IBM Software Group Business Analytics softwareWhite PaperMeet the Analysis Needs of BusinessUsers with Business Intelligence
2 Meet the Analysis Needs of Business Users with Business IntelligenceOverviewCustomer buying behavior, demand patterns and marketplace “There’s a growing sense organizations mighttrends are constantly shifting and evolving. To keep up,companies require a wide range of analysis capabilities. find it easier to attain a return on their BIHowever, different analysis tools, information silos, multiple investments by getting the software into the handsplatforms and excessive reliance on spreadsheets make it of more ‘average’ users.”1difficult to analyze information with accuracy. Often, there isno on-demand access to data, information and context in —Ann All, IT Business Edge1real-time. Also, accessing corporate information is oftenhampered by limited connectivity and cultural barriers. Executives need to be able to explore a timely and reliable view of their business and take action to drive better businessAs a result, companies have to deal with complex, disconnected outcomes and decision-making. Business managers require aand inefficient analysis processes that affect the entire single, reliable view of information that can help them focus onorganization. Executives cannot explore a timely and reliable issues that need attention and action. Business analysts have toview of business performance. Business managers invest conduct in-depth analysis effectively and share results easilyexcessive time and resources in the processes of searching and with broader business communities. Advanced analysts mustreviewing multiple views of data instead of making decisions apply their knowledge, expertise and investment in corporateand taking actions based on accurate information. Business data to advance the business, instead of managing a backlog ofanalysts end up using multiple tools for in-depth analysis and requests for information.struggle to share results with broader business communities.Advanced analysts are dealing with a growing number of Understanding the unique analysis needs of your variousstatistical analysis requests from a wider audience, while being audiences and related stakeholders can unleash the fulllargely disconnected from mainstream BI solutions. potential of business intelligence solutions. What companies need is analysis capabilities that can access virtually anyCompanies need analysis solutions that meet the needs of all corporate data source, regardless of platform, and providebusiness users—from the people on the front lines to detailed, understandable views of that data to all users,departmental leads to advanced analysts. These users want to regardless of role or location. These solutions should featurebe able to analyze data for themselves to drive better, smarter innovative tools that can help these diverse business userbusiness decisions without waiting for IT to deliver the groups analyze information easily from their desktops or fromrequested information. mobile devices.1 Ann All, “Business Intelligence Alternatives ‘Good Enough’ for Many Users,” IT Business Edge, June 16, 2010. http://www.itbusinessedge.com/cm/blogs/all/business-intelligence-alternatives-good-enough-for-many-users/?cs=41770
Business Analytics software 3 The power of analysis for everyoneIBM Cognos 10: Intelligence Unleashed Business intelligence (BI) takes information that usually liesSmarter Decisions. Better Results. latent in extensive pools of corporate and external data andCognos® 10 delivers a revolutionary new user experience unleashes its potential to help companies answer the followingand expands traditional business intelligence (BI) with three key questions:planning, scenario modeling, real-time monitoring andpredictive analytics. With the ability to interact, search • How are we doing?and assemble all perspectives of your business, Cognos 10 • Why are we performing as we are?provides a limitless BI workspace to support how people • What should we be doing?think and work. The following table shows these questions mapped to the BICognos 10 enables organizations to outperform by providing: capabilities that provide the analysis necessary to answer them. A scorecard or dashboard that indicates a real-time shortfall in• Analytics that everyone can use in a BI workspace that performance—in this case, insufficient shipments—sets the sharpens individual skills to answer key business questions stage for a deeper analysis that explains what’s driving the• Collective intelligence with built-in collaboration and shortfall, namely a shortage-driven production bottleneck. social networking to connect people and insights to With this analytical capability, any organization can model gain alignment various scenarios and predict future demand, which in turn• Actionable insight everywhere in mobile, real-time helps them make the best possible decisions to deal with the and business processes to instantly respond at the point material shortage and avoid potential shortages. of impactBuilt on a proven technology platform, Cognos 10 isdesigned to upgrade seamlessly and to cost-effectivelyscale for the broadest of deployments. Cognos 10 providesyou and your organization the freedom to see more, domore—and make the smart decisions that drive betterbusiness results.
