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Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence



Special report for The Times newspaper, December 2009

Special report for The Times newspaper, December 2009



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    Business Intelligence Business Intelligence Document Transcript

    • This supplement is an independent publication from Raconteur Media December 1 2009 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE C ompanies with good busi- IT departments and put it onto business ness intelligence saw the re- users’ desks. By 2012, Gartner forecasts cession coming long before that 40 per cent of BI budgets will be it was officially declared held by the business units benefiting and good systems may allow them to from it. The smaller vendors hope to tell when it ends. But for the technol- gain from that devolved decision mak- ogy companies selling business intelli- ing because add-on software packages gence systems, recession is a reason for are cheap enough to come from annual companies to buy their technology, not budgets rather than capital expenditure an excuse to postpone purchasing. allocations and can pay for themselves Business intelligence – BI – allows within the year. different data sources to be sliced, QlikTech says: “With business condi- diced and mixed to produce real-time tions shifting by the hour, agility has analysis of everything from different never been more critical. Organisations teams’ productivity to different prod- that empower their decision-makers ucts’ margins in colourful graphics with powerful, affordable and simple with instant alerts on budget varianc- to use analysis will be the ones that es, late orders or critical ratios. thrive in the current environment.” In- Anthony Dent, chief executive of deed, QlikTech is offering a completely Dynistics, a specialist UK firm whose free personal edition of their business screen-based dashboards display these intelligence software QlikView 9, avail- visual pictures, says: “In a recession, eve- able for download from their website. Ahead smart ryone’s interested in doing more with Microsoft has long been execut- less and if we can provide a tool that ing an objective of “bringing BI to the gives everybody information – not just masses”. It has developed new products at board level – it encourages greater re- such as the “Madison” facility, being sponsibility among employees. They can rolled out in 2010, that uses technology act more quickly: it’s a virtuous circle.” acquired with DATAllegro and allows The ability of BI to boost business Richard Northedge on trends for 2010 thousands of users simultaneously to will be a key selling message during access hundreds of terabytes of data; 2010. At a different end of the corpo- and the impact of mega-vendors “Project Kilimanjaro” for handling large rate scale from Dent, Microsoft’s busi- data sources, and the new SQL Server ness division president, Stephen Elop, PowerPivot tool (formerly codenamed says: “It’s clearly a turbulent time eco- while Dynistics is allowing companies The result of this expansion is that tion, and making it able to connect to “Project Gemini”) that will enable more nomically all over the world, but that’s to monitor carbon dioxide emissions to Oracle and SAP have adopted vertical any form of data, is key.” business users to create their own BI when it’s most useful. You have more meet environmental standards. models, supplying a service that ex- Gartner concedes competition and applications. It has also built BI func- and more people who have to make Gartner, which researches the industry tends from hardware through software consolidation will favour the mega- tionality into its pervasive Microsoft intelligent decisions. Our expectation and rates the vendors, reckons BI usage to data warehousing while the other vendors over the pure-play suppliers SharePoint Server product making Mi- is that there is going to be a real in- will double in five years with suppliers mega-vendors seek horizontal breadth. but admits some customers are resist- crosoft the first vendor to bring together crease in demand for the broad appli- struggling to meet the demand. But if the But there are customer criticisms of ing relying on a single supplier for all Unified Communications, Business cations of BI within businesses.” market is expanding, so are the suppliers. both strategies, not least that they are their BI needs. Purchasers can use their Intelligence, Enterprise Content Man- Customers are increasingly finding The mega-vendors that dominate the sec- based on IT rather than applications. negotiating power to strike good deals agement, Collaboration and Enterprise new uses for BI systems – from shop- tor have been growing vigorously, Oracle Software suppliers such as QlikTech when choosing between the big vendors, Search onto a single platform. floor workers monitoring production purchasing Hyperion, IBM acquiring and Dynistics believe their future is but once they select a supplier they are But Elop is insistent that in the progress, to hospitals analysing recov- Cognos, Microsoft buying DATAllegro, based on the flexibility of being compat- locked – practically, if not legally – into future, such tools must be usable by ery rates to lawyers displaying case de- and French software group Business Ob- ible with vendors like Microsoft without long-term relationships for future trans- staff at all levels. “If you know how tails - but recession is itself creating new jects being taken over last year by Germa- being tied to a single system. Dent ar- actions. Users are learning to balance the to use Word or Excel,” he says. “Then markets. SAS, which describes itself as ny’s SAP for $6.8 billion. Now they must gues many mega-vendors produce BI savings from moving to a cheaper system you’ll be able to use our BI. The more the largest independent vendor, reports make those purchases pay and these big tools that fail to take a holistic approach with the costs of switching. employees who have access to busi- a 28 per cent increase in sales of risk- suppliers are aggressively competing with that can bring together different systems However, the key developments in BI ness data, the greater a company’s management solutions, for instance, each other to win new customers. and says: “For us, the visual representa- are to take data analysis away solely from ability to anticipate changes.” Higher intelligence Social software Performance-directed culture Organisations are realising that decision- From Facebook to Twitter, social We talk to the ‘father of business intelli- makers at all levels require access to media is changing the way BI data is gence’, Howard Dresner, on how to use BI timely information. page 6 disseminated and consumed. page 8 to outperform the competition. page 12 In association with
    • BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE 3 Something for everyone Pervasive BI adds both detect errors in transactions at an early stage or optimise the supply chain. breadth and depth This can be extended to make BI real- to its usage, writes time, which involves the software moni- toring high volume activities as they hap- Rod Newing pen and alerting users to unusual items P or changes in trends. “Real-time BI is a ervasive BI involves creating key need in the future evolution of BI,” an infrastructure that gives says Pete Walker, UK managing director employees in all areas of the at Information Builders, a BI software organisation at all levels ac- vendor. “The system ‘listens’ to events in cess to the information they need to a stream of operational data and allows be most effective in their role. It brings business decisions to be made before competitive advantage through im- problems affect business performance.” The goal is to take BI from the isolated realm of the office and make it accessible to all proved performance, whilst increas- Andrew De Rozairo, head of Euro- ing the return on the organisation’s pean business development at Sybase, “which is about closed loop. The BI tech- building directly into it the powerful makes BI much more approachable existing investment in BI technology. a database vendor, says that Search nology monitors budgets and targets integrated experiences people need to for a whole new range of people in the “The goal has always been to take BI engines like Google and Bing have and feeds the outcome back to the busi- create and consume BI. Dashboards organisation, so it becomes pervasive.” from the isolated realm of the office of revolutionised people’s expectations. ness planning process, allowing real and must also be made available across the CFO or C-level executives and make Users who were satisfied with morn- tangible changes to the organisation.” broad sets of users in the organisation, ThE joUrNEy To pErvaSIvE BI it something for everyone,” says Tom ing reports of yesterday’s events now to give them a personalised experience Making BI pervasive is a long term Casey, general manager for SQL Server want reports for the last hour, minute, BI CompETENCy integrated directly with their portals .” strategy that will bring immense development at Microsoft. “Today, only second or even millisecond. A number of organisations have set up Pervasive BI should also enable relevant benefits. Accenture’s Nick Millman about 20 per cent of users in an organi- Pervasive BI also embraces closed loop a BI competency centre, under various data to be provided to trading partners to says that most organisations are on a sation have access to the accurate corpo- performance management, where targets different names, to bring together peo- promote a responsive and economic sup- journey towards pervasive BI, but not rate data and BI tools they need to make are derived from the corporate planning ple from both the business and IT. Its ply chain. “BI isn’t just an isolated tool many are at the destination. Neverthe- everyday decisions for the business. We process and expressed as an integrated set main role is to promote the use of BI in for a single user,” says Casey. “Users need less, it is a journey worth taking. must move towards empowering closer of key performance indicators for all de- all parts of the organisation, encourag- a collaboration environment to share “CEOs are paid millions to come up to 60-80 per cent of people in an organi- partments and all levels that contribute to ing local development and innovation. insights.” Kevin Long, senior consultant with a strategy for the business,” says sation, for better day-to-day decision- the achievement of those plans. Employ- It also standardises the technology, at Teradata UK, points out that some Teradata’s Kevin Long. “But it is the making at every level of organisations.” ees are incentivised to achieve their tar- builds an effective information manage- organisations give suppliers access to BI employees on the front line that ex- This involves moving away from a gets, the indicators monitored, variances ment strategy and ensures data quality. tools. This allows them to analyse avail- ecute that strategy through their eve- fragmented BI environment, where investigated and corrective actions taken. A BI infrastructure must be scalable ability, margin, wastage and promotional ryday decisions and interactions with each department has its own tools, to a The result is to align behaviour in all parts enough to support a large number of performance for their products. customers and suppliers. Switched on unified platform that embeds BI into of the organisation behind achievement users and flexible enough to meet a The BI system also needs to incorpo- CEOs are using BI to arm employees the overall management and business of overall corporate objectives. wide variety of business needs. “The rate unstructured data, such as e-mails, with timely and accurate information processes of the organisation. “You “In this environment, businesses want most popular analyst tool in the world documents, news feeds, diagrams, maps, to help them make better decisions.” have to reach the IT professional and to save or make money,” says Nakis Pa- is our Excel spreadsheet,” says Micro- audio, video, social networks, etc. “BI isn’t He says that one of the most exciting developer as well as users,” says Casey. padopoulos, CEO of the IM Group, an soft’s Casey. “As it is a familiar busi- just about looking at numbers,” says Pa- trends coming out of pervasive BI is the “As they are being asked to do a whole information management company, ness productivity application, we are padopoulos. “It must look like the inter- freedom it gives all employees to experi- lot more with less these days.” net applications we use outside work, so ment with information. They can estab- BI must be able to bring all these different lish new insights into why things hap- EvENT-BaSEd BI He goes on to say, “to make BI truly PERvASIvE USE of BI types of data sources together without having to log on and use different tools pen within the business that can help to improve performance. Data literacy is pervasive it must be delivered as part and technologies. Users want good per- becoming a mainstream business skill. of the familiar tools users work with To pull ahead of the competition, insurers are employing next genera- formance and to view documents and “Pervasive BI empowers everyone today, and delivered through the or- tion BI to harness the power of their information assets to make answers numbers on the screen at the same time.” in the organisation to make the right ganisation’s existing