Feel free to request more information or contact us with questions about Dione Infotech. Some frequently asked questions are listed below.
- Who can benefit from Business Intelligence (BI)?
Business Intelligence (BI) is a perfect tool for businesses that strive for intelligent decision-making throughout their organizations. BI is also ideal for businesses that desire the decision-making process to be easy enough for everyone in the organization to analyze, share, collaborate, and act on business information from a centrally-managed, secure source. Business Intelligence (BI) can easily meet the needs of business organizations of all proportions and can empower their business users.
- How can Business Intelligence (BI) be useful to my organization?
Business Intelligence (BI) provides companies with the desired information at the exact time it is needed. Furthermore, business users of all different positions, from frontline executives to the operational staff, will gain the ability to define ad hoc reports with an intuitive, highly interactive and user friendly interface along with multi-formatted, visually stunning and flexible data presentation layers. In addition, organizations using BI will receive the increasingly easy ability to report and analyze data for efficient management of personnel objectives across key indicators.
- Does Business Intelligence (BI) work with existing applications and databases?
Yes it does. Business Intelligence (BI) solutions are designed to interoperate and work with data that exists in essentially any enterprise data source. Data sources that BI works with include SQL Server, Oracle, IBM DB2, Sybase, and others.
- Should BI projects be prioritized?
BI projects should be a priority for organizations that aspire for the great amount of tangible benefits, such as the elimination of costs for producing legacy reports, which come from using BI. Implementing Business Intelligence is convenient for all companies because access to data can be provided for the entire organization or just for one department at a time based on the company's needs.
- Do BI projects require Data Warehousing?
Data Warehousing can be used to facilitate a BI project, but it is not essential for the project to function. BI tools such as Analysis Services can provide business users with reporting and analytics capabilities directly from any data source without needing to build a data warehouse. However, it is highly recommended the data source be a dimensional model.
Data Warehouse facilitates reporting and analysis. Organizations use Data Warehousing if they need additionally reliable, integrated, and distinctive reporting and analysis capabilities at different levels of data aggregation. Data Warehousing is not only used for accumulating historical data, but also for analyzing that information to help business executives make effective decisions that positively impact their company's bottom line.
Benefits of using Data Warehouse
- Data Warehouse provides one universal model for all the data of interest regardless of the various data sources. This enables companies to more easily report and analyze information than it would be if multiple data models were used to retrieve information about closely related points such as sales invoices, general ledger charges, order receipts, etc.
- Inconsistencies in the data are identified and resolved before loading data into the data warehouse. This greatly expedites the process of reporting and analysis.
- Data can be retrieved without slowing down operational systems because data warehouses and operational systems exist as independent entities.?
- Data warehouses simplify several BI reports such as exception reports, reports of consumer trends, and reports of comparison between pre-existing goals and actual performance.
- What are the meanings of key terms to BI such as Dashboard, KPI, Operational BI, and Analytics?
An executive dashboard is a user interface that presents information in an organized and easily-understandable manner. It is usually Web-based and often contains a BI system/data warehouse on the backend. Executive dashboards also often contain graphical features, such as color-coding, gauges, and charts.
Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measure of performance. It is mostly used to help companies determine their success levels by evaluating the progress made towards their long-term business goals. KPIs are used to monitor the present state of the business based on the aspects which are most important to stakeholders. Using KPIs also assists organizations in prescribing a course of action to increase efficiency. KPIs are frequently used to assess the value of seemingly subjective activities. For example, KPIs can determine the benefits of leadership development, service, engagement, and satisfaction. Various types of KPIs exist and each type is specifically used based on the nature of the organization and the organization's strategy.
Operational business intelligence is BI that is available company-wide. BI access is provided to all employees from mid-level managers to front-line operational workers. Ideally, operational BI allows employees of all levels to view important information at the necessary time. This allows significant metrics and other data to be delivered in the context of associated business processes.
Data analytics is the science of using sophisticated software and analytic algorithms to extract conclusions from raw data. This extracted information is key to a business' growth. In addition, data analytics is often distinguished from data mining by the scope, purpose and focus of the analysis.
- What is an OLAP "Cube"?
