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4                                   BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

                             Tom CaSey                         ...

                              anTHony DenT                                                       ...
6                                         BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

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Special report for The Times newspaper, December 2009

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Business Intelligence

  1. 1. 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
  2. 2. 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: be accepted for any errors. No part of this publication may be reproduced design: Hervé Boinay W: without the prior consent of the Publisher. © RACONTEUR MEDIA
  3. 3. 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
  4. 4. 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
  5. 5. 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’.”
  6. 6. 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