infrastructure to immediately available to businesspeople across their organisations. Franz Aman, vice president for intel- business decisions based on data and increase efficiency for IT professionals According to a Gartner survey of 28 life, property and casualty and ligence platforms at SAP BusinessOb- analytics,” concludes Alan Cornwell, and developers. To be truly effective health-care insurers, improving the speed and quality of business deci- jects, says that everybody knows how to European vice president at Netezza, an business intelligence must integrate sions was the fundamental driver underlying all BI investments made in use search and the web these days, so analytical appliance vendor. “It takes deeply with the information platform, the industry – more important than operational performance measure- these familiar paradigms must be used relevant information that is usually re- collaboration platform, and business ment or regulatory reporting. By offering decision makers at all levels in the BI space to make people more ported up to management and pushes productivity suite.” a simple and powerful way to see the appropriate information at the comfortable. A Google-style approach it down to users. It is presented so that Embedding BI into business proc- right time, companies have seen how improved decisions can have a starts users off on a “white canvas”, people see only what is most relevant esses brings enormous competitive ad- significant impact on revenue, cost and overall profitability. where they type in what they want in to their day-to-day tasks, with expecta- vantage. Nick Millman, senior director Many firms are now leveraging next-gen BI to provide answers for natural language. The resulting data is tions and performance clearly identi- for information management services front line personnel in functions like sales management, marketing, accompanied by an appropriate graph, fied. What could be better than that?” at Accenture, says that “event-based BI” finance and administration. AON Insurance deployed QlikView to whether line, bar, pie, radar, etc. makes information available to the indi- more than 400 users in their HQs across 12 countries to improve “You have freeform access and don’t Published in association with: vidual employee who needs it at the time global sales and profit tracking – they achieved significant ROI be- need to worry about structure,” he says. they are executing a process. It could tell cause of direct reporting cost saves, which helped identify trends “You can navigate and explore your a call centre agent the value of the cus- and realise their full market potential. business data in a natural way, just as tomer with whom they are conversing, you navigate and explore the web. It BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE publisher: Tobias Kelly Editor: Ben Cooper For more information about Raconteur Media publications The information contained in this publication has been obtained from Contributors: Trevor Clawson, Iain Martin, Rod Newing, in The Times and The Sunday Times, please contact Freddie sources the proprietors believe to be correct. However, no legal liability can Richard Northedge, Jessica Twentyman, Sally Whittle Ossberg T: 020 7033 2100 E: info@raconteurmedia.co.uk be accepted for any errors. No part of this publication may be reproduced design: Hervé Boinay W: www.raconteurmedia.co.uk without the prior consent of the Publisher. © RACONTEUR MEDIA
    • 4 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE Tom CaSey anTHony DeigHTon General manager for business intelligence at microsoft Corp Senior vice president, product at QlikTech Microsoft is the biggest IT company in the world and among the QlikTech is the world’s fastest growing business intelligence biggest players in the business intelligence market company, according to IDC ROUNDTABLE Experience shared is business gained Companies sharing information with all workers using innovative business intelligence software can make impressive productivity gains whatever state the economy is in, says Iain Martin H ow does collaborative of encouraging a culture of greater business intelligence individual responsibility and empow- (BI) differ from general erment, enabling all sizes of organi- BI and what are its sations to get more from their most main advantages, especially in the valuable assets – their staff.” current tough economic climate? anthony deighton: “Collaborative rita Sallam: “There is no difference business intelligence is being driven between ‘collaborative’ business intel- by the new business user-driven, self- ligence (BI) and ‘traditional’ BI. There service era in BI. It allows users to cre- has to be some form of collaboration ate their own analyses and adjust on in all BI. What we are seeing is the rise the fly. This enables them to analyse of the use of social software to encour- and drill down into key elements of age collaboration in decision-making, their business, and combine previ- and also perhaps a more structured ously disconnected information for approach to decision-making. The a complete view that can help them problem is that this collaboration is make better decisions.” completely disconnected from the Tom Casey: “The emergence and decision and decision inputs and out- pervasive nature of social software Business intelligence is top of mind and a hot priority for most organisations comes. That’s where Collaborative like Microsoft SharePoint Server Decision Making (CDM) plays a role.” inside corporations coupled with BI applications not only bring value many separate but similar public bod- Tom Casey: “All organisations benefit anthony deighton: “General, or the agility of Excel, means users to individuals and teams, but also ies such as councils, hospitals, schools, when they provide employees with the traditional business intelligence, can more readily share their solu- can grow to be effective corporate colleges and universities. It also lends critical business information they need failed to meet expectations in terms tions to problems, brainstorm with information assets as well.” itself well to setting benchmarks to make more informed decisions. Ex- of flexibility and user experience. It team members and store assump- against which each organisation can tending this system to support the collab- focused on delivering static reports tions, and ultimately capture more What types of companies are measure its own results, thereby driv- orative process of sharing information, – pre-defined by IT – that were out- complete decision making data. At using collaborative BI and why ing the cultural changes needed to en- tracking assumptions, and brainstorm- of-date and focused on the needs of the same time IT professionals can are they using it? hance performance.” ing solutions enriches this process and a handful of elite power users. This manage and govern the utilisation rita Sallam: “Business intelligence is anthony deighton: “It’s not so much results in more informed and thoughtful caused never-ending multi-month of these applications just as they do top of mind and a hot priority for most that collaborative business intelligence decision making.” development cycles that frustrated the rest of their portal and informa- organisations. According to Gartner generates better results in Manufac- anthony dent: “The greatest ben- users and consumed enormous tion management infrastructure. In surveys, BI has been a top CIO prior- turing, Financial Services and Retail eficiaries of collaborative BI are those amounts of time and money.” doing so, these sorts of self-service ity for the past five years with the top & Consumer Products industries, it’s that clearly recognise the value of in- Tom Casey: “Traditional business reason for this being better decisions.” more the case that these industries volving their workforce in making the “ intelligence, which is built on a cen- anthony deighton: “Collaborative have mountains of data and existing decisions required to achieve targets trally managed data warehouse and allows users to align and monitor By next year, business intelligence can improve any industry. We’ve seen information in investments in traditional BI. Because of this they are looking for a cost ef- and continuously improve results. In- dividuals benefit from the approach top-level business operations, remains important. The convergence of social we’ll see the the hands of users impact everything from supply chain efficiencies in man- fective addition that can quickly make the information they have more widely by a better understanding of their effect on the achievement of overall networks, collaboration and business intelligence allows users to extend tra- emergence of ufacturing to accelerating patient care in an emergency room. We’ve found used throughout the organisation.” rita Sallam: “Despite the fact that company goals.” rita Sallam: “We believe Collabo- ditional BI with solutions they create, share, and use to make more effective more integrated the industries that are adopting the new collaborative BI technology more decision making has been the busi- ness intelligence holy grail, most BI rative Decision Making (CDM) can be used to capture best practices, to decisions in their everyday work. BI is on the move from the realm of spe- tools that readily are in Manufacturing, Finan- cial Services and Retail & Consumer deployments emphasise information delivery and analysis to support fact- make decisions transparent, to cap- ture knowledge – which is increas- cialisation to truly becoming a tech- nology for everyone.” integrate more Products industries.” anthony dent: “Collaborative busi- based decision making. But, this fails to link BI content with the decision ingly important as the workforce ages – and important to build con- anthony dent: “Collaborative busi- ness intelligence offers companies the Collaborative ness intelligence is applicable both for businesses and the public sector. itself, its outcome, or with the related collaboration and other decision in- sensus. A collaborative decision mak- ing solution should bring together all ability to be a more agile and com- Decision Making In the public sector, collaborative BI puts that make it impossible to cap- information relevant to a decision, ” petitive organisation – import fac- is ideally suited to the modern target- ture decision making best practices. not the least of which is Business In- tors in the current economic climate. Collaborative BI has the added benefit components driven culture that aims to achieve consistent in-service delivery across This reduces the quality and transpar- ency of resulting decisions.” telligence, the right people, with the right decision tools in a collaborative 17% expected annual growth in business intelligence market $13bn expected global revenues from dashboard technology by 2014
    • BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE 5 anTHony DenT RiTa Sallam managing director, dynistics research director, Gartner Dynistics was set up in 2000 and is among the UK’s leading Gartner is one of the world’s leading IT Research and developers of Customer Relationship Management, Email Advisory companies Marketing, Reporting and Active Dashboards products “ decision making environment, which personal life through ubiquitous tools ibility offered from both on-premise rita Sallam: “I think there will be captures the process for reuse of best practices and transparency.” In the like Google, new technology that ad- dresses both of these demands is tak- and cloud-based solutions and the freedom to choose either model or greater opportunities to get more value out of business intelligence invest- What role is business intelligence public sector, ing off. The speed is addressed by ‘In- Memory BI’ technology, which allows deploy a solution across both.” anthony deighton: “I expect we are ments through Collaborative Decision Making, so I would expect the oppor- technology playing in improving results for companies? collaborative users to get answers in real time.” rita Sallam: “By next year, we’ll see just at the beginning of this self-serv- ice business intelligence movement. tunities in the BI market to grow.” anthony deighton: “Users just want anthony dent: “Collaborative Busi- ness Intelligence is improving both the business the emergence of more integrated tools like SharePoint – which will in- A generation of technology-savvy, information-hungry users is proving the information they need now, they want it to be accurate and they want to internal and external exchange of in- formation required for good decision intelligence is clude more of the Collaborative Deci- sion Making components – and we’re that data is not just for IT and execu- tive management anymore. Really, to be able to use it so they can be success- ful. These demands will continue to making. For example, the general trend towards sharing information between ideally suited seeing a number of vendors pop up and focus on this problem. SAP has the users, they don’t even know or care about the term BI.” drive IT decisions in the next few years more than they ever have in the past.” partner organisations can be practically delivered through online web portals or to the modern also announced a Cloud-based offer- ing that begins to address this oppor- intranets in real time. This eliminates target-driven tunity. Google begins to hint at this ChoICE woRdS ” issues associated with more traditional capability in Google Wave.” methods of information sharing such as by emailing spreadsheets (which creates