An OLAP cube is a set of data which is organized in an easily-understandable format in order to facilitate non-predetermined queries for compiled information. It is a tool used for online analytical processing. OLAP is a computer-based technique used in BI for analyzing business data. In business intelligence data warehouses, data is stored in a multi-dimensional cube that is optimized for analysis and reporting. OLAP cubes may have as many dimensions as a company needs.
- What are the challenges faced while implementing Business intelligence?
Business intelligence requires ideal components in order to provide the highest benefit to companies. Procuring the ideal BI project teams, BI application, and BI communications may be a challenge which takes some time to overcome. However, it is important that companies allow the ideal components to be procured in order to ensure efficient BI usage. In addition to this, a common challenge that IT professionals encounter is finding a successful BI application that both positively impacts the company and bottom line and is approved by the business users.
- How much does Business Intelligence (BI) cost? Is there going to be a proven ROI?
Companies can benefit from BI technology at reasonable prices and short time periods. The average cost and time frame necessary for Dione to implement a single subject area BI solution is $11,995 over 4 weeks. The actual prices will vary depending on which modules a company chooses and the number of people the company decides to deploy the modules too. Please contact us for more specific information about Business Intelligence pricing.
There will not be a quantifiable ROI because the nature of BI deployments focuses on optimizing business processes and so the metrics are difficult to interpret. The value of BI comes from gained knowledge and insight rather than money.
- Which industries can benefit from BI?
Companies across all the industries can benefit from BI. Some of the many industries that can benefit are Manufacturing, BFSI, Infrastructure and Construction, Service, Government, Telecom, ITES, Retail, Automotive, Education, Public Sector, etc.
- Which business processes / departments can benefit from BI?
Business processes/departments that can benefit from BI include Accounting, Retail Operations, Budgeting, Engagements, Contact Centers, Field Service, Insurance Underwriting, Human Resources, Marketing and Advertising, IT Services Supply and Demand Chain, IT Operations Performance, and more.
- What are the examples of BI Initiatives (Focus Areas)?
Some examples of BI initiatives include Customer Satisfaction, Up-sell and Cross-sell, Problem Resolution, Marketing Effectiveness, Loyalty and Customer Value, Customer Churn, Defect, Performance Management, Customer Segmentation, Cost Control, Revenue and Profitability, Outage/Downtime, Collections, etc.
- Who are BI systems intended for?
BI systems are intended for any member of the company who makes decisions based on data from transactional systems. BI systems may be adapted to different member levels (analysts, managers, directors, auditors, etc.) to provide different kinds of information based on the needs of each company member.
- Can BI be integrated with any system already active at the company?
Yes, BI can be integrated directly into any system. This is done by developing interfaces that extract and update data from transactional systems.
- Does BI require a special technological platform?
No, many preexisting technology platforms can be used for BI. No special platform is necessary.
- Is it necessary to have a specialized staff to use BI?
No, BI tools are easy to learn and contain features used for queries, automation of data extraction interfaces and distance support. This enables preexisting company staff members to quickly learn to use BI tools without halting their other duties.
- Can BI Tools be applied to any company area?
Yes. By using transactional systems' data extraction interfaces, companies can resolve systems for: sales, accounting, suppliers, production, auditing, etc. Companies can also integrate key indicators for each area and summarize the information required by the company's first level decision-makers.
- How do I recover my investment?
Companies that have not implemented a BI system yet have hidden costs to access information.
These hidden costs include the time spent entering data into the transactional systems, the money spent for uploading and transforming the information, the time taken for designing a presentation of the information through reports, etc. Using BI systems decreases such costs dramatically because information is available rapidly and with integration, security and orientation to optimize a company's decision-making capabilities.
A Return on investment (ROI) can be achieved in a number of ways, such as:
- Lower costs – Costs will be lowered because of better inventory management, fewer dollars spent on unproductive measures and product promotions, and other factors.
- Improved productivity – Greater productivity can be expected from both IT and the users. Today the average user analysts spend the majority of their time gathering data rather than actually analyzing it. Using BI will transpose this trend. The data warehouse can provide IT users with reporting tools containing a well-documented, clean and easily accessible database. This capability should significantly improve IT productivity.
- Increased revenue – There are many aspects of BI that will lead to increased revenue. One aspect is that BI enables companies to increase sales by more effectively marketing products. By determining target customers for various products and by evaluating which products are in the highest demand, BI systems allow companies to optimize their profits
- My organization already has databases and data warehouses. Why would we need a separate Business Intelligence system?
