world of fast-paced business as a way to make sure that owners, managers and other decision makers can carry out the correct course of action at all times by making use of all the data and analysis available to them, ensuring a degree of safety in what they decide to do.

However, while it has become something that is more and more prevalent throughout the world, the complex array of tools and platforms on offer has meant that there are often pitfalls that companies need to make sure they avoid, with some being common problems experienced time and again across the market.

Exercising best practice is always a way to ensure the greatest chance of success, but even the top companies make mistakes from time to time, so what are the most common errors seen in BI?

The assumption of user knowledge

Perhaps the most oft-seen is the failure to take people’s skills and technical nous into consideration when deciding what BI tools to use at a company.

It is often the decision makers, and not the actual users who are at fault in this case because they choose tools that they believe will be most effective without considering the skills of those who will be using them in the end, leading to problems down the line.

One of the easiest ways to sidestep this pitfall is to look at bringing a non-technical person into the tool selection committee, where they can give their views and air their concerns about the skill and time required to utilise certain technology, which will be valuable input in the time ahead.

Over reliance on a data warehouse

According to IT News Africa, one of the most common failings can be to assume that data warehouses will solve all problems that come to the fore in the field of BI.

It said that issues arise when it is assumed the data warehouse can iron out all of the creases that arrive, as well as believing that the availability of them will drive customers towards the required information.

In fact, many solutions do not need data warehouses, and can rely on integration and portal technology that allows data to sit where it is and be brought up as and when it is needed. Using data warehouses without actually taking time to find out if they are needed can add an extra expense without anything having actually been solved along the way.

Choosing tools which have no specific need

Another issue that can rear its head in the process of selecting tools is that some can be chosen almost for the sake of it, rather than with any specific need or use in mind.

Without a solid strategy and a mapped out list of requirements, the purchase of certain parts of BI software can represent one of the biggest expenditures businesses will face, as well as the lowest level of return on investment (ROI).

While companies will often recognise the fact that BI can have a positive effect on business, a failure to actually set out what they want from it before they start can end up leaving them spending a lot of money and actually receiving very little in return.

Disparate data ‘difficult to define as a unified asset’

Posted in Business Intelligence by TheLondonEconomic on July 18, 2013

Most data management problems occur because disparate data is difficult to define as a unified asset.

Organisations, regardless of the industry, are struggling to capitalize on the opportunities of big data because disparate sets of information are not being harmonized.

When you consider the many operational systems that are in play in a typical organisation, from the finance department to sales and marketing functions, it is easy to paint a picture of how chaotic information generation can become. As data increases in volume, velocity and variety, there is too much information in too many places to make an accurate decision in the timeframe in which it is needed. Analysts know that the answers to business problems are buried in their data, but being unable to unearth the right information is hampering efforts to determine those answers.

To highlight how data is being disparately accumulated and the problems this may cause, we’ve selected two industries where ITC departments are being tasked with harmonizing a wide range of information, and look at some potential solutions to get organisations back on track.

Healthcare

Healthcare is an umbrella term used to describe a million different things. What’s more, many of its components are becoming digitized, which makes pulling in the same direction extremely taxing. Whether it be e-prescribing, electronic medical records (EMRs), digital imaging scans, pharmacy data, lab data, admissions systems, billing systems, insurance claims data or regional health information exchanges, extracting insight in an innovative industry is tricky without consolidating the data at hand.

There are three reasons why information collected in different formats by systems that are not interoperable is likely to yield few insights. A recent blog from American Sentinel University outlined that, first and foremost, medical data exists in silos, which means there is no one repository of all its data. Furthermore, there is a lot of problematic data redundancy occurring when providers duplicate patient data in unlinked files, and much of the data is variable in format and content.

In order to rectify this, a set of processes, governance policies, standards, and tools that permit the disparate data integration must be incorporated. DS Panel’s Performance Canvas offers a flexible work-based solution which can respond to the pace of patient care. It allows you to track and monitor ward or departmental workflow, optimize your patient costs and budgets, report on transfer payments and monitor forecast versus actual patient waiting times, as well as create ad-hoc and flash reports and deliver them in a variety of format and track performance using proven balanced scorecard metrics.

Hospitality

Hospitality provides an excellent example of how big data can be transformed into company-wide functionality and revenue gains. Like most industries, the digitization of the sector has led to a vast accumulation of information which has been gathered from disparate sources and in different forms.

Demand for analytics in hospitality has soared because for hotels, casinos, restaurants and resorts, having consolidated information about guests and patrons is essential to delivering good customer service, managing loyalty programs and targeting appropriate offers and promotions.

DS Panel’s Performance Canvas is a unique software solution which allows managers to keep track of everything from top F&B sales, room occupancy and much more for one property or 1,000 properties, right in their web browsers or mobile devices. Revenue managers and financial professionals are also given a holistic approach to their tasks, ensuring that functionality is run under one roof.

Operational Intelligence: There’s no time like the present

Posted in Uncategorized by TheLondonEconomic on July 15, 2013

New research by Aberdeen Group shows real-time operational intelligence provides decision makers with the ability to identify opportunities for improvement and recognise risk.

New research by Aberdeen Group has confirmed the ability of operational intelligence in identifying opportunities and recognising risk, but highlights that unless the information is up-to-date, companies may be overlooking vital indicators.

‘Real-Time Operational Intelligence: There’s No Time like the Present’, prepared by Peter Krensky, senior research associate in Aberdeen’s Business Analytics practice, revealed that operational intelligence is now providing decision makers with the ability to identify opportunities for improvement and recognize concealed risks. However, business threats and broken processes can linger unnoticed for dangerously long periods if the information provided is not up-to-date or relevant.

The finance department is confronted with the fast-paced, ever changing nature of the contemporary corporate world on a daily basis, which is why having the relevant data to support their duties is crucial. According to Aberdeen Group’s research, organizations with  real-time operational intelligence achieve 160 per cent improved inventory turns, and increase the frequency with which they obtain information within the decision window.

The data also highlights the ability of real-time information in driving revenue while reducing costs. By identifying and correcting problems faster, companies utilising real-time software  maximize output, leading to an 11 per cent improvement in cash generated from operations, the research found. What’s more, the ability to act on relevant information allows these firms to better make deadline-driven decisions, with almost a third (29 per cent) of firms using such solutions likely to have the relevant information on hand in crucial periods compared to firms without.

DS Panel’s Performance Canvas is a flexible platform that can work with multiple businesses and industries. With its end user driven visual analysis and Excel-based planning solution, the learning curve is low enough for every business to gain insights into their customers, suppliers, partners and even their own operations. The information is up-to-date and relevant, ensuring that all areas are covered.