culture Tom Casey: “User driven access to critical business information is also Collaborative decision making tools can provide crucial support to security and uncontrolled distribution provided through new products such companies in their strategic planning. issues). In addition, the strong graphical Tom Casey: “Emerging trends in as SQL Server PowerPivot for Excel, capabilities of collaborative BI tools can collaborative business intelligence which provides better self-service ac- present information in a more attention- are in part driven by an emerging cess to critical business information, Controls: Cdm Tools grabbing and effective formats. Current workforce familiar with social soft- regardless of its origins or whether it Standards, Policies, Guidelines software tools that enable collaborative ware and ready access to informa- is structured or unstructured. Users BI are not expensive and can typically tion on the web, and expect to work can create their own expansive views Input: output: generate a return on investment within that way. We’re seeing pervasive combining data from sources such as decision decision months of implementation.” adoption of our collaboration plat- industry trends, data from suppliers, decision making Topic result rita Sallam: “Business Intelligence, form, Microsoft SharePoint Server, or information from partners and activities Example decision Example decision Collaboration, Social Software, Con- which provides the integration of integrates with SharePoint for better topics: results: tent Management could all play a role. social software capabilities with collaboration. Also, to ensure that it Transform: Should Transform: We will Right now this is an emerging market. business intelligence. This allows a all runs smoothly, it comes with built we acquire acquire Company X We are seeing vendors offering parts changing workforce to better lever- in management capabilities to pro- Company X? mechanisms: Grow: We will fund of the solution or for a specific deci- age information through a familiar vide IT with the insight and oversight Grow: Which NPD People making the decision projects A and B, efforts should we and cancel projects sion like new product development. and capable environment.” that they need to better manage the fund? People providing input C and D This could involve combining social anthony deighton: “Because users system overall.” (via social software) Run: Should we Business intelligence data Run: We will offer software with BI or Collaboration are demanding the same speed and promise a new Decision-making templates this client a new with decision tools like simulation ease of use to finding information in how will the collaborative delivery date? Technology to support delivery date and mind mapping.” the workplace as they have in their Business Intelligence market the process place change in coming years? anthony dent: “Opportunities for Source: Gartner ThE BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE MARkET collaborative BI are going to increase dramatically over the next few years. The business intelligence (BI) sector is populated with established US- Organisations are becoming more widely aware of the capabilities of A hELPING hANd based BI software suppliers such as Microsoft, IBM, SAP and QlikView. tools such as dashboards for present- Despite the global economic slowdown, the BI market is expected to ing all relevant information for deci- CDM practices can help with the assessment of decisions in terms achieve 17 per cent compound annual growth in coming years. sion making. They recognise that in of type and complexity and allows companies to share the strate- One of the biggest drivers of the expected growth in the BI market an increasingly competitive environ- gic workload. is so-called collaborative BI. Collaborative BI essentially differs from ment they must invest in BI tools to general BI as it’s based on a deliberate strategy to deliver informa- remain competitive or risk losing Transform tion to everyone in an organization (not just management) to enable their markets.” n Environment for decision making and assessment more informed decisions. Some companies have improved business Tom Casey: “To remain competi- n Knowledge worker process efficiency by 30 per cent annually by combining collaborative tive, there is an increased awareness decision Types n Non routine, complex, techniques with BI tools and methodologies, according to a survey that organisations gain a competitive iterative, high-value decisions, unpredictable, of 220 organisations globally published by US-based research house edge when their workforce has easy Collaborative decision unstructured Aberdeen Group this year. access to the right information to Grow making (Cdm) n Tie BI and social software So-called dashboard technology is an emerging collaborative BI make more informed and educated n Viral adoption n For example, take corrective tool. Dashboards are applications that retrieve data directly from an decisions, and we expect that need Ida action, analyse options, root organisation’s existing databases in real time and in a broad range to grow. Our customers are looking cause analysis, assess and of graphical or text formats. One of the key advantages of this soft- for these capabilities to be delivered respond to changes ware is the ease in integrating them with other applications. Research through the existing technology in- run houses Gartner and Forrester predict that the worldwide market in vestments they have already invested Low medium high annual licence revenues for dashboard technology will grow from $3 in, to reduce training and costs, and decision Complexity billion this year to $13 billion in 2014. allow for quick deployment. They are also looking for deployment flex- Source: Gartner 30% efficiency improvement through collaborative business intelligence $578m expected business intelligence software revenues in Asia by 2011
    • 6 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE higher intelligence The consumerisation of BI will make it available to the masses, says Rod Newing B usiness intelligence is a concept One organisation that has faced this in green are meeting objectives, making query and analysis environment with of SAP. “But that is not how business that arose twenty years ago challenge is Henderson Group in North- it very much an exceptional manage- the flexibility and simplicity demanded works today. Users need answers right from decision support, which ern Ireland, which owns SPAR, EU- ment tool. Logan doesn’t want people to by end users remains a challenge. away and they don’t have time to ma- was aimed at internal analysts, ROSPAR, VIVO and VIVOXTRA fran- spend a lot of time doing analysis and “Business requirements naturally nipulate data or ‘crunch’ spreadsheets.” and executive information systems, which chises. “We had the classic issue where they only need to “drill down” to more evolve as the business itself evolves,” Pete Walker, UK managing director were designed for directors, managers we couldn’t get access to information we detail if there is an issue. she says. “BI software must be flex- at Information Builders, a BI vendor, and their supporting analysts. Since then, knew we had,” says Andrew Logan, the “It is all things to all men and wom- ible and dynamic enough to provide says that BI has evolved significantly organisations have come to realise that company’s information services director. en,” he says. “People are falling over answers to the business in changing over the last few years, from predomi- decision-makers at all levels in all parts of “It was held on paper, in spreadsheets, in themselves to get access to the tool, times. It can drive the organisation’s nantly giving access to information the organisation need access to timely, rel- multiple databases, in stores, headquar- because it makes their life so much evolution to a more analytic culture- only to senior management to being evant and accurate information, whether ters and constituent companies. We easier. It shows where we are missing making information available to sup- applicable to all employees today. This in a call centre, sales office, shop floor, re- wanted to make it accessible from the margin, where we haven’t performed port the business strategy as it changes has involved moving from a tools- tail outlet or logistics department. top down to anybody who needed it.” and what we need to address.” to underpin business agility.” based approach, where the IT depart- This means that the system must be Farrington says that BI allows users ment builds the application, to the ca- “ usable by people with a wide variety of appLICaTIoNS to see the business at all levels relevant pability being pushed out to all users to computing and analysis skills. “Con- sumerisation of BI will be a significant The company implemented QlikView from QlikTech. A core team in the IT de- to their role. They can zoom in to see where changes need to be made and Users need do a degree of analysis on their own. Users may be given a standard re- trend affecting IT over the next decade,” says Sean Farrington, UK managing partment identified “super users” in each department who established its needs, then zoom out to get the big picture. The detail gives them more knowl- answers right port, but if they are being asked to drive greater productivity or efficiency, director at QlikTech, a BI vendor. “En- terprise-wide BI software is already scal- identified “easy wins” and refined the basic reports. Sixty different applications edge of what is going on in the organi- sation, so that they have more control. away and they increase profits or realise return on in- vestments they need to adjust their re- able, but must be redefined to make it accessible and useful to everyone in the were developed that are used from the chairman down to administrative staff “We can take appropriate actions to fix problems,” says Logan. “Which we don’t have time port to get appropriate information for their business decisions. That gets quite organisation who needs it.” in all parts of the company, including su- permarkets, both owned and third party. couldn’t do in the past. BI tools give easier access to more detail, which al- to manipulate challenging if they have to go back to IT all the time and drain its resources. dEmoCraTISING INformaTIoN “It is fantastically easy to use,” says lows us more control of our business. data or ‘crunch’ ” He says that turning data into informa- Logan. “We have a very wide range of We now have a very well managed EvoLUTIoN tion for people on the front line will help to democratise information. However, the end user skills in the business, from sophisticated to barely able to use a business that we can keep a close eye on and we know exactly how we are spreadsheets “It has been a natural evolution as ex- pectations of today’s consumers and software will need to have more in com- computer, but we can encompass all performing in every area.” users are higher,” he says. “They have de- mon with consumer software, in terms of their different requirements.” Farrington points out that consum- This means that software must op- veloped over the years as a result of the its ease of use and perceived usefulness, in He had to overcome initial reticence erisation of BI is also an opportunity to erate “at the speed of thought”, as users internet and search engine capabilities. order to achieve high user adoption rates. from a few colleagues who held onto improve best practices in management interact with their data to answer their People are used to going online and get- This will help to change the culture of the information as a source of power. He of BI systems, by automating as much as own questions. BI vendors have spent ting information at the click of a button.” organisation into one that recognises and showed them how consolidating infor- possible. It not only allows the organisa- 20 years speeding up the performance Nakis Papadopoulos, CEO of the IM rewards the contribution of the individu- mation from different sources would tion to get the most out of its employees, of their systems, as they analyse large Group, an information management al, even in a global enterprise. make their job easier and how they but improves their relationship with IT volumes of data, but users now expect company, says that his customers are tell- “If you can use a computer you should could empower their employees by giv- because they are better supported. the almost immediate response times ing him to deliver BI, but to make it easy. be able to use BI,” says Franz Aman, vice ing them subsets of the information. Alys Woodward, European pro- they get on the worldwide web. “BI must be delivered in a way that con- president for intelligence platforms at Everybody has an initial “dashboard” gramme manager for business analytics “In the past you needed to spend a sumers can engage without having to read SAP BusinessObjects. “If BI is easy and screen that provides a graphical presen- at IDC, points out that delivering reports lot of time organising your information a manual, the way they use an iPhone,” he straightforward to use it becomes an es- tation of what matters most to them. Ar- is a relatively simple task for the IT de- in a way that would allow you to an- says. “Making it really easy and accessible sential tool of people’s daily work life.” eas that need action are in red and those partment. However, providing an ad hoc swer your questions,” says Franz Aman means it has to be ‘consumer-grade BI’.”
    • BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE 7 BI for the masses want to be given the information at the right time for the event or process they are dealing with.” Self service BI is critical when it is Rod Newing investigates how self-service technology shared, which is increasingly being done with customers and suppliers. is empowering end users BI has typically been used by tens C and hundreds of users, but BI ven- urrently only about 20 per Microsoft extends its “managed dor Information Builders is involved cent of decision makers in self-service” solution in the next re- in projects that involve thousands, an organisation are sup- lease with a product they call SQL tens of thousands and potentially ported by BI tools to give Server PowerPivot. SQL Server Pow- millions of users. them the information they need. Mi- erPivot is an add-in to Excel which For example, Southern Energy is crosoft believes that this needs to be allows users to pull in large data sets allowing its 420,000 business custom- raised to 60-80 per cent. into Excel from a broad range of ers to analyse their gas and electricity “We have to make BI something for both structured and unstructured consumption and costs using Infor- every user in the organisation, by deliv- sources. It then joins the data to- mation Builders WebFOCUS tool, ering BI in the tools employees already gether so users can use pivot tables through a Microsoft.NET portal. 23 know and use every day, in a way that and other BI capabilities native to per cent signed up in just six months isn’t cost prohibitive to the organisation Excel to self-serve their BI needs. and the company is confident of con- and encourages mass adoption,” says The “managed” elements come into verting 90 per cent within three years. Tom Casey, the company’s general man- play when users publish these solu- “Without a good web presence we ager for SQL Server development. “We tions into SharePoint to collaborate Microsoft is working to make BI more manageable and palatable would be struggling to attract new need to give business users more agility with colleagues. Once in SharePoint, customers and to retain existing to create their own BI solutions while IT professionals have visibility into age data refresh, see who is using formation management services at customers by enhancing their ex- providing IT professionals with the what’s being created. the workbooks, change data sources, Accenture, believes that self service is perience and relationship with us,” oversight and control that they need. We “People used to create the Excel manage security and change the users a good thing, but organisation have to says Phil Collard, head of business call this ‘managed self service.’ It isn’t an workbook and it would run around and roles permitted to use it. look at it in terms of what informa- and operational support at South- entirely new idea, as for some time our in the wild and get copied via e- “End users’ decisions used to tion needs to be pushed out to users ern Energy. “Unless we are able to Excel spreadsheet has been widely used mail,” says Casey. “It would then run live and die with them,” says Casey. and what they need to “pull” from the offer on-line services like this, espe- by business users to create their own into the information management “Managed self-service now allows system themselves. cially to the public sector, we would BI solutions, albeit it in a somewhat issues around data decay and stale- them to carry out their own report- “The executive level wants score- not even be able to tender.” disconnected and unmanaged way. We ness and people could make deci- ing and analysis, while giving IT cards and information pushed to Casey concludes that the key is to can’t tell users not to use it to solve eve- sions using old and invalid informa- oversight and insight into what so- them and then the ability to analyse make BI accessible to everyone, not ryday business problems, as they should. tion, which is bad.” lutions are being built.” the data,” he says. “Information work- just executives. It must empower Instead, we have to embrace it and make IT professionals can now take con- Self service involves the use of BI ers prefer to serve themselves with the end users to make everyday deci- it much more manageable and palatable trol of the users’ applications through applications, as well as creating them. data they want for analysis. People sions in a way that is more informed to the organisation as a whole.” SharePoint Server. They can man- Nick Millman, senior director for in- doing day-to-day business processes by accurate information. SPONSORED FEATURE Lots of data, but no bility of our chosen accounting pack- age, especially for non-accounting trained employees. For me it provides a comprehensive and customisable information management briefing when I arrive at my desk each morning. Key issues, such as sales, cash flow and debtors are updated in real time.” Usability is key. If software is intui- Dashboards provide new “Customers often have all the data tive to use, employees across the organ- they could want sitting in silos across isation can have instant access to in- sources of ROI, writes the organisation – everything from a formation that might previously have Megan Codling spreadsheet to a full relational data- only been the domain of management. base, but still don’t have the manage- Communicating corporate objectives Downturns magnify IT spend many ment information they want at their and measures in a format that pro- times more than the norm creating, at fingertips. Active Dashboards ad- vides real-time feedback on results and the very least, caution when deliberating dresses that issue for them.” progress towards the achievement of further outlay but also thrusting exist- The payback is two fold; the user corporate goals helps to foster a proac- ing implementations into the spotlight spends considerably less time asking tive management culture and promote to prove their return on investment. internal departments to run reports, employee productivity. Let’s consider the CIO who only five number crunching data, and putting And what of the in-house IT depart- years ago purchased an enterprise-wide together management packs contain- ment? Well, Active Dashboards makes or departmental system. Today, the eco- ing presentations which are instantly life easier for them too, as they can more nomic landscape has changed beyond out of date. The CIO on the other easily provide the organisation with the recognition, the business is under pres- hand, for little outlay, safeguards the information it needs but spend less time sures which it has not experienced before, long term investment of legacy sys- creating and distributing reports. It’s and there is an overwhelming necessity to tems whilst unlocking the informa- also no longer necessary to aggregate produce better and real-time information tion from within them and making data into a single data warehouse as Ac- upon which to make decisions. In short, them usable and relevant to doing tive Dashboards can retrieve it directly there is a need to do more with less and to business in today’s environment. from one or more sources simultane- make existing investments work harder. Warren Jenchner, managing direc- ously, making implementation very Anthony Dent, managing direc- tor of Apex Lifts Ltd, uses Active Dash- simple and very rapid – delivering sig- tor of UK dashboard software vendor boards as a complementary enhacement nificant results in a matter of days. Dynistics explains: “We’re seeing mas- to the company’s Pegasus accounting “Active Dashboards is at the forefront sive demand for our Active Dashboards software. Pegasus resells Dynistics’ Active of innovation in Business Intelligence software to address two things: the need Dashboards under its own brand name solutions.” says Dynistics’ Anthony Dent. for instant interpretation of data in a enabling existing customers to distribute highly usable format for making rapid meaningful financial management in- decisions and the need to make existing formation across the organisation. enterprise software ever more relevant, Warren explains: “The addition of extending its life and protecting long dashboards has provided Apex Lifts term investments during leaner times. with a tremendous boost to the usa- dashboards are a highly usable format for making rapid decisions
    • 8 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE W here once we con- sumed web content Social software and interacted mainly on a one-to-one basis via e-mail and instant messaging, we now add our thoughts to wikis, write blogs and communicate within com- munities of like minded people. From Facebook and Myspace through to the all- And according to Tom Casey, general manager for SQL Server at Microsoft, conquering Twitter, social media has changed the way the collaborative principals of Web 2.0 we use the internet. Trevor Clawson investigates are already having an impact on the way that business intelligence data is dis- seminated and consumed. “If you look at the new class of professionals that are coming into the workplace, you see people who are more connected than any generation before them,” he says. “What’s more, they expect to work col- laboratively and create content.” As Casey sees it, this participatory ap- proach to online work and play is spilling rapidly into the corporate computing en- vironment. The new employee is seldom content to simply consume information imparted from above. Quite the opposite. Thanks at least in part to a grounding in Web 2.0, young professionals expect to take information, play with it, add their own thoughts and comments and pass it around within (and sometimes outside) the organisation. INdIvIdUaL NEEdS It’s a development that chimes neatly with trends in business intelligence thinking. Where once BI was seen mainly in terms of dashboards and reports for senior SPONSORED FEATURE Next generation business intelligence These days so many articles about boards and scorecards for clearer have the power and flexibility to information technology (IT) begin understanding of trends and targets. perform any type of modelling, with “In this economy...” that you could be forgiven for thinking that Microsoft Business Intelligence But the one tool that every per- son in the organization defaults create advanced calculations that previously required deep under- all our challenges are new. To sum- to is Excel. And when other tools standing of data objects and se- marize those articles, we need to reach their limits, Excel is the tool mantics. With SharePoint, that Business Productivity Suite build better efficiencies and improve that becomes the hero by bringing analysis in Excel is transformed processes, go digital as much as pos- together different pieces of infor- into a sharable, highly interactive sible and increase collaboration so mation into a single, coherent view. business view, that is collaborative that we can rapidly address chang- Excel’s ubiquity and flexibility im- and discoverable alongside rich ing business needs. These challenges pose very few restrictions that are dashboards and scorecards. Now are as old (or new) as business itself Business Collaboration Platform typical in traditional BI tools; their that dashboard is viewable by all and have been the cornerstone of modelling environments targeted at who need it with up-to-the minute what Business Intelligence (BI) has specialists and IT teams deep in the information only a click away sup- promised. What has been missing vernacular of the system, not the plying the answers needed quickly. is a complete BI solution that ad- business. In Excel, you work direct- Collaboration is amplified with dresses the full range of our needs ly with the data and perform many new social networking concepts, so that it can properly support agile Information Platform iterations quickly and seamlessly. people and knowledge search, and thinking and continue improving It is the business world canvas and uniting structured and unstruc- our processes in any economy. palette in one. tured information into a single In A.W Shaw’s “Library of Busi- Better yet, IT professionals can view across the business, inside ness Practice” published in London now provide end users with the and outside of the firewall. in 1914, Shaw describes how “Eve- power and flexibility they need As end users share Excel docu- ry executive has an endless chain of without having to compromise the ments and collaborate in Share- demands upon him for specific in- Microsoft are helping the business world build better efficiencies and “Insight and Oversight” that is crit- Point, IT professionals now have formation. Such demands consume improve processes ical to running secure and compli- the control they need to manage a large percentage of the desk time ant IT infrastructure. data refresh, see who’s using the of the executive unless the desk Shaw, a pioneer of modern man- Over the years BI has evolved tre- With Microsoft Office, Share- workbooks, change data sources, itself is made a tool for supplying agement techniques, essentially de- mendously through new technolo- Point 2010 and SQL Server 2008R2, administer security and more, the answers.” Shaw could have been scribes the need for centralized and gies and approaches and Microsoft Microsoft has taken the traditional providing IT with governance and writing yesterday, could he not? managed reporting, self-service ac- has made great contributions to and new worlds of Business Intel- compliance without restricting The parallel is even more strik- cess to critical business informa- this area, bringing Online Analyti- ligence and combined them into end-user flexibility and agility. ing when he describes the solution tion, and the ability to search and cal Processing (OLAP) to the main- a single, performance platform to “(The executive’s) desk is merely discover new insights. Funny that stream, as well as Extract, Transfer, drive businesses of all sizes. From the center of a highly specialized the demands have not changed, and Load (ETL) tools, data mining the desktop with Excel 2010 and finding system.” just the tools. for predictive insights, and dash- PowerPivot for Excel, analysts
