Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan
24Mar/150

How does YOUR BI environment stack up?

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Business Intelligence is a powerful tool, designed for the modern business environment.

One of its primary goals is to enhance performance evaluation, by utilizing benchmarking, data visualization, measurement analysis, data mining, all combining to facilitate your organizations’ requirements for forecasting the future trends in your industry and thereby optimizing informed, data-driven decision-making at all levels of your business. Continue reading this post>>

6May/130

4 Ways to Future-Proof Your Dashboards

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In my last post, I ruminated on the problems that plague business intelligence dashboards. Traditional dashboards simply haven’t evolved as quickly as modern businesses, where decisions are made by many levels of management and need to be informed by various areas of the business – finance, marketing, sales, operations and more. If your dashboard is confined to your department’s metrics alone, it’s doing you a disservice. Dashboards of the future will require cross-functional views of KPIs to really be effective. And they’ll embed more self-service options than ever. The good news is that future-proofing your dashboards is possible. Here’s how:

1) Make your dashboards searchable.
arcplan_dashboard_search_sm
Key performance indicators are essential for monitoring business performance. Last time, I talked about how “KPI overload” – common in so many businesses I’ve worked with – can cloud business insight. However in some cases, having hundreds of KPIs may actually be necessary for understanding and managing your performance. If you need KPIs from many parts of the business in order to make good decisions, it can become a complex task to find the information you need. So consider making your dashboards search-enabled so that users can easily find the metrics they’re looking for. Searching is how users find information; “Google” is a verb for a reason. So why should your BI system be any different?

2) Make your dashboards personalized. 
Dashboards serve as a point of reference for business leaders, many times per day or at least a few times per week. Either way, your dashboard should be one of the things you look at the most in a given week (besides your husband, wife, or kids of course). From a personalization perspective, there’s something we can learn from a social medial platform like Pinterest…

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19Oct/120

How Metro/Windows 8 Design is Transforming Mobile BI Apps: Part II

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In my last article, I wrote about why arcplan advocates Metro design for business intelligence apps. I discussed how Metro design is great for mobile BI, with speed, intuitive navigation, and motion built in. Today I’d like to address another reason why Metro (or Modern UI) design is ideal for BI apps, like dashboards, scorecards and mobile reports.

Information prioritization. It’s a concept important to every busy person. Wouldn’t it be nice if your phone or tablet would just tell you what’s important?! Now it can thanks to the Metro/Windows 8 concept of “live tiles.”

The fact is that all legacy BI today is infrastructure to manage our stuff. Organizations track thousands of KPIs – so many that we’re unable to keep track of the KPIs themselves. We’ve lost control of the “BI animal” to the point where it’s very common for designers to create new BI content like reports and dashboards, publish them, and forget what happened to them. Then the same reports get created again and again. In many cases, that new content may never be utilized because no one can find it. The result is that BI systems are simply organizing and managing “BI hoarding.”

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13Jul/120

3 Ways Self-Service BI Aids Decision-Making

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There’s a lot of talk about expanding the reach of business intelligence beyond the 15-25% of potential users currently using BI solutions. Certainly it’s one of our core missions at arcplan. With nearly everyone in an organization making decisions every day that affect the company, getting this remaining 75% of potential users to answer their business questions with data is imperative. The solution is self-service BI – tools that allow users to navigate and visualize data themselves to get the answers they need to make important business decisions on their timeline. In many ways, self-service BI is synonymous with user freedom since business users need not wait for the IT department to fulfill report requests, but instead are able to generate queries on their own and tailor reports according to their requirements.

We spent some time thinking about the ways self-service aids decision-making. Check out our list and let us know if you have more to add to it!

1) It gives users access to real-time information for faster decision-making.
Ad-hoc reporting, one of the tools under the self-service umbrella, allows users to create new connections between data not previously found in static reports and generate new insights on their own. According to Cindi Howson’s report, The Five Myths of Self-Service BI, executives and managers are a segment of users beyond power users and IT developers who derive value from ad-hoc reporting. If given the chance, a sales director for instance would use an easy ad-hoc solution like arcplan Spotlight to run a query of YTD product sales and compare performance across different regions, rather than wait a week or more for IT to deliver the same information to him. He could also save that query privately or publish it publicly, giving his entire team access to it for future reference. He could even select that report for automatic delivery via e-mail, where it will include the most updated data. The ability to access real-time data and create new reports on the fly means that business users get immediate answers to business questions and can make decisions based on current (versus outdated) information.

2) It addresses specific user needs for greater efficiency.
Self-service tools target the specific needs of users, allowing them to glean the most value out their BI and enabling more efficient decision-making…

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8Jun/120

5 Reasons Why Collaborative BI is Practical For Your Organization

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Though Collaborative BI is still new, it’s gaining traction, with 15% of BI deployments to include collaborative elements by 2013 according to Gartner. A recent survey by author and analyst Wayne Eckerson revealed many BI professionals believe that collaboration tools have a positive impact on analysis and decision-making activities. So while some in the BI world are seeing its value, the others may appreciate our list of 5 reasons why Collaborative BI could be a practical solution for your organization if you’re trying to expand the reach of BI to more users and get closer to “one version of the truth.”

1) Collaborative BI solutions are designed for every type of user, even the most casual. They allow business users, executives, and managers to access the reports and dashboards created by power users and IT, which a) extends the reach of these often under-used analyses and 2)  means putting information into the hands of more people in the organization who can benefit from data in their decision-making process.

2) Collaborative BI provides a sanity check for your BI content. Is it relevant and accurate? Let the wisdom of the crowd decide. Report utilization statistics help your BI Competency Center and IT department determine which reports should be kept and maintained and which can be archived. Only the best content rises to the top.

3) Collaborative BI solutions engage users in ways they are already familiar with from Web 2.0 sites (Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, etc), so they need little to no training to make use of the system…

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