Business Intelligence will receive data from all portions of a company and will constantly be improved and enhanced based on feedback gathered from the information. On the other hand, databases and data warehouses are designed to gather data from only one line of business. Neither do they change significantly once they are implemented. Business intelligence is the ideal system for cross-organizational activities.
- Why does my organization need a methodology to develop and implement a BI system? Why can't we just assemble a team and start working?
While it is possible for novice systems to function without carefully planned project activities, the cross-organizational nature of BI initiatives require formalized guidelines. BI requires many tasks to be completed by many people. The easiest way to successfully complete all of the tasks is to follow the placed guidelines. To do otherwise would pose a risk for the organization's investment and business opportunities.
- Isn't BI just a repackaging of the old decision-support and management-reporting concepts that have been around for years? Isn't it mostly just about measuring business performance?
Business Intelligence contains many more abilities than old decision support and management reporting concepts. BI leads to business success by easily and rapidly accessing information and accurately analyzing it for conditions pertaining to customers, market conditions, and finances. The approaches that BI and older decision-making systems take to analyze information are very different.
Consider this model of how BI analyzes information.
- Where does BI "start"? Does the demand for BI come from the functional departments - the marketing, financial, and manufacturing sectors? Or is there a push coming from IT?
BI typically starts from the requests of the functional departments. It is essential for employees in the Sales, Manufacturing, Marketing, and Financial departments to have access to fully-analyzed information in a timely fashion. IT departments usually do not have these requirements
- What are the big issues in BI projects? Where do they most commonly break down?
BI projects are quite complex and therefore it is very difficult to implement a successful BI project in organizations that have not nurtured cross-organizational culture. Many organizations are already well equipped to implement successful BI applications. However, there are some common trends among organizations that are ill-equipped to implement Business Intelligence. Those factors are:
- Lack of understanding of the complexity of BI projects.
- Lack of recognition of BI projects as cross-organizational business initiatives
- No understanding of the necessity for and the usage of meta data.
- Not understanding that cross-organizational initiatives are different from stand-alone solutions.
- Unavailable or unwilling business representatives.
- No work breakdown structure (no methodology)
- Too much reliance on disparate methods and tools (the "silver bullet" syndrome)
- No appreciation of the impact of dirty data on business profitability.
- Ineffective project management (only project administration)
- Lack of skilled and available staff as well as suboptimum staff utilization.
- Unengaged business sponsors or business sponsors who have little or no authority due to their low-level positions within the organization.
- No software release concept (no iterative development method)
- Inappropriate project team structure and dynamics.
- No business analysis and no standardization activities.
- What are the critical success factors? Are there areas that most often seem to produce reliable payback (in whatever terms you choose to measure them, like direct financial ROI, or executive satisfaction)?
Business Intelligence experiences high success if the following systems are implemented:
For Lowering Operating costs:
- Reduced time required to collect business information
- Enabling employees at all levels to access appropriate data with little IT support
For Streamlining Customer Acquisitions:
- Effective, focused marketing campaigns
- Reduced per-customer costs of marketing and advertising
For Increasing Customer Loyalty:
- Clear picture of customer needs
- Targeted products, features and services
- One-on-one marketing
For getting Increased Business Agility:
- Real-time transactional feedback
- Accurate prediction mechanism
- Quick implementation of new business initiatives
- Are custom applications prevalent among organizations today, or is it mostly off-the-shelf software?
Most organizations employ off-the-shelf software as much as possible. If there is no off-the-shelf software that meets the needs of companies, then they opt for custom applications.
- Are data managers sufficiently involved in the design and delivery of BI systems? And if not, how can or should they get closer to the action?
Data managers do play a role in the design and delivery of BI systems. However, there is a separation between the data managers and the Marketing, Financial, Sales, and Marketing departments. Data managers should learn more about the business, business processes, and how BI will benefit the business.
- Can business intelligence be related to knowledge management? What is the relationship between the two?
Knowledge Management is a component of Business Intelligence. Better Business Intelligence can be developed by managing the knowledge, retrieving it at the appropriate time, and from the appropriate resources.
- What do you predict are the major trends for the future? Where does BI head next?
The management of unstructured data is recognized as one of the major unsolved problems in the Information Technology (IT) industry. Therefore, BI technology may expand to the area of Unstructured Data.