    • SPONSORED FEATURE managers, today it increasingly addresses The Salesforce system also allows us- the information needs of individuals and ers to access the public internet to tap teams at all levels within an organisation. into social networks such as Twitter or In this environment, the collaborative Linkedin – potentially useful sources of tools that characterise social media pro- customer intelligence and this particu- vide a useful means for team members lar feature reflects a second front on to interact. “And it’s not simply about which the Web 2.0 universe is having sharing information,” Casey stresses. “It’s an impact on business intelligence. about sharing experience and insights . Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and the But what does this mean in practice? rest are not just social spaces, they are fo- Well, Casey cites the example of an HR rums in which senior executives post de- project looking at salaries within a com- tails of their careers, developments in the pany to determine if they are on par with business world are openly discussed and those paid by competitor organisations. users praise and damn brands, products The chances are that the HR department and companies. And as Barker points will only have up-to-date data relating to out, a customer will often post a com- the company’s own salary structure. How- plaint on a social network before taking ever, by opening up the reporting process it to the company’s own call centre. to others within the department a huge It’s hardly surprising then that amount of information can be gleaned major corporations are increasingly from employees who have experience of monitoring and analysing activity on the packages offered by rival businesses.” social networks and feeding the re- sults back to the corporation. “ Sometimes it’s a case of crisis manage- You see ment. For instance, when car company Peugeot fell victim to a wave of online Creative, non-linear thinking is where ideas come from people who are criticism concerning product faults, busi- word association is ness intelligence provider LexisNexis set sociation suggests that progressing more connected up a system that allowed the company to monitor content on blogs and formulate that life cycle is based on the connec- tion of basic events based around im- than any a response. As LexisNexis UK director of pressions derived from experience in no longer a game new business Bob De Laney stresses, this the real world, and ideas that originate generation before kind of intelligence is not simply reac- to explore those impressions. ” tive – by applying analytics tools it can be Following the path from one idea them used to build a customer service strategy. “By analysing the relationship between to another which is related to it starts to unlock quantitative analysis of the what is said online and what people go The birth of super learning QlikTech is the company that pio- information that created the impres- Microsoft offers collaboration through on to do, you can determine how best to neered this approach to drive tools for sion in the first place.” Microsoft SharePoint Server, but it isn’t deal with angry customers,” he says. for ING Lease UK super learning. Its QlikView analytics In practice, ING Lease UK rapidly the only software and solutions provider tool has a patented technology it terms created a single database containing to see social media applications as a lu- INSIGhT Let’s play a little game of word asso- Associative Query Logic - developed to the vast majority of transactional and bricant for the flow of business-critical Equally, social networks provide mar- ciation. Your trigger word is “spring”. better reflect the way the human mind relationship information available to information. In November of this year, ket insight about the major companies. Now think.... works when searching for answers, by the organisation. Salesforce – a provider of sales and cus- “You might use a social network to find What just popped into your mind? helping explore all possible connec- Stamper continues “The real power tomer service management software – out what people are saying about the fi- Coil? Summer? Bounce? Clean? tions within multiple sets of data. of the technology is that it facili- announced the launch of Chatter. Billed nancial stability of a potential customer” Test the same word with a group of Data from all your business systems, tates the connection of ideas across as a Facebook for the enterprise, chatter says Craig Sullivan, VP of international people and you’re likely to get a vari- your favourite Excel spreadsheet and multiple dimensions, and allows allows users to set up profiles, tap into products at cloud Netsuite, a cloud com- ety of answers: what makes sense as a your website, can be combined within more rounded, considered decisions. communities and share information and puting specialist that has recently ena- connection for one person, might seem minutes. The information is represent- Analyses that previously required the insights on customers. bled the social media monitoring tool completely absurd to someone else. ed in a visual dashboard that helps us- involvement of the IT department, InsideView for corporate customer re- Of course, it’s these differences that ers to see relationships within this data and then serious Excel manipulation CoLLaBoraTIoN lationship management (CRM) systems. make word association games entertain- for further exploration, enabling users within the business community, can “For instance, within a group you But is there a danger that in embrac- ing. Ask 100 people on Family Fortunes to jump from one idea to another at be carried out in seconds. can share information that a deal ing social media, firms will somehow lose to name a bird with a long neck, and it’s the speed of thought. “In practice, it means more ideas, has been signed or a new competitor sight of business intelligence as a means “Naomi Campbell” that gets the laughs. The reason QlikView’s approach has more quickly, with the ability to fol- has come into the market place,” says to deliver focused information to time Our responses come from our been seen as so disruptive is that tradi- low a chain of connections to its ul- Tim Barker, senior director of prod- poor managers? Tom Casey of Microsoft unique experiences and memories, tional analysis tools have predefined pa- timate end point without the delays uct marketing (EMEA) at Salesforce. doesn’t think so. “We’re not talking about not to mention the influences that are rameters for what you can view. When that risk compromising the clarity of “Everything can be customised so social media replacing BI methods,” he present at the moment we’re asked, displaying data they are confined to the original thought being explored.” individuals only see the news for the says. “But what social media can do is which is why there’s no way of pre- show you the items you’ve selected. With Because of its self service model topic areas they’ve specified.” add a valuable collaborative element.” dicting, logically, one answer that eve- QlikView you can review three things: that gives users independence and ryone will definitely give. what you’ve selected, what is associated ease in exploring information, Qlik- This is the nature of human thought. with the selection, and what is excluded. Tech boasts many more happy cus- We make fast, spontaneous connec- Quite often, it provides answers to ques- tomers, with diverse success stories tions based on infinite variables rather tions you hadn’t even thought of asking. that continue to innovate in this area. than working through logical steps that Chris Stamper, CEO of ING Lease Now associate these two statements: form a predictable, predefined path. UK, implemented QlikView in order “(QlikTech) The World’s fastest- In trying to recall an acquaintance’s to give his team the tools they needed growing BI software vendor” – five name we might think about a particular to get value from their data and make years running (source IDC research) situation or other people they know – in more effective decisions. “Fundamental QlikView ranked #1 for Ease of Use fact we’ll approach it from any angle to to the company’s quantitative strategy and Customer Loyalty try and create that spark of recognition. is the investment in associative analysis (Source: BI Survey 8 – the world’s Increasingly we want our technol- tools. In a relatively short space of time, largest independent survey of Busi- ogy to reflect this, which is why search the descriptive query tools and associ- ness Intelligence and Performance engines are continually striving to ated Excel economy that we relied on Management users from Business Ap- improve the relevance of their asso- have been replaced with QlikView. plication Research Center.) ciations rather than settling for logical “Instead of starting small, we ad- metrics like “web page most visited”. dressed the most fundamental busi- Version 9 personal edition free download Creative, non-linear thinking is ness question: where does the com- at www.qlikview.com where ideas come from, and a new pany make its money? Tel. 01926 45 88 88 For free training days breed of Business Intelligence tools is “Strategic decision making follows recognising this and aiming to sup- a life cycle based on description, pre- port flexible data analysis rather than diction, explanation, investigation, Businesses are now exploiting social networks as a vital tool for collaboration rigidly defining its parameters. and prescription” Stamper adds “As-
    • 10 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE majority of organisations having some WorkING oN ThE ChaIN non-integrated pieces of functionality GaNG in place,” they report. But, despite the So beyond financial data, what other shortcomings, only 12 per cent saw BI types of information are smart com- tools as being an important means of panies using in order to measure their monitoring, measuring and reporting achievements against company-wide on the overall health of the business. goals and targets? One area that has That situation needs to change, says gained more attention from executives Longbottom and Tarzey, pointing out over the past year is supply chain data, that those respondents who DID see according to Sanjeev Nagrath, global BI as a critical tool are much better at supply chain management leader for monitoring, measuring and reporting IBM’s global business services arm. on the financial health of the business “Supply chains cost money. Compa- than those who did not. nies that operate fleets of trucks or That comes as no surprise to have huge volumes of inventory in Lars Bjork, CEO of QlikTech and a warehouses have become very aware former CFO himself. “Among our of these costs involved in the last year customers, there’s been a lot of focus and sought to bring them under con- this year on performance, whether trol,” he says. it’s trimming expenses to create bet- That said, a recent survey of 400 ter margins or finding other pock- supply chain executives worldwide ets of potential revenue, but that’s conducted by the company found that certainly not the case everywhere,” a lack of visibility into systems data is he says. “During 2009, I suspect a the number one challenge they face. great number of organisations have Over two-thirds of respondents said discovered the hard way that they that making sense of “overwhelming need a better understanding of how and fragmented data” about supply external factors are impacting in- chain performance is costly, difficult ternal performance, so that smarter and too time consuming. business decisions can be made in This creates “blind spots” at many response to changing conditions.” companies, causing them to fall be- And it’s not just in the finance de- hind on customers’ orders, with po- partment that this kind of visibility tentially damaging results, says Na- is required, he adds. Inside QlikTech, grath. By using BI technology, more BI is used widely to monitor sales, forward-thinking organisations are measure the success of marketing tackling this lack of visibility head-on, campaigns, get better insight into by using it to collect critical informa- customer trends and to track the tion about supply chain performance progress of customer support issues. from disparate systems, consolidate it “Performance management is vital and present it to managers in the form BI is allowing smart companies to quickly disseminate data around their organisations right across a business,” says Bjork. of meaningful reports and metrics. At “Whether it’s delivered by balanced these companies, he adds, the supply Benchmarking success scorecards or dashboards, employ- chain operation is seen as a critical ees at every level of the business and boardroom issue with direct links to in every department need to see the financial results - rather than a back- contribution they’re making to over- room operation. all performance and make adjust- Jason Saunders, a supply chain and ments accordingly,” he says. consumer goods specialist at manage- How are we performing against the targets we’ve very suddenly. A lot of data is needed to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) ment consultancy firm PA Consulting clarify the business’s performance to are at the heart of a performance Group has also seen this in action. He’s set? Smart companies use BI to find out, as date, as well as to model its likely future management initiative and are meant worked with a fast-moving consumer Jessica Twentyman reports performance. That was certainly the to provide both strategic and tactical goods (FMCG) company that com- case for us,” he says. “Had we still been measures of success (or failure) that bined an extensive supply chain track- T stuck using spreadsheets, we might have correlate to an overall corporate plan and-trace database, containing over he financial analysis team at granular level, and then aggregate it to struggled to provide what was needed. and set of objectives, according to an- 120 million product movements, with asset management firm In- provide information about perform- This was a real test of our BI capabilities alysts at IT market research company warehouse management data, prod- sight Investment plays a key ance at different levels in highly visual and we came out of it well.” Aberdeen Group, in a recent report uct information and invoicing details role in the company’s goal of formats,” says Exell. As part of the company’s ongoing into performance management tools. to determine ‘real’ customer-service managing its own finances as well as it Because of the company’s forward- BI journey, Insight Investment has re- KPIs, they say, can be forged from levels, inventory levels and to estab- manages its clients assets. thinking approach to BI and perform- cently invested in tools from QlikTech, financial planning, budgeting and lish true supply chain velocity across That means presenting the compa- ance management, it is able to iden- which Exell explains will further en- forecasting activities or from a sepa- 6,000 stock keeping units (KPUs) and ny’s senior management with regular tify the costs associated with running hance employees’ ability to access and rate initiative such as a balanced 1,000 customers. “This near real-time monthly, quarterly and annual re- a particular fund - the cost of fund view vital performance data. “Prior scorecard or corporate dashboard visibility meant scarce resources could ports that show both costs and reve- management, the cost of the market to the purchase, QlikTech provided project. They can provide “busi- be allocated to the opportunities that nues associated with particular parts data they require to do their job, the a proof of concept, demonstrating ness alignment” across all levels of would create best value,” he says. of the business, as well as responding cost of developing the fund, and so a highly scalable platform using real an organisation with clearly defined That points to a trend in which quickly and accurately to ad-hoc en- on. Equally, it can track revenues gen- business data, which supports not only “cascaded targets” - multiple layers the value of BI-enabled performance quiries as they arise. erated by individual product groups the finance team’s requirements, but of performance measures from en- management is increasingly impor- “To do this, I need good quality and (such as fixed income or liability-driv- also the wider business as we make the terprise-wide initiatives to individu- tant in every part of a company’s op- accessible data and business intelligence en investments), funds, fund manag- BI platform available across it.” al goals and benchmarks - to create erations. “Performance management (BI) tools that are flexible enough to ers and clients. “So if our chief opera- accountability and track progress. encompasses more than just financial extract information from that data ef- tion officer comes to me and asks me aChIEvING CLarITy “The success of any performance data,” says Aberdeen Group analysts fectively, since I’ve no way of knowing how much business do we currently Not every company is able to measure management programme is thus de- David Hatch and Michael Lock. in advance what question will be asked attract from companies in a particu- its own performance with such clarity. pendent on an effective strategy for “Companies that have exhibitied next,” says David Merchant, head of fi- lar industry sector, for example, I can In research conducted during 2009 by defining, tracking, visualising and top performance have taken a broad nancial analysis at Insight. quickly get an answer back to him,” Clive Longbottom and Bob Tarzey at acting upon KPIs,” they say. approach that includes the measure- Trying to provide that information says Merchant. IT market analyst firm Quocirca, the Every company has data it could be ment of customers, organisations, using spreadsheets proved unwork- That kind of responsiveness was vi- analysts found that most organisations using to measure performance, ac- process and innovation capabilities, able. So Merchant teamed up with the tal during Insight Investment’s recent still have much work to do. In particu- cording to Bjork - but the ability to in addition to financial metrics. Pro- company’s head of IT strategy, Gareth £235 million acquisition by BNY Mel- lar, a striking gap was identified between extract it in the form of meaningful spective buyers of performance man- Exell, to build a BI platform for per- lon. “When a company engages in this the data needs of organisations and the and (more importantly) actionable agement technology should challenge formance management. “We knew we kind of transaction, the data require- technology in place to fulfill them. information, he says, is what allows solutions providers to demonstrate needed an approach that would en- ments of its executive team - and that of “Enterprise performance manage- high performers to push ahead of that their software and services can able us to consolidate data at a highly the acquiring company - tend to escalate ment is still in its early days, with the their competition. address more than financial KPIs.”
    • BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE 11 The ability to measure business intelligence projects. “It’s one thing asking someone to change their public sector performance behaviour based on your hunch, but has been dramatically quite another if you can go in with solid statistics showing the consequences of improved by business what they’re doing,” he says. intelligence applications, KPMG recently worked with a stra- writes Sally whittle tegic health authority to measure the ease of access to health services in L the county. “We looked at how easy it ike every NHS Trust across was for people to get appointments at the UK, NHS South West various surgeries and clinics, and how Essex Community Services that related to things like opening is measured against the gov- hours, the range of services offered, ernment’s 18-week patient pathway, and so on,” explains Stott. “The result which stipulates that no patient was to give us some real insight into should wait more than 18 weeks af- what opening hours worked best, how ter a referral to begin treatment. nurses might be used most effectively, Reporting how well the organisa- what additional services would im- tion was performing against this tar- prove access and which wouldn’t.” get used to take three days a week, The Health Authority was then able but this reporting now takes just five to talk to GPs about their findings, but minutes a week, thanks to a business also to tweak its bonus and incentive intelligence application. schemes to encourage surgeries to The Trust had been producing per- adopt its recommendations. “With- formance reports on six community out business intelligence, that sort of services when the 18-week pathway insight would have taken years to de- was implemented, which meant reports velop, and perhaps wouldn’t be possi- would be needed for all 50 community ble at all,” says Stott. services. “We were gathering report data manually but to scale that up to all 50 of GraphIC our services was simply not viable,” says Business intelligence dashboards have Julie Price, head of performance and been around for many years, but the business development at NHS South latest products are a huge improvement West Essex Community Services. on early models, says Bob McDowall, a Instead, the Trust worked with 21C research director with Tower Group. to deploy a Microsoft business intelli- “We now have a range of graphical gence solution that provides staff with tools that enable non-expert users to a simple to use dashboard. The dash- see virtually any data at any stage of its board amalgamates data from various journey,” he says. “Today’s dashboards Public confidence back-end systems and presents users can also pull much more data from far with simple to read, real-time data. “It more systems, often in near real-time.” means we’re working with dynamic Arguments can be particularly com- information rather than data that’s a pelling when they’re illustrated with a month out of date,” says Price. dashboard – a graphic front end that presents data in simple to read formats EffICIENCy aNd NhS Trusts have worked to deploy business intelligence systems to improve their service such as bar charts, traffic lights or car- pErformaNCE style gauges with needles pointing to- Business intelligence is increasingly pulling data from multiple sources and tor of IS with the University. “We have summer period, when accommodation wards “green”, “amber” or “red” zones. being used in the local authorities, integrating it into a single feed, which a £175 million turnover and aim to is being allocated and the availability “They sound a bit Noddy-like, but chief universities and NHS Trusts to drive can then be viewed in any number of generate a £2 million surplus each year. can change minute by minute. “Previ- executives and senior executives really efficiency and performance improve- different configurations. Second, most So it doesn’t take much to go wrong be- ously, that information was in the sys- like dashboards, and for good reason,” ments, says Anthony Dent, manag- tools today incorporate dashboards or fore we’re looking at a deficit.” tem, but it would be a case of someone says Stott. “What a dashboard does is ing director of BI specialist Dynistics. other graphical front-ends which make Using business intelligence tools from being employed to go off and produce a give you something that says, of the 150 “That adoption is definitely being driv- it easier than ever to understand huge Dynistics, the University is able to track report, which would then take a whole things you care about, I think you need en by a target-based culture, and the swathes of data at a glance. usage of staff, office and other resources, day to read,” Swayne adds. “Providing to be concerned about these three. need to report against more and more Business intelligence can also high- and make adjustments as necessary. departmental heads with dashboards “However, it’s vital to ensure that proc- performance metrics to secure fund- light trends and missed opportunities, “One simple thing we can do is track has been really popular, because people esses are actually in place to act upon the ing,” he says. “People don’t have time to she adds. “The public sector often has how efficiently our computer rooms are can see at a glance if they’re spending information presented by dashboards. create and then try and read 20 reports enormous amounts of wastage which being used, and we can put that infor- more than was projected, of if they don’t There’s a danger sometimes that dash- or huge spreadsheets every morning.” people aren’t aware of, and business mation on screens around the universi- have the resources available for the actu- boards can become a PR exercise, where There are two key advantages to using intelligence throws a big spotlight on ty, so students can easily see where they al number of students they’re expecting. you’re seen to be measuring something business intelligence in the public sec- that,” says Burnett. can go and work,” says Swayne. Business intelligence can also pro- like anti-social behaviour, but nothing re- tor, says Sarah Burnett, a senior analyst At Nottingham Trent University, vide powerful insights into how service ally changes on the ground,” says Burnett. with Ovum. First, business intelligence business intelligence is used to track rESoUrCES delivery can be improved, adds Dan- “You need to ensure someone is watch- tools can automate much of the grunt how efficiency resources are being used Having real-time access to information iel Stott, a director at KPMG who has ing and knows what to do if something work in reporting by automatically at every level, says David Swayne, direc- is also hugely important during the worked with numerous NHS Trusts on on the dashboard turns red,” she says.
