Choosing the Right Business Intelligence Package
Enterprise analytics tools put the power of information right into the hands of today’s companies. But, merely purchasing and implementing an enterprise analytics solution is not nearly enough. Thorough planning and careful execution must take place in order to ensure the success of your initiative.
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Involve all Stakeholders
In order to satisfy the most critical requirements of all those involved, the team overseeing a business intelligence project must include representatives from the functional groups or departments who will be utilizing the environment, as well as the IT staff who will be installing and supporting the system. This will ensure that all business needs are addressed, that end user adoption of the solution is as high as possible, and that the enterprise analytics application selected fits seamlessly into the existing technology infrastructure.
Define Key Performance Indicators
Allowing end users to generate their own ad hoc reports to support the decisions they must make on a day-to-day basis is just one component of a successful business intelligence strategy. In order to truly understand the state of the business, and the progress your company is making towards its objectives, you need to define key metrics and communicate them throughout the organization. This will allow users at all levels of the business to monitor the tasks and activities that are most important to goal achievement.
Ensure Ease of Use
The primary consumers of enterprise analytics are non-technical professionals. Therefore, the interface to reports and related functionality must be simple and easy to navigate, so everyone from senior executives to front line workers can quickly get to the information they need, whenever they need it – without relying on IT staff.
Reports that can only be accessed from certain PCs are only partially effective. The ability to access vital corporate information at any time, from any location is critical to the effectiveness of any enterprise analytics initiative. For example, sales reps that travel frequently may need to review customer data or check the status of open sales orders while they’re on the way to visit a client. Or a field service technician at a job site may need to see if the spare parts needed to complete the service call are currently available in inventory. Therefore, be sure your enterprise analytics applications are deployed over an Intranet or the Internet, and have fully integrated mobile capabilities.
Report Directly From Operational Systems
While the historical information contained in data warehouses, data marts, and operational data stores may be perfectly suitable for some reporting and analysis needs, certain decisions require access to information that is up-to-the-minute. So, when setting up your enterprise analytics environment, be sure that it can pull data directly from back-end systems when needed. However, access to operational applications should be provided only when truly required. Otherwise, issues related to performance and availability can occur.