Business intelligence buyer guide


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Business intelligence buyer guide

  1. 1. Business Intelligence SalesPanda Editorial Content Buying Guide for May, 2014
  2. 2. Page 2 Why this Guide? This guide will help technology buyers understand the basics of Business Intelligence and its relevance to different industries. It will guide the buyers on the steps to be taken in evaluating the Business Intelligence solutions and finalizing the right product and implementation partners. Who can use this guide? Any technology buyer who is planning to evaluate or implement Business Intelligence for their organisation in the next 3 to 12 months would find this guide useful. What next after reading this? The guide not only gives a framework for evaluation but also provides a repository of content on SalesPanda for further research. For those who are in evaluation phase the guide gives links to the products available and list of solutions providers in the buyer geography for implementation or the IT evaluator can get in touch with the SalesPanda team for a free architectural assessment and recommendation.
  3. 3. Page 3 Table of Contents 1. What is Business Intelligence 2. Business Use Cases a. Reporting platform b. Forecasting c. Dashboard d. Multidimensional analysis 3. Market Trends and recent events 4. Business Intelligence Evaluation Criteria a. Capability b. Integration c. Choice of Vendors 5. BI Components and conceptual framework 6. Key Product Vendors a. SAP b. Information Builders c. Microstrategy d. SAS e. IBM Cognos f. Open Source g. Others 7. Services Framework and Implementation Check Points 8. Pricing Guide 9. Summary
  4. 4. Page 4 1. What is Business Intelligence? Business Intelligence, commonly known as BI is a collection of software applications that are used to analyze an organization’s raw data and transform them into a set of meaningful and useful information for business purposes. It helps in interpreting large amounts of data. Companies use BI to improve decision making. It is also used to identify inefficient business processes that can be re-engineered.BI is capable of handling enormous amounts of data in order to identify, develop and create new opportunities that can be turned into a competitive advantage and provide long term stability to the organization. 2. Business Use Cases: BI technologies are typically helpful in the following four fields: a. Reporting platform: This is the most common use of BI. Business intelligence technologies are used to build reports that show the actual and also how the actual results sum up against the short term and long term targets of the organization. Reports generated can be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually according to the requirement. b. Forecasting: One is never sure what the future holds. However, a little bit of forecasting always helps as it is extrapolation of the existing data and is not a complete guess. BI can be used to predict forecasts based on analysis of the historical data. c. Dashboard: The main purpose of a dashboard is to convey the data and information at a glance. There is hardly any requirement for drilling down on this data. BI is used to prepare such dashboards which are presentable and easy to use.
  5. 5. Page 5 d. Multidimensional analysis: This is more commonly known as slicing and dicing of the data. This offers an insight into the data at a more fundamental level. A strong data warehousing/data mart backend along with skilled BI professionals are prerequisites to multidimensional analysis. 3. Market Trends and recent events:  Visual data discovery: BI tools are based on the concept that the customer can write his own query without having to know SQL. Visual data discovery has made the tools even more easy and flexible to use when it comes to reporting, building dashboards and business query. It increases the agility to manipulate and then mash the data together. Along with this it also offers interactive, user-friendly visuals.  Cloud based BI: While cloud computing has been able to make dents in every software segment, BI is still relatively untouched. As the cloud vendors in this segment like Birst, GoodData and Indicee have remained niche players. However, 2014 looks like the year where cloud could make a strong hold in BI as many industrial changes are taking place in favor of it.  Mobile BI: Mobile will continue to drive the adoption of BI that will make the latter more relevant to field and front-line workers as well as will also reignite executive interest. Still in most of the organizations that have implemented BI, mobile BI for the employees has been implemented on a relatively small scale.  In-Memory becomes mainstream: Now all leading BI platform vendors have in-memory solutions, with Oracle being the last to join the ranks with its Exalytics appliance, which runs the TimesTen in-memory database. Kicking off 2013, SAP announced the ability to run its core transactional (OLTP)
  6. 6. Page 6 applications on the in-memory database. Nonetheless, debate about when to use in-memory or when to use an analytic appliance, columnar database or disk-based data warehouse will continue, driven by constraints including available expertise, analytic demands and cost. 4. Business Intelligence Evaluation Criteria: While selecting a business intelligence tool there are certain key aspects that should be evaluated: a. Capability: This concerns the set of features offered by each tool. b. Integration: It is very important that the BI tool is compatible with the existing company environment; existing data warehouse tools, company infrastructure as well as organizational policies. This ensures smooth integration. c. Choice of Vendors: These include the vendor characteristics which shape the buying decisions like product vision, market share, track record, industry experience, reviews and references and finally the most important of all pricing options. 5. BI Components and conceptual framework: This is a new platform through which customers can combine the capabilities offered by business intelligence with that of cloud based services. Source Systems ETL System DW System Reporting System
  7. 7. Page 7 6. Key Product Vendors: While there are abundant BI start-ups, the long term suppliers dominate the markets. The biggest of them are. a. SAP: SAP Business Objects includes a range of solutions for all company sizes across all industries and geographies. SAP has recently launched version 4.1 of the software which includes industry focused visualizations and spatial analytics, Big data support and increased access for Oracle’s Exadata, OLAP and Essbase. SAP has also launched a cloud-based, self-service BI solution called SAP Lumira cloud which helps in better analysis and collaboration of data. It is primarily aimed at small and medium organizations and departments within large organizations. Personal editions of Business Objects BI start at 99$ per user with online purchase. Other costs are tailored to the requirements of the organization. b. Information Builders: This supplier has been in the market since 1975. This year the company has come up WD two new products: WebFOCUS Social Media Analytics which uses data from social media interactions to provide insights into sales and marketing, customer responses. CLOUD Hosting services: This is a new platform through which customers can combine the capabilities offered by business intelligence with that of cloud based services.