    • 12 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE Performance-driven this is the only area where I really talk tomers, but not always. It’s become about BI technology in the book. It’s difficult for people to keep track of all the notion of having common trust the acquisitions that have taken place in data, good availability and cur- in the BI market in recent years – it’s rency of data, and people who have a pretty complicated stuff and it cre- cultures fluency and a comfort with data and ates challenges in the marketplace. information systems and know where But at the same time, it’s spurred the they need to go to get answers. This growth of some interesting smaller is probably the most difficult area to companies and the adoption of things address, because most organisations like Software-as-a-Service [SaaS] and don’t have much confidence in the open source. With SaaS, there are con- The ‘father of business intelligence’ is a very busy man. Howard Dresner data literacy of their employees. It’s an cerns over security and privacy that area where IT and BI efforts can help, need to be overcome, although I’m was talking to Jessica Twentyman just weeks after the publication of but clearly not in isolation. The final not aware of any breaches to date. On his new book, Profiles in Performance force is what I call “organisational the plus side, these solutions promise activism” – those people that are pas- faster time-to-action and a lower cost sionate about driving change for the solution and only paying for your ac- you’re often got to see the runway and it’s got to better within their organisations and tual use – these are positives and that’s billed as the man be within 200 feet, otherwise you can’t do so in a relentless way. certainly creating traction for BI SaaS. who coined the land. Likewise, in data analysis, you Most of the tools out there seem to de- “ term “business collect all this wonderful data, build liver on these promises, but the down- intelligence”. Is that true? correlation tables and spot relation- ships - but how do you see which one Sometimes side is this: we’re rebuilding the same old stovepipes that we’ve had before. That is, in fact, true – I started using it is the cause and which is the effect? It’s not always easy to tell from data. You acquisition is the Sales goes off and buys their preferred BI SaaS solution, finance goes off and back in 1989 and it’s a legacy I’ve lived with ever since need to look beyond. best thing that does the same. So how do we build an integrated perspective? Not easily. [laughs]. I was working at that time for Digital Equipment Corporation. So what is a performance- directed culture? can happen for a When you’re not thinking about I then joined [market research firm] Gartner in 1992 and spent 13 years It’s a culture that embraces BI and knows how to use it to build models company and its your next book, blog, seminar or client engagement, where do you there, during which time I was the lead of reality and then build on that learn- customers, but turn to get other perspectives? ” analyst for BI and eventually a Gartner ing. In my new book, I discuss “Four I’ve just finished reading the latest research fellow. After 13 years, I want- ed to try something new, so instead of dresner coined the term ‘business intelligence’ Forces” that I see at work within high- achieving, performance-driven or- not always book from Robert Kaplan & David Norton, the founders of the Pal- dispensing advice to organisations, I ganisations. The first force is visionary ladium Group, a company I work decided to put my ideas into practice management. My new book, Profiles leadership – the people responsible In your view, how has the with frequently. But for anyone who and joined BI company Hyperion as in Performance, very much focuses on for setting strategy and who drive rampant market consolidation wants to think for a living, I believe chief strategy officer. I spent two years culture – it really doesn’t focus much transparency and accountability with- of BI in recent years impacted it’s also important to read outside up until the company’s acquisition on the technology at all. In it, I discuss in the organisation. The second force business leaders’ ability to of your discipline. So right now I’m by Oracle and then struck out on my how organisations need to think and is business advocacy – a grassroots ef- navigate the market and choose reading historian Edward own. These days, I focus on thought the belief systems that need to be in fort, where people within the business the best tools for them? Rutherford’s New York: leadership, which manifests itself in place in order to act upon insights. If begin to break down barriers of tribal Market consolidation is a cause for The Novel. I also get the the form of books, blogs, webinars you get that right, BI services the life- behaviour and start to see the merits concern, to some degree. Sometimes Economist, the Harvard and seminars around the world, and blood, the currency of a performance- of collaborating and sharing informa- acquisition is the best thing that can Business Review and the primary research, focussing on the directed culture, by turning data into tion. The third force is data literacy – happen for a company and its cus- Wall Street Journal. notion of performance-directed cul- information. The message has been ex- ture. I also work with a small group of tremely well-received and many people organisations, helping them to use BI come up to me and tell me this is ex- to outperform their peers. actly what they’re dealing with at work. There’s too much emphasis placed on In many ways, your career has tools and technology – on advanced been devoted to understanding visualisation, predictive analytics, how companies can get a search. These are all great technologies, competitive differentiation from certainly, but we’re missing the point BI. how have recent advances in of BI. BI should give you an anchor, a technology helped? starting point, a foundation to go out Clearly, BI technology continues to and learn some more about your or- advance. Who would want to go back ganisation and how it’s performing. to where we were twenty years ago BI technology is a means to an end. It’s technologically? But we’re now at the not the end in itself. point where the technology available exceeds our ability to absorb and utilise So where do you believe the data it produces. We’ve simply not organisations are going wrong? kept pace. That’s why so much of my So many organisations go through energy focuses on the “softer” sides of data analysis and they think they BI and performance management. My know what reality is and they don’t. first book, The Performance Manage- They have one view of reality, but it’s ment Revolution, was a sort of “cook not the whole picture. The fact is that book” around BI and performance the improbable can’t be predicted. Data is very much a rear-view mir- ror, it can only tell us what we can ex- REAdING LIST pect if nothing ever changes – and we know from history that this is not the case. You have to go out in the world Profiles in Performance: Busi- and test your models and assumptions ness Intelligence Journeys and you’ll learn things you simply and the Roadmap for Change. couldn’t have learned any other way. By Howard Dresner, 2009 I’m a pilot, so I like aviation examples: The Performance Management even when you’re flying in instrument Revolution: Business Results flight rules [IFR] conditions, the ob- Through Insight and Action. jective is to use the instrumentation By Howard Dresner, 2007 until you can get the visual reference necessary to land the plane. You’ve BI should give a company an anchor or starting point to learn about their organisation
    • BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE 13 finger on the pulse desk, says Alys Woodward, a research then dashboards and targets gener- analyst with IDC. “You must consult ally will be very demoralising.” with employees and departmental Once you have identified what managers throughout the process. Ask you need to measure, and have se- for their input on what metrics they cured employee buy-in, the final would find useful to do their jobs bet- consideration is what your dash- Intelligent ‘dashboards’ are saving vital time and providing crucial ter, and also what potential stumbling board should look like. The best blocks they might encounter.” dashboards can be customised and information for businesses, writes Sally whittle easily changed depending on what SharE To SUCCEEd S a user needs to know, or how the oftware development firm with detailed information on previ- intelligence metrics with employees. In addition, you must also make it business environment changes. The Vectorform has opera- ous projects and costings means that For starters, when things aren’t going easy for employees who don’t meet most important thing is not to be tions in the US, Germany they can provide better, more ac- well, do you really want your employees targets or who see falling perform- tempted to include everything – just and India, and works on a curate quotes and timelines to new looking at a sea of red on their comput- ance to address any issues. “If you because you can. “Most businesses wide variety of projects using many clients. “And the best thing is we ers every day? And will your employees look at Royal Mail, it’s a great ex- have far too many metrics, which different skills and techniques. It’s haven’t had to spend a day training welcome the sharing of information or ample of a target being shared – completely overload individuals,” common for projects to span mul- everyone, because they already know will they suspect you’re looking for poor that postal workers should do their says Richard Traish, a senior partner tiple teams and offices – sometimes how to use this without any special- performers to get rid of? rounds faster – but the employees with consulting firm Kurt Salmon even different continents. ist knowledge,” says Spadafore. These are questions you must con- complain that there are specific rea- Associates. “I would suggest focus- This presents Charles Spadafore, Traditionally, business intelligence sider because poorly implemented sons why rounds are actually tak- ing on perhaps three key initiatives the company’s director of operations, has been used as a way for senior dashboards are about as effective as ing longer,” says Woodward. “If you or KPIs, and they should be in line with a real challenge – how to ensure management to gain insight into sticking CCTV on every employee’s can’t resolve those kinds of issues, with corporate strategies.” the company is using its resources how well an organisation is perform- efficiently, and how to capture in- ing against strategic goals. But an formation about current projects to increasing number of companies are deliver better quotes and services to finding that using graphical BI tools customers in the future. to share key performance metrics “One issue we had was knowing how and data with employees can drive up our skills were being utilised, so for ex- both performance and productivity. ample, do we have enough free Silver- light developers to work on this project, pErformaNCE TarGETS or are we going to have spare capacity At Essilor, the world’s biggest produc- on another skill set next month,” ex- er of ophthalmic lenses, the company plains Spadafore. “For a business of has placed plasma screens around the our size in the current market, we want production department so sales staff to know we’re always minimising waste can see Dynistics Active dashboards and maximising efficiency.” showing performance against key per- For this reason, Vectorform has formance targets. The company also deployed a Microsoft business in- holds “dashboard meetings” every telligence solution utilising Office, morning, where managers can assess SharePoint and SQL Server, includ- what’s happening in the company, and ing the beta version of Office 2010. what needs to be addressed. The reason for choosing Microsoft “The use of dashboards has enabled over higher-end specialist tools? “For employees at all levels of the business starters, those tools were too complex to access and view information relating to roll out broadly within the organi- to their work in real-time, throughout zation and get any real adoption, but the day,” says Arif Samnani, Essilor’s really Microsoft is a very familiar en- UK IT manager. “We’ve seen a signifi- vironment so it’s easy for us to push cant increase in achieving our daily tar- that knowledge out to the team, to gets, and we’ve also reduced paper us- empower them with these insights.” age because we’re not printing so many By letting the sales team track what reports, so we have been able to reduce skills are allocated and what’s avail- our carbon footprint.” able, it’s possible to focus on con- While it might sound tempting to put tracts that will make use of what’s a dashboard on every desktop, experts available. Providing project teams urge caution when sharing business AS SEEN oN SCREEN As we have all become used to accessing huge amounts of informa- tion instantly via internet search engines, so BI software providers have developed their technology to allow end-users to view key com- pany information in a clear, readable and informative way. Ensuring a company is using its resources efficiently allows them to deliver better services to customers
    • 14 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE Crunching the carbon numbers Any organisation, for instance, the Ministry of defence, seeking to measure its carbon footprint will probably have to draw raw data from a number of sources The Ministry of Defence is frequently criticised for preserve the bottom line. Thus, and as So any organization seeking to years, sub-meters will be introduced Ben Weilgus, an advisor on sustain- measure its carbon footprint will to provide a much more comprehen- failing to control spending but over the next few ability issues at KPMG explains, there probably have to draw data from a sive picture of consumption patterns years the officials who patrol its offices and bases is a real need for accurate information. number of sources – such as fuel ac- within sites. The second phase will “The focus at the moment is on driv- counts or travel receipts – and put sys- also see the installation of 800 oil me- intend to clamp down hard on energy consumption, ing cost out of the business,” he says. tems in place to capture all the infor- ters to measure the consumption of writes Trevor Clawson “Energy efficiency provides a means to mation required. Equally important, fuel burned on the premises. reduce costs and it is something that the organization will have to take a And as the information flows in, I every company should be doing but un- view on how much detail is required. Matthew Foley expects the SIRA tool to n line with the government’s pol- The system is designed to feed infor- less you understand the numbers, it is For instance, does a manufacturer do more than monitor consumption. icy on climate change, the MOD mation to a central database where it very hard to take effective action.” with multiple sites simply meter each Over time it will provide the MOD with is committed to a 30 per cent can be sliced, diced and analysed right Getting those numbers undoubtedly facility or does it measure consump- intelligence that will enable it to hone cut in carbon emissions by 2010 down to meter level to assess the ef- requires upfront spending. As Peter tion on every production line? its energy efficiency strategy. “Initially, against 1999/2000 levels. In order to fectiveness of the ministry’s energy sav- Graf, chief sustainability officer at busi- it’s about knowing what our consump- hit that target, the ministry has been ing strategy. “If you can’t measure your ness management software company ComprEhENSIvE pICTUrE tion is,” he says. “But once we have the investing in a range of energy-efficient energy consumption, you can’t man- SAP observes, the first step in any ener- The MOD has taken a gradualist ap- data we can look at the consumption technologies, including new lighting age it,” says Matthew Foley, head of the gy reduction strategy is putting a figure proach. Initially every site in the estate patterns and ask telling questions. If a controls, bio mass boilers and ground Central Programme for Energy Office on where the organization is today and will have a single gas or electricity site registers high consumption that source heat pumps. at the MOD. “By using SIRA we have a even establishing that base point can be meter feeding data to the BI report- can’t be explained away we can ask When you add up capital spend- central source of assured, timely data.” an expensive and complex undertak- ing tool. However, over the next few managers to take action.” ing from the MOD’s own budget, ing. SAP committed itself to a 50 per cross-government funding for carbon poWEr cent cut in carbon emissions by 2020 reduction measures, additional cash allocated by the Army, Navy and RAF, The MOD’s adoption of an automat- ed reporting system illustrates how when compared with 2007. “It cost us half a million dollars just to work out GREENING ThE SUPPLY ChAIN and third party grants and loans, the business intelligence solutions are how much carbon we were using at investment in energy efficiency is set playing an increasingly important role that time,” Graf recalls. According to David Abood, executive director of the climate change to come in at around £28 million. It’s in helping public and private sector So why is it so expensive to read the group at consultancy Accenture, demand for information on carbon a case of spending now to save later organisations to cut costs and reduce gas or electricity bill? Well, measuring is likely to increase as regulators and shareholders seek ever more and one of the challenges facing offi- their environmental impact, particu- the output from meters is relatively detailed reporting on sustainability issues. Indeed, he predicts that cials is proving that investments made larly in the field of energy efficiency. straightforward, but as John Winstanley, businesses will be asked to provide accurate data on carbon “em- today can be justified in terms of sig- It’s not hard to see why. If you look partner responsible for sustainable bedded” in goods and services coming in through the supply chain. nificantly lower energy bills in the at the single issue of power consump- computing at professional services firm This will be a major challenge. “There are systems that will measure years ahead. To measure the effective- tion, around 5,000 UK organisations Deloitte points out, a comprehensive some of this but a lot of information is not included,” he says. “I ness of their carbon reduction/energy will be affected by the imminent im- energy audit usually extends beyond the would expect to see the companies that provide ERP (enterprise re- efficiency strategy the ministry’s offi- plementation of the Carbon Reduc- power consumed to keep lights burning source planning) solutions doing more in this area,” he says. cials need data – and lots of it. tion Commitment – a mandatory and computers humming. “In the case Peter Graf of SAP agrees. Supply chains tend be optimized for cost Much of that essential informa- emissions cap and trade scheme de- of my firm, one of the biggest areas of and value rather than environmental impact, “ he says. “Going for- tion will come from a new generation signed to bring down the UK’s over- spend is business travel,” he says. “But if ward we will need to build environmental data into ERP tools.” of smart electricity and gas meters, all carbon footprint. Meanwhile, bat- you’re in the retail business you would So as public and private sector organisations continue to square linked to sustainable reporting tool – tered by the perfect storm of a deep be looking at fuel costs across the distri- up to the green agenda, the likelihood is that we will see a new gen- SIRA – supplied by IT services com- recession and rising fuel costs, British bution network. Manufacturers should eration of business intelligence tools monitoring and reporting on pany Logica and business intelligence companies increasingly see energy ef- be looking at the carbon used to pro- energy consumption across a broadening range of business activity. technology provider Qlik Tech. ficiency as a priority as they strive to duce a particular component.”
    • BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE 15 necessary as a shift in technologies, warns Neale of SAP Business Objects. The strategic use of “It’s about creating a workplace where analysis-led decisions are the norm and where there is a general expecta- tion that necessary information will be BI in 2010 provided, or at least made easily acces- sible, to those who need it,” he says. Re- search suggests that companies where BI is more pervasive - and not just the sole preserve of senior executives - tend Jessica Twentyman asks how to be more profitable, he says. “As eco- nomic conditions improve, it will be organisations will use BI to combat the companies that have established uncertain economic conditions in this kind of culture that will be in the best shape to take advantage of new the year ahead opportunities as they arise.” It’s a view echoed by analysts at Gartner in an April 2009 research re- port, entitled “Overcoming the Gap Between Business Intelligence and Decision Support’. “ Organisations need to understand that a shift in Companies are focusing on strategic BI to tackle a wide range of business problems thinking may be just as necessary H as the world economy Many companies have seen the ben- earliest stages of mainstream uptake, additional analysis of the supplier da- turned a corner? In recent efits of their BI investments during but growing in popularity. tabase and purchaser hierarchies. By as a shift in ” months, there have been 2009. Despite the downturn – or per- “When dramatic market fluctua- being able to include this level of data, grounds for cautious opti- mism, with the US, France and Germa- haps because of it – the market for BI tools grew 22 per cent to $8.8 billion in tions are a fact of life, today’s BI tools are engineered to gather the most re- we have managed to give ourselves in- sight into potential scales of economy technology ny all posting positive quarterly growth 2008, a significant leap from the 13 per cent data available, providing streams that has not been available before. This in gross domestic product [GDP]. cent growth clocked up between 2007 of alerts generated by a variety of is an invaluable ability for an organisa- “Most BI deployments emphasise Most business leaders expect to and 2008, according to figures from IT back-end systems, so that users can tion that’s primary existence is based information delivery and analysis to wait a while longer before they have market research company Gartner. monitor events as they unfold and re- on reducing costs and adding value support fact-based decision-making, full confidence that what they’re see- In 2010, they will continue to fo- spond accordingly,” he explains. through strategic purchasing.” but fail to link them to the decision it- ing are truly the much-hailed “green cus on strategic BI to tackle a wide Some organisations are simply look- Similarly, customers are turning to self, the decision outcome, to decision- shoots of renewal”. While they do so, range of strategic business problems ing for a BI solution that can deliver Microsoft’s BI solution in a downturned making best practices, or to the related however, it seems likely that they’ll – sales turbulence, tight profit mar- quickly, at low cost, according to Lars economy because it’s allowing them to collaboration and decision inputs. This continue to invest in strategic business gins, shortening product lifecycles. Bjork, CEO of BI supplier QlikTech. ROI leverage the technology infrastructure reduces the quality and transparency intelligence (BI) tools during 2010, “In uncertain economic times, the is a top priority right now, he says, and they already own in many regards. Says of resulting decisions,” they say. despite the pressure of flat IT budgets. stakes are significantly higher for not every company has the resources or Microsoft’s Tom Casey, “many people are As a result, they say, knowledge “Although talk of an economic re- inclination to completely revamp their just now realizing that if you have Of- workers are making a slew of large “ covery is gathering steam, organisations BI infrastructure to achieve it. His com- fice, SharePoint and SQL Server in your and small decisions that are lost every are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to increasing IT investment,” explains Sh- BI is being pany differentiates itself from traditional online analytical processing (OLAP) organization – and most do – you have a powerful, enterprise-grade BI solution.” day. Examples include: which cus- tomer segments should receive which ventank Shah, executive director at re- search and training company Corporate used in a variety tools for BI by offering a radically differ- ent approach – Associative Query Lan- Not every organisation is ready for the deluge of data that this real-time discounts and offers? Should we make this new business investment? Should Executive Board (CEB), which recently of different guage (AQL). This enables computation approach will create, but there are still we hire more staff? What new features ” conducted research into the 2010 spend- of extensive data sets on low-cost hard- plenty of sophisticated capabilities of- should we add to our product? What ing plans of IT heads at 200 large global companies. “That doesn’t mean that IT ways ware, using dynamic queries without the need for pre-defined data structures. fered within their existing BI suites to explore, says Richard Neale, UK & are the best launch venues and activi- ties for our new product? organisations will spend 2010 looking in- “The current economic climate ac- Ireland product marketing manager “Decisions to take corrective action, ward. CIOs will also be looking to quick- businesses. Resources are scarcer, and tually works in our favour,” says Bjork. at SAP Business Objects. “We’re see- analyse and choose from options, iden- ly reposition as the situation changes and as a result, bad decisions have dis- “QlikView delivers effective analysis ing a real appetite among customers to tify new opportunities, determine root use new analytics capabilities to better proportionately large consequences,” with rapid time-to-value, and it’s so achieve a clearer understanding of the causes, and assess or respond to chang- understand and serve their customers says Iyas AlQasem, EMEA head of easy to implement and use, that com- internal state of their businesses in or- es in the competitive environment are and drive productivity internally.” application consulting at EMC Con- panies also save on service and train- der to combat external volatility. They the lifeblood of knowledge-worker ac- That tallies with research from IT sulting. “Making key decisions based ing costs. That makes it an easy pur- are increasingly using BI capabilities to tivity,” they say. What is needed to sup- market analyst firm Gartner, which re- on fact and analysis may lack the bra- chase to justify,” he says. draw a clearer correlation between how port them is the convergence of tech- cently listed the top ten technologies and vado of making them based on gut QlikView’s users are unanimous in those external conditions could affect nologies such as BI, social software and trends that will be the most strategic for instinct – but given the choice, most their praise of the new system. Jan Nangle, future performance,” he says. But man- decision frameworks - which are not businesses in 2010. Advanced analytics companies would rather grow and eCommerce Manager, North West NHS agers rarely make strategic decisions available as out-of-the-box decision- take the number two spot on that list of take market share methodically, than Commercial Collaborative Agency, says: based on business intelligence data support applications today. priorities, just behind cloud computing. decline and go bust in style,” he says. “It’s clear that we haven’t yet scratched alone, he points out, which is why cus- But they predict that, during the That’s because, in uncertain econom- the surface of what we can do with this tomers are also looking to BI vendors next decade, technologies and busi- ic times, making vital corporate deci- a NEW Look aT BI software. I can quite easily see us doing a to incorporate collaborative functions ness practices will converge to enable sions solely on the basis of gut-feeling In order to achieve their strategic lot more with this and sharing even more into their BI environments, helping us- collaborative decision-making that and instinct can be a very risky business. goals in 2010, organisations will use information in six months time.” ers to collaborate with their colleagues will address this un-met need and By contrast, BI tools enable businesses BI in a wide variety of different ways, “We originally came across QlikView on the decision-making process. market opportunity. Until that time, to “slice and dice” the data they hold, so predicts Nick Millman, lead for infor- in other organisations and saw that however, companies should begin that actions taken at every level of the mation management services at man- it handled exactly what we wanted – NoT jUST TEChNoLoGy experimenting with applying these business are underpinned by meaning- agment consultancy firm Accenture. benefits reporting and cost analysis However they choose to embrace BI, kinds of capabilities to a few, high- ful analyses of past performance, cur- One way, he says, is through more use – relatively easily. Since then we’ve de- organisations need to understand value strategic decisions. And 2010, it rent conditions and likely future trends. of real-time capabilities, still in the veloped its use for the NHS to include that a shift in thinking may be just as seems, may be an ideal time to start.
    • qlikview.com Change comes in different shapes and sizes. Some we notice, most revolutionising thing to hit Business Intelligence, not least others get less attention. Many go unseen. Yet changes are because of the enormous value it brings to their companies what they are, and without them the world would be a very on a daily basis. QlikView is extremely powerful and agile, dull place. Still, in many areas nothing seems to happen. Take everyone can use it and it can be customised to meet the real ours, Business Intelligence, for example. Not a lot that could needs of organisations around the world. With a little help be called ‘intelligent’ has come out of it, which is why we deci- from QlikView, they’re changing the world for thousands ded to do something about it. What once began as a different including themselves. idea is now QlikView, a super-smart tool for analysing busi- ness critical information. In fact, our customers think it’s the Now change yours.