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In Interview – Consider CloudHosting Your Business Intelligence  

// Jaspersoft’s experience with more than 100 successful cloud BI deployments has made us realize that a partnership, best-of-breed approach to cloud BI is the best way to go. BI as a service through on-demand SaaS (News – Alert) deployments are generally singular offerings that are overstretched, offer limited flexibility, and generally need to be built from the ground-up, resulting in costly down-time and high implementation costs. One of the best practices that we’ve established from our multiple launches is that customers need to have a cloud hosting-enhanced BI solution with a lean framework. Jaspersoft’s lean architecture based on web-based open standards coupled with experts in cloud management and BI consulting results in a proven solution than can meet a myriad of business needs. ..

More from an interview with Karl Van den Bergh, vice president of product strategy at Jaspersoft.

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November 3rd, 2010 at 11:40 pm

BI the Answer to Supplier/Supply Chain Management?  

Short and Interesting Post by Jason Busch -

There are a few reasons why the nirvana of BI supplier and supply chain visibility is most certainly a noble objective, but one that is unlikely to ever fully take hold outside of a few very expensive, highly customized implementations. For one, BI tools (especially those we think of, which are tied to an underlying data warehouse) mimic the inflexible characteristics of the ERP systems, which generate the data that we need to analyze. In other words, once you “pour the enterprise-data concrete” so to speak, such systems become rigid and unbending and make it difficult to rapidly adopt new data sources into an analysis. Perhaps there’s a new third-party data enrichment that you want to add (one not supported or resold by your BI vendor), or maybe you’ve acquired a new facility from a supplier that is running a different ERP environment. Good luck rapidly adding these new data sources into any BI model.

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February 16th, 2010 at 8:12 pm

How to Move KM and BI from Margin to Mainstream  

From BEye Networ article on Knowledge Management/Business Intelligence

If you’re a KM or BI champion looking for ways to boost your discipline’s visibility, take a cue from the communication masters: politicians. Campaign platforms are based on three principles: clarity, consistency and frequency. Every stump speech, every sound bite, every public conversation is rigorously “on message,” and yours should be too.

There’s usually a flabby communication strategy behind any really good idea that doesn’t quite get off the ground. KM and BI evangelists often focus so intently on the business case that they fizzle out on the “hearts and minds” part; namely, communicating with key constituents before, during and after the launch.

And which are the key constituencies for knowledge management and business intelligence? In the government, you must address at least the principal users of the tools, the funders of your initiative and those who will benefit from it.

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February 16th, 2010 at 7:00 pm

BI Offers the Promise of Benefits, Challenges Remain  

The Ness Technologies Market Pulse Study of top level business and IT executives at companies with over $500 million in revenues was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2009. Among the major findings are:

– BI initiatives are being driven by the ability to have better
transparency into company data for business planning and decision-making
(54%), a desire for more insight into the business to keep up with rapid
change (43%), and real-time analysis capabilities (43%).

– Although companies feel they have adequate access to planning
data (73%) and financial data (61%), they are less comfortable about
their access to customer data (53%) and market trend data (52%).

– The top four BI pain points are all centered on data: data silos
(47%), data integration (35%), mapping data (31%), and data
cleansing/modeling (31%).

– More than half of respondents report that results achieved are
lagging expected outcomes in 14 of 16 potential outcome categories. The
largest gaps are in business agility, data integration, and new revenue
opportunities.

What contributes to BI success?
The survey uncovered actions companies can take to increase the effectiveness of their BI programs. Alignment with business strategy and good organizational communications are strong indicators of success for BI initiatives.

“Although the benefits of BI have been elusive to many organizations, there are steps that can be taken to move the needle on your BI program from expected to achieved outcomes,” continued Scott. “Managing data integration more effectively and ensuring alignment across the company or business unit can bring companies both operational and competitive advantage.”

More from the Press Release. And more.

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February 11th, 2010 at 7:53 am

Tableau Bags an award!  

From the Press Release -

Tableau Software today announced that Tableau was named as a gold medal winner of the “2009 Editors’ Best Awards” in the Business Intelligence and Reporting Tool by Penton Media’s SQL Server Magazine.

Tableau’s BI suite brings dashboards and data visualization to organizations of all sizes. Award-winning Tableau Desktop lets people create interactive reports, dashboards and visualizations using an easy drag & drop interface. Tableau Server, also an award winner, is a complete web-based business intelligence solution.

“Our win as Best Business Intelligence tool is attributable to the fact that we are invading an industry dominated by complicated, expensive solutions and providing a fun, rapid-fire alternative,” said Christian Chabot, Tableau’s CEO and co-founder. “Now more than ever, companies need rapid access to business analytics. At the same time, few can afford traditional business intelligence platforms with high fees, complicated architectures and long roll-outs. Customers tell us that Tableau is a new kind of BI – rapid-fire BI – that gives people of all skill levels the power to build and share data visualizations and fast analytics in just minutes.”

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November 20th, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Using Business Intelligence to Find Your Economic Recovery  

A good starter video for someone who is completely unaware of what BI is all about.