4 Meet the Analysis Needs of Business Users with Business Intelligence Question Requisite BI Typical scenario Type of User type Needs Primary use capabilities analysis How are we Scorecards On-time shipments are below plan Analytical Everyone Simple Drill down to more details doing? Dashboards reporting in the analysis or to associated reports organization Why are we Reporting Production bottleneck because performing Analytics of material shortage Trending Business Understanding Slice and dice, examine the as we are? Statistical analysis managers, of factors information from differing points business driving of view (such as sales by geography, What should Scenario modeling • Methods used to address and financial performance then sales by product line, then sales we be doing? Predictive modeling material shortage analysts by product line within geography). Planning • Projection of customer demand to determine future material shortages Enterprise Business Modifying Easily maintain, govern, share dimension managers, of business and centralize data hierarchies management business structures and for use and reuse in analysisArmed with this information, individuals and teams at all and financial hierarchies.appropriate levels of the organization would be able to address analysts,the issue at its source and alleviate the bottleneck. It’s an advanced analystsexcellent example of how better analysis goes beyond Scenario Business Alternative Understand the impact of variousimproving organizational planning and creates better business modeling and financial scenarios possible solutions to a problemoutcomes. analysts (for example, the impact on revenue of structuring the salesAt the same time, it is important to note that one size of force by product line rather than by geography or the cost of alternateanalysis does not fit everyone. As Table 2 demonstrates, user sourcing approaches).needs vary significantly. By understanding the different types Predictive Business, Analysis Determine what might beof analysis and relating them to specific roles in their modeling financial and of past (for example, the most likelyorganizations, companies can benefit. advanced performance follow up purchases after analysts for future initial product purchase; most planning likely customers to churn) Statistical Advanced Deeper Easily maintain, govern, share analysis analysts insight into and centralize data hierarchies the shape for use and reuse in analysis and distribution of corporate data
Business Analytics software 5A closer look at the key business roles in a typical organizationand the analysis tools that can most benefit them sheds Information to reporting to smarter operationsadditional light on the tactical and strategic advantages When timing and quality control are paramount,inherent in extending analysis to the widest possible internal organizations need to be able to analyze and measureaudience. results so they can manage operations better and drive down costs. With this in mind, Dr. Pepper SnappleBusiness users Group chose IBM Cognos software to power itsTraditionally, organizations have not deployed analysis performance. With this software, plant managers havesolutions—either at all or in any significant numbers—to greater visibility of their operations so they can identifybusiness users, choosing instead to limit their availability to production bottlenecks, resolve operational issues andmore specialized analysis and senior leadership roles. Those optimize business performance. Furthermore, they canusers who required additional insight were typically forced to obtain this information when they need it without havingroute requests for analysis through specialist resources. to wait for IT to create or run reports for them.Business users need tools that have previously been reservedfor power users. Putting greater analytical capability into the Analytical reporting provides the basic level of additionalhands of business users empowers them to deliver more insight to a particular performance metric to answer aeffectively in the context of their respective roles and frees up straightforward question that doesn’t necessarily requirespecialists for more value-added contributions. Software and invasive analysis. For example, a business user reviewing lasttools that are easy to use and have a familiar interface are month’s sales figures notices they seem abnormally low. Withcritical, because these individuals typically shy away from any guided analysis and straightforward drill-through, the user cannew tool if they fail to immediately understand how it works. understand what is driving these results and can more effectively explain this to leaders and other stakeholders.
6 Meet the Analysis Needs of Business Users with Business IntelligenceExecutives With trend analysis, the manager overseeing the business userGreater capability to examine a wider range of data drivers to who identified the low sales figures, for example, could take thebetter explain or understand organizational performance can initial report outlining the underlying performance weaknesssignificantly enhance the average business executive’s ability to and use it as the basis for a more complex analysis. Bymanage resources to a given plan. Although they do not need comparing the results with other product lines from elsewheresolutions as advanced as business managers, business analysts in the organization and industry figures from external dataor advanced analysts, an enhanced ability to analyze source, the manager can place the performance in context andindependently why certain results are being realized allows an better understand what the figures mean. Not only that, butexecutive to manage more precisely over time. With this the manager can also understand what that meaning impliesinformation, they can reduce the risk that sub-par performance for a potential organizational response. The manager couldwill be missed until it is too late to resolve. even engage analysts to dig deeper. Either way, additional analysis can be managed without significant additionalAnalytical reporting fits that bill for executives. It enables them overhead and questions can be answered more quickly andto explore a timely and reliable view of their business and take precisely.action to drive better business outcomes and decision-making. Because business managers work with so much data, they needBusiness managers to be sure they are working with a “single version of the truth”Business managers often find themselves needing to extend when analyzing information. Enterprise dimensiontheir analytical capability over product lines, customers, management can help them maintain, govern and share datageographies, market sectors and even time zones. They must hierarchies for use and reuse seamlessly in their analysis tasks.slice and dice greater varieties of data from more sources, and For example, if they are looking at a report or doing somewhen they’re done, they need to distribute the outcomes to a trending, slicing or dicing and notice that the structure of thewider audience. Because they are not advanced analysts or IT sales territory or the product line needs to be updated, they canprofessionals, they need to accomplish this with interfaces and start the process by updating the dimension themselves andapplications they’re already familiar with or they can easily then flowing that change through a workflow to ensure theylearn on their own or with little training. are analyzing accurate information.Analytical reporting provides a good foundation for theiranalysis. However, to dig deeper, they need trend analysis,which helps them determine how they are performing relativeto baseline, where variances may be occurring and why theymay be occurring. It examines the underlying factors that driveorganizational performance and requires improved access to awider range of data resources.