  8. 8. Page 8 WebFOCUS is generally priced based on the servers that software runs on, so customers usually pay more when the number of concurrent users exceeds the capacity of the server on which they are running. c. Microstrategy: In 2010 Microstrategy started offering mobile on the iPad and iPhone and followed it up with two cloud offerings:  Microstrategy cloud- i. Launched in 2011. ii. It is an enterprise version iii. Data and analytics software are hosted and results are provided to portals or to mobile apps. iv. Data volume is unlimited.  Microstrategy Cloud Express- i. This has a monthly subscription model, priced per user with a capacity based annual contract. ii. Data volume is limited to 1 GB per user. iii. Launched in October 2012. d. SAS: SAS holds a 12.7% share of the business analytics market, 9% share of the overall BI and 35.25 shares of the advanced analytics. It has two key offerings:  SAS Enterprise BI Server- i. Integrates SAS analytics and SAS Data management. ii. Report delivery through mobile services. iii. Easy to use interfaces iv. Tailored to different types of personas such as power users, analysts, information builders and decision makers. v. Price is based on the server group classification on an annual fee basis and also includes technical support.  SAS Visual Analytics-
  9. 9. Page 9 i. Easy access to both descriptive and predictive analytics. ii. Conduct ad-hoc data analysis , visually explore the data, develop reports, dashboards, KPIs iii. Share insights through web and mobile tablets. iv. Addition of features like decision trees and scenario analysis. v. Currently runs on Linux servers with the next version also supporting 64 bit Windows. vi. Price is based on the total no. of cores in the cluster on an annual fee basis and also includes technical support. e. IBM Cognos: IBM Cognos 10.x suite:  It includes several versions ranging from entry level ones for a desktop to enterprise versions - i. The enterprise edition runs on AIX, HP ITANIUM, HP-UX, L INUX, SOLARIS or Windows. ii. Analyzes databases, spreadsheets, unstructured data and Big Data.  Cognos Express - i. For workgroups and mid-sized companies.
  10. 10. Page 10 ii. Consists of four modules- Reporter, Advisor (analysis and visualization), Xcelerator(Microsoft Xcel Analysis) and Planner(Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting). iii. All the modules can be purchased separately as well as a complete suite. f. Open Source: Pentaho and Jaspersoft offer reasonably capable open source versions as a stepping stone to commercial offering. g. Others: Other popular BI tools especially in the area of Data Discovery / Visual Analytics are Qlikview, Tableau etc. 7. Services Framework and Implementation Check Points: Some of the key implementation Check Points while selecting an implementation partner are: Source System - Identification - Mapping - Business Metadata Creation and Standardization ETL and DQ -ETL Jobs -Data Quality -Standardizations -Transformations DW/MDM System -Data Models -Schemas -Metadata Management Data Services -Definition -Standardization -Maintenance Reporting -Report Definition Predictive Analytics -Statistical Model -Forecasting and Prediction Information Management Strategy & Architecture
  11. 11. Page 11  Team size - The size of the team should be determined by optimization of manpower utilization and billing rates.  Number of years they have been in business - The track record and experience of the implementation partner should be carefully gauged and examined.  Domain knowledge and product understanding of the team that is in charge of executing the project.  Key clients - Who have been there impactful clients in the past as well as the present.  Types of implementation partners - Whether they are consultants or resellers or system integrators etc.? 8. Pricing Guide: Component Entry Level Mid-range Enterprise Class 0-10 Users 2-3 Lakhs 5-15 L 20L+ 10-100 4-5 L 10-20 35L Core Based 50L-1 Cr. (16 Core) 1-1.5 Cr. Annual Support 15-20% 20% 100% (very few products) Implementation 30-60% of License cost depending on complexity (Currency is INR) Reports and ETL work is segregated into low, medium and high complexity and typically assigned 1, 2 or 4 days respectively – this is typical, some reports/jobs can be more complex. While Open Source software is free, it does not have much capability and might have support issues. The Business Analysis and service fees are anyways required in case of Open Source BI implementations as well.
  12. 12. Page 12 9. Summary: According to a leading market research firm on technology products, companies spend about $79 billion a year on BI software and services and this spending is supposed to increase to $146 B by 2016. The above guide summarizes the basics of business intelligence, various vendors in the marketplace and their key offerings. In short, BI can help an organization to enable global operations, streamline data delivery, drive profitability, increase customer loyalty, accelerate decision making, tapping business insights, ensuring transparency and accountability and a host of other operations by better understanding and analysis of the raw data. The key players in the market at present are SAP, Information builders, Microstrategy, IBM Cognos and SAS. Increasingly, vendors are coming up with solutions in the cloud and Mobile space. SalesPanda is a Global B2B Marketplace for everything about technology. We help you evaluate the right technology solution and connect to the right solution provider. Our endeavor is to help the technology buyers and evaluators get the requisite help at every stage of evaluation. Whether you educate yourself, preparing a business case, or buying technology, you do it all on SalesPanda. You can browse curated technology content, research products, connects to the solution provider or request a quote or product information on the platform. All this happens in a seamless integrated way. © 2014 Bizight Solutions Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved. Call us on +91-9810288668 or write to us at for a free architectural consultation for your enterprise Business Intelligence needs.