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October 21st, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Readmission Rates: A Step Toward Better Healthcare BI  

Let’s take a step back for a moment to see the trend in performance measurement in healthcare. Most quality measurements on the clinical side of healthcare deal with the inputs to care. For instance, HEDIS measures such as weight assessment and counseling for nutrition and physical activity for children and adolescents, well-child exams, childhood immunizations, breast cancer screening, cholesterol management for patients with cardiovascular condition, etc. measure the actions taken by healthcare providers to improve health. Joint Commission measures also evaluate the inputs leading to healthy outcomes. Readmission rates are an example of measurements of the results of those actions in terms of whether the inputs worked the first time. Analysis of these results will lead to further analysis of the inputs that led to a readmission, or better yet, to the inputs that prevented a readmission.

This means that clinical performance measurement will come full circle. In doing so, clinical performance measurement will mirror financial performance measurement. No business would have its financial analysts measure investments or operational activity without evaluating them in terms of the results on the bottom line. Nor would that business simply report the financial results without a thorough analysis of the causes for those results. We take this for granted in financial management. We will now be seeing more of this cause and effect analysis in clinical performance management as well.

Interesting post by Scott Wanless in B-Eye Network.

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August 9th, 2009 at 10:33 am

The 2009 Value Index for Business Intelligence  

Ventana Research today introduces its 2009 Value Index for Business Intelligence, the second of a new category of quantified, research-based Indexes. This new Value Index provides research-based metrics that will enable organizations to ascertain the value to them of existing and future business intelligence technologies, systems and tools for business and IT in a simple and easy-to-use manner. Using the Value Index, businesses will be able to meet the challenge of evaluating vendors and their products and making choices based on an understanding of how well the offerings meet their needs.

The Value Index is the result of more than a decade of analysis of technology suppliers’ products. The methodology used to produce the Value Index for Business Intelligence evaluates in detail aspects of product functionality and suitability-to-task as well as the effectiveness of vendor support for the buying process and customer assurance. The Index represents the value offered by a vendor and its products, using both a clear and accessible graphic representation in thermometer form and a precise numerical index. Those technology vendors earning the highest Hot Vendor classification are those that Ventana Research certifies best represent buyer value based on a thorough evaluation and audit – that is, based on research and verifiable facts. The Value Index is not just a selection of “cool” products, and rather than merely representing a vendor on a four-quadrant chart, the Index provides a specific thermometer reading with a series of component metrics for a technology buyer to consider. Organizations can use the Value Index by determining their priorities and then consulting the Index to determine which vendors best meet those needs.

The 2009 Value Index for Business Intelligence indicates that the company delivering the highest value on an overall weighted evaluation basis is Information Builders, which earned the “Hot Vendor” rating, followed by IBM Cognos Software, Infor, Softscape and arcplan, all of which earned the “Warm” rating. Drilling down, the Value Index evaluation of product functionality using the Ventana Research Business Intelligence methodology identified (in order) Information Builders, Infor, IBM Cognos Software, Actuate, Symphony-Metreo, Microsoft and arcplan as Hot Vendors in this category.

From Ventana Research’s Press Release.

What Is So Different about BI Today?  

The days have changed forever as far as the user interfaces are concerned. In the past, instead of developing user-friendly systems, the technologists had to look for “system-friendly” users. Because of new “consumer-friendly” interfaces, many more people are using computers not only in their workplaces, but also in their personal lives, day in and day out. Since the interfaces developed for the consumers by Lands’ End, L.L Bean, Costco, WebMD and the like are much friendlier, the same consumers – when they function as employees in their jobs – have come to expect similar ease of use and interactivity.

The businesses are aware of it, and if they are not, they should be. They have to not only provide friendly interfaces, but they also have to provide access to information to the right people, at the right time and at the right price so that the employees can make sound business decisions. That is business intelligence in a nutshell.

From a well thought about article on B-Eye Network by Shaku Atre.

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June 21st, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Simplifying User Reporting Still Key BI Goal  

There’s been much discussion about ad hoc reporting, but few business users seem able to actually build a report themselves from scratch with today’s tools. Why is that?

In my experience, actually, most users can build reports from scratch, but it should never be the first step. Initially, users don’t have much of a comfort level with the data model or the tool. The best way to get them started is to create the initial five to ten reports for them and then show them how to customize these reports. Again, a five-minute video that they can return to later if needed is a great way to teach. If it takes more than five minutes to explain how to make a simple change to a report, your system is way too hard to use.

Once users are comfortable making the small changes they need on a day-to-day basis, they naturally start creating their own reports from scratch. They now both understand the tool and know where the data is. We’ve seen many cases where a dozen initial reports turn into hundreds of reports over the course of a year. In fact, IT is often shocked to find out how capable users really are if you just get them started with a good set of reports and some initial training.

Q & A with Sanjay Bhatia, CEO of Izenda, a company that offers integrated self-service reporting for the .NET platform. (As an OEM solution, it is integrated into hundreds of .NET applications with over 25,000 end users, including the U.S. Navy, WellPoint, BHP Billiton, JC Penny,the EPA, Volvo, and Gateway.)

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June 6th, 2009 at 10:25 pm