Business Analytics software 7 Business and financial analysts A building materials distributor gains insight into cost There’s no need to convince business and financial analysts of centers and make more informed decisions the value of BI. They’re already there. Individuals in these Known for its customer service and high-quality products, roles tend to analyze at an even deeper level than the average the sales force for U.S. Lumber was rapidly growing. The business user or even business manager. At the same time, they company needed a sophisticated BI solution to help are charged with using their combined business and technical calculate and analyze a year’s activities, including all their knowledge to help business users make better decisions. They financial forecasting, but an upgrade of their software routinely strive to improve organizational performance by would have cost them $100,000, an amount the company identifying key performance drivers and using that knowledge could not afford. Instead, the company chose Cognos to update existing models. Business Intelligence. Now U.S. Lumber can now look at all types of data and analyze it on the fly, which helps Business and financial analysis are responsible for generating make daily decisions for management easier and more regularly published reports, along with running ad hoc reports. accurate. Additionally, because U.S. Lumber is able to This is not a role that is always easy to fulfill given its reliance view its key performance indicators—cost per pound and on others to provide updated, consistent data. In fact, many average margin per day per branch—on an hourly basis, business analysts spend 80% of their time manipulating data in its management team is equipped to understand how their Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.2 In addition, they are often business can be affected by one event instead of another. liaisons between various operational resources to ensure the right data is available at the right time and in the right form. Increasing the power of the tools they already use, therefore, is paramount.2 C hristina Torode, “Getting users to buy into a business intelligence strategy,” SearchCIO.com, 20 April 2010
8 Meet the Analysis Needs of Business Users with Business IntelligenceAs they are already charged with conducting detailed what-ifanalyses on behalf of the broader organization, anything that Business analysts evaluate data to help casino determineincreases the depth of analysis, reduces turnaround time by customer behaviorimproving access to existing and new sources of internal and A major casino operator was looking for ways to grow itsexternal data will drive their effectiveness in these pivotal roles. revenue base. This process required a decision on whetherTo help these in-demand resources get more done to invest $1.5 billion in a new facility. However, theindependently, with greater precision and for a broader set of operator wasn’t sure whether it had already maximized thestakeholders, there are scenario modeling and predictive revenue-generating capacity of its existing facility becauseanalytics capabilities. it was not aware of what customers actually did in the casino. So, it implemented a frequent customer card andScenario modeling is a more specialized level of analysis. began tracking customer activity in more detail using aUnlike analytical reporting and trending, which support Cognos software solution. The data helped businessbusiness workflows, scenario modeling incorporates analysis of analysts better understand customer activity, and theya broader range of alternative scenarios to help analysts begin were able to provide real-time guidance to managers andbuilding what-if-type projections. Consider the other employees. As a result, the company reported anunderperforming sales organization mentioned earlier. A ROI of 389% and payback period of 4 months, whilebusiness analyst could take this understanding and assess the adding $50 million to its bottom line results.impact of potential solutions by comparing different tacticssuch as modifying the existing product mix, pursuing new Along with scenario modeling, predictive modeling isgeographic markets, introducing a new marketing campaign or emerging as a key means of understanding future performanceeven tweaking the supply chain to better match supply to and of organizational planning. This form of modelingdemand. analyzes past performance at a detailed level for more effective planning of future strategies and tactics. Although it has traditionally been performed by the most skilled analytical specialists in an organization to guide executive-level decisions, it is now possible for the wider community of business and financial analysts to take advantage of this capability. Extending the access to this business audience moves what-if analysis of scenario modeling into broader what-might-be-type analyses as well.
