As 2011 draws to a close, it is a good time to take a look at the last twelve months and adopt resolutions for 2012. At the turn of the year, many companies review the efficiency of existing business processes and the IT tools they require. arcplan, a global business intelligence (BI) expert, points out the goals companies should set for themselves when it comes to BI in 2012 if they want to focus on optimizing business processes and improving decision-making.
The five top BI resolutions at a glance:
Resolution 1: BI Use Cases – Data Quality meets Quantity
On many companies’ wish lists is BI for the masses – the many potential users in an organization that currently do not have access to the information they need to make fact-based decisions. Countless businesses are using BI systems that only extend to a small group of power-users, when in practice, everyone from the C-level down is making decisions that affect company performance on a daily basis. Determining how far down to roll out your BI solution should be high on the list of resolutions to ensure that your company gets the maximum benefit from its BI systems.
Resolution 2: Collaboration Tools – the Key to Success
Companies often have to fight their way through reams of reports of very different quality. At the same time, there is usually no verified information on whether the reports are up to date, used frequently, or viewed as “quality” by users. Collaborative BI solutions allow users to search for information, comment on it, ask for enhancements, and share it with co-workers. And IT staff appreciate the statistics these solutions generate about report usage. Collaboration when it comes to BI is about adding value to existing information and using it to the company’s advantage.
Resolution 3: Form Follows Function
Unfortunately, many businesses still frequently make the mistake of deploying reporting systems based solely on technical requirements. A user interface is then popped over the application and users are left to cope with an often unfriendly frontend, making self-service difficult. To make BI more convenient for users, one resolution for 2012 should be: attach more value to the frontend, which is what most BI users see, keeping true to the maxim “form follows function.” The best way of doing this is to ask BI users directly what information they need and how they would like it presented. The adoption rate of your BI system is sure to rise once the frontend is considered as important as the backend.
Resolution 4: Mobilize BI
As the mobile workforce grows, BI solutions for smartphones and tablets are becoming more important. While some companies dive right in and deploy mobile BI without a clear strategy, we recommend that they take some time to think about which user groups will benefit from mobile BI access, how to present existing reports and dashboards in a compact and easily digestible format for mobile devices, and how to keep the data safe from third parties while users are on the go.
Resolution 5: Tame Data Streams
The need for information often arises with little notice and has to be delivered quickly. Unfortunately, many BI systems were not originally designed to operate at the speed of business today. Users will no longer accept performance issues, slow information delivery, or an irritating proliferation of quick fixes. Companies should make a resolution to develop a long-term BI concept that involves the reduction of unstructured data – for example, by employing enterprise data warehouses.
“IT-supported process optimization remains one of the most important goals in the business environment, next to cost reductions,” explained Achim Röhe, VP Professional Services at arcplan. “All companies want to utilize their existing systems better, and these five recommendations are a good place to start realizing enormous improvements from investments they have already made. If companies follow our BI resolutions, they will improve their BI by leaps and bounds in 2012.”