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  Business Intelligence Solutions  
Business intelligence (BI) allows your organisation to track, understand, and manage vital business information. According to Gartner, Business Intelligence is the top priority for IT Managers for 2008. Increasingly, business intelligence is assuming a strategic role as more organisations look for ways to tap into the valuable data stored in their operational systems.

Despite the clear benefits of BI solutions, there are many crucial areas to consider when implementing a BI solution.

It is critical that all stakeholders are aligned and support a BI initiative. The owner must champion the BI initiative throughout the organisation, where the organisation may be a department, a division, or the entire enterprise. The champion, in conjunction with a chosen supplier, needs to interview all relevant stakeholders to ascertain and document true information requirements. An implementation can only be successful if it delivers the information that the organisation needs to make decisions.

In order for users to have confidence in insights derived from a Business Intelligence solution, they must trust the data on which those insights are based. It is essential that the data used to make intelligent business decisions is accurate. Most organisations have a variety of databases and/or data marts storing their information. Before utilising data for BI, an organisation must ensure data quality through processes that control data entry, validation, and auditing.

Once best practices are defined and the appropriate people are in place, the organisation must choose a BI vendor and application. Questions to ask include:

  • Does the vendor offer a complete BI platform? Excellent benefits can be realised by standardisation on a particular platform. Organisations can attain deeper business insight and a 360 degree customer view by eliminating information silos and integrating data across business functions. In addition, cost reduction can be realised across administration, training, implementation and support by utilising a single platform.
  • Does the BI platform support all the requirements of the BI initiative – now and in future development?
  • Are the tools intuitive and easy to use, both for IT and end users?
  • Can the tools easily connect to disparate data sources, and extend across multiple applications?
  • Can the solution scale quickly without affecting performance?
  • What are the cost implications in terms of implementation, support, training etc.

When using a BI implementation partner to assist with implementation it is also vital to check the supplier credibility.

  • Does the supplier have both a technical and business understanding of your requirements?
  • What customer references does the supplier have for your industry?
  • Can the supplier provide a full range of services, from risk management and identification to implementation, training and ongoing support?

Business intelligence is increasingly demonstrating real value to organisations that have already invested in enterprise applications and are required to demonstrate good corporate governance. Real competitive benefits can be obtained by not delaying the decision to invest in a BI solution now. Business intelligence allows business users to obtain a 3600 degree of customers, suppliers, competitors and internal processes, allowing decision makers to drive efficiency and show improvements where it matters the most…the bottom line.

Contact ASYST Intelligence today to discover how you can leverage your information assets.