Business Analytics software 9For example, a more thorough analysis of each of the potential As a result of this isolation and varying demands, advancedstrategies detailed by the scenario modeling effort identifies analysts need a solution that makes it easy to share statisticalorganizational resource availability, impacts and constraints analysis to support business decisions with additional insightassociated with each identified scenario. Predictive modeling and validation. They do not have the time to struggle withprojects the organization forward and benchmarks it based on multiple tools, the overhead of exporting data to differentanticipated performance for each scenario. Outcomes of this systems or the complexities of bringing results back together inhighly specialized activity will guide and inform strategic a single output. Therefore, their statistical analysis solutiondecision making at the highest levels of the organization. should easily incorporate statistical results with core business reporting. It should also provide assurance that the statisticalAdvanced analysts evidence that backs key business decisions is accurate and canAdvanced analysts are deeply skilled statistical specialists that be delivered easily to broader business communities infind themselves under growing pressure to do more for a dashboards and reports.widely divergent audience in less time. For example, seniorexecutives look to them for detailed analysis of issues oflarge-scale importance to the company and business analysts Achieving better patient outcomes with statistical analysisrely on them to pull data together for more consistent and The Wesley Research Institute (WRI) is an independent,thorough analysis. In addition, as capable as they are in not-for-profit organization located on the grounds of Thestatistical analysis, they have traditionally not been part of Wesley Hospital in Brisbane, Australia, The organizationmainstream BI implementations—a disconnect that can implemented IBM SPSS Statistics as part of its ambitiouscompromise their effectiveness. Clinical Outcome Improvement Project. The aim of this project is to collect and analyze patient data to establishAdvanced analysts also need to be able to bridge the gaps that clinical benchmarks, identify risk factors and improvetypically slow down cross-organizational analysis. Depending treatment results. The statistics solution helps theon who places the request and what the particular need is, organization quickly and accurately analyze large volumesadvanced analysts must often use separate toolsets to access of data from multiple sources and in various formats—data. In addition, they often build and test models for the patient demographics, discrete procedures, surgicalentire organization to improve the overall ability to assess data complications, risk factors and post-operative tracking—and improve decision making. delivering independent, unbiased information in a fully transparent process.
10 Meet the Analysis Needs of Business Users with Business IntelligenceHow to provide analysis that meets all For those with more advanced requirements, such as businessuser needs analysts, Cognos analysis capabilities make it possible to drillAs we have demonstrated in the previous section, different down and filter real-time data and incorporate analysis of ausers have different analysis needs. These users require specific broader range of alternative scenarios to build what-ifcapabilities to match their needs. Some are packaged in BI projections. They can also incorporate and share statisticalsolutions while others are standalone software offerings. These analysis to support business decisions with additional insightdifferent solutions, along with information silos, multiple and validation and use reliable trends and patterns to predictplatforms and the widespread use of spreadsheets, create future events and act on those insights for better businessanalysis challenges for organizations. Organizations need outcomes.software that makes it possible for all users to analyze Employees in the field and the growing ranks ofinformation in a way that suits their roles and activities— telecommuters and business partners who are not connected towithout giving them too much or too little. Cognos analysis company intranets need information and analytics to makecapabilities can help. quick decisions and actions. To foster understanding andCognos analysis capabilities provide custom workspaces, so engagement, there are Cognos analysis capabilities that workeveryone in an organization can directly harness internal and on mobile devices. Users can slice, dice and interact withexternal information sources to provide perspectives and information when they are not connected to BI infrastructurecontext. Each type of user has the visibility and access to all the so that key decision-makers have insight into businessinformation they need, at all angles and perspectives, to drive information regardless of where they are. They can even accessinformed decisions without bogging them down in irrelevant analysis results in Microsoft Office applications. Basically, allor complicated data. They can merge corporate reporting data business users have access to analysis results—in whatever formwith information in spreadsheets, third party or departmental they need.applications and discover unknown insights using their owntrains of thought, by drilling and “slicing and dicing.”
Business Analytics software 11Conclusion About IBM Business AnalyticsDissimilar and disconnected analysis tools, information that is IBM Business Analytics software delivers complete, consistentdifficult to access, multiple environments and a dependence on and accurate information that decision-makers trust tospreadsheets can hinder effective decision-making at a time improve business performance. A comprehensive portfolio ofwhen organizations should be making better decisions faster. business intelligence, advanced analytics, financial performanceCognos analysis capabilities address these challenges while and strategy management and analytic applications gives youmeeting the needs of all users. clear, immediate and actionable insights into current performance and the ability to predict future outcomes.Executives and business users can easily view, assemble andpersonalize information to follow a train of thought and Combined with rich industry solutions, proven practices andgenerate unique perspectives. Business analysts and line of professional services, organizations of every size can drive thebusiness managers can analyze facts and anticipate tactical and highest IT productivity and deliver better results.strategic implications by ensuring the structure being analyzedis accurate, simply shifting from viewing to more advanced, For more informationpredictive or what-if analysis. Advanced analysts can For further information or to reach a representative:incorporate statistical evidence in reports, fulfill a wider range ibm.com/cognosof requests more quickly and work more holistically with thecompany’s BI solution. Request a call To request a call or to ask a question, go to ibm.com/cognos/In short, IBM Cognos analysis capabilities help business users contactus. An IBM Cognos representative will respond to yourmake better, smarter business decisions without waiting for IT enquiry within two business days.to deliver the requested information.