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Why Should I Care About Business Intelligence: Key Performance Indicators

  
  
  
  
  
  

kpiAt the end of the day, your organization is only as good as its employees. Your employees create ideas, plans and goals for the organization. These goals are then strategized to be executed and progress must be monitored. The scenario explained above is what key performance indicators do.

“Key Performance Indicator”, or KPI, helps an organization define and measure progress toward the goals of every single sector within your organization. Key Performance Indicators are quantifiable measurements which reflect the success factors within the organization.  These quantifiable measurements must reflect the organization’s goals. Thus, KPI is associated with many different Business Intelligence analytical activities.

 

 

To remember how you should measure KPIs, an acronym for KPI is as follows:
Specific – must have a detailed explanation of goal that needs to be achieved
Measurable – has to be quantifiable
Achievable – it must be realistic
Relevant – employees must understand the goal and it must have the same meaning to all parties
Timely – it must have an appropriate timeframe

So what is the relation between Key Performance Indicators and Business Intelligence?

Key Performance Indicator is important to understand in both definition and use, as it is the quantifiable process of Business Intelligence. Key stakeholders must be able to utilize the quantifiable data to measure performance and define achievable targets and use Business Intelligence tools to create informed decisions. Without the knowledge of Key Performance Indicator and how one can use it for their organization, the organization could ultimately fall behind.

In our next “Why Should I Care About Business Intelligence” series, we will discuss about the utilization of Business Intelligence tools and how you can use it to your advantage.

Why Should I Care About Business Intelligence: Data Integration 101

  
  
  
  
  
  

data integrationTo further understand Business Intelligence and what it can do for any particular organization, we must first also identify to term data integration. Data integration is a series of events which happen at the same occurrence. It is the movement of data from one place to another without the loss of a single character, which would change its meaning.

This process is also known as ETL – Extract, Transform, and Load. This process is used to integrate data from disparate system into a singular data source, such as data warehousing, which is optimized for Business Intelligence.

So what does this all mean?

It means that a single source for all data would be in a read-only format – it is data that has not been touch by any human being; it reflects data which is generated by an all source system.

This is the reason why organizations should protect their data fiercely. Data is not something that you own; it is your organization’s identity and the roadmap of where your organization will go next. If you ask the right questions using Business Intelligence, data integration can unlock the secrets of an organization allow it to see success and avoid failure.

In our next “Why Should I Care About Business Intelligence” series, we will discuss about Key Performance Indicators, and how you can measure the success of an organization based upon this metric.

Why Should I Care About Business Intelligence: Top 5 Misconceptions About BI

  
  
  
  
  
  

Business Intelligence

Decisions are made through clear information.

Business Intelligence (BI) is the processes, technologies and tools that help us change data into information whereby information becomes knowledge. The knowledge derived from the information allows plans to guide organizations. Business Intelligence helps users avoid mistakes, and increases organizations’ performance and market share. Before we dive into further details about Business Intelligence, let’s clear the air on top common misconceptions about Business Intelligence.

 

Top 5 Common Misconceptions

  1. Business Intelligence is NOT a product, but it is a formulation of information in which various software help interpret to answer not only present, but future questions (hence, predictive analysis).
  2. Business Intelligence does NOT solve a problem to create an opportunity. It simply allows the end users to ask a question to understand the answer. It cannot implement or execute a plan or decide what needs to change for an improvement. In order for Business Intelligence to be of any value for an organization, there needs to be somebody on the other side of the computer screen or device to execute the plan.
  3. Business Intelligence is NOT just a report or a reporting tool; it is crucial with decision-making in today’s modern business world. Business Intelligence helps organizations track project executions with accuracy, reduce costs through controlled productivity and inventory management and increase productivity and help find new markets which organizations may not even realize they are servicing.
  4. Business Intelligence is NOT just a one-time implementation. Businesses are always evolving and competition is always changing. Therefore, Business Intelligence is not a static instance, but a dynamic occurrence to ensure that the organization is ahead of the competition. Business Intelligence is a continuous process driven by improvements throughout the business cycle.
  5. Business Intelligence is NOT only for big organizations or organizations with large budgets. Business Intelligence can assist organizations from any level to understand present data and future trends.

Business Intelligence is important in this economic market. Without the understanding of Business Intelligence, businesses will fall behind from the competition that are making predictive analysis and utilizing information to help strategize their next move importantly.

Government Review: Contracting and the United States (Part Three)

  
  
  
  
  
  

Employees thrive in predictable environments where they can live, grow and learn within. However, the year in review has proven that the environments that employees had adapted with have given more than they could withstand. If they were not directly affected by the layoffs, there were colleges. This created anxiety and stress within the workforce as they saw an increase in workload, reduction in services and delay in acceptance in which caused their work life to be significantly impacted. Above all, these changes did not alter the timelines of requirements and deadlines or supervisor pressure to meet expectations. This resulted in personal looking for positions outside of United States contractors in an economy which has not gotten itself moving from its shutdown.

Of all three legs, United States contractors have the greatest amount of concern over employees. Without a strong workforce to meet the needs of the United States government through innovation and support, it will be difficult to support any of the services and initiatives needed to meet expectations of its citizens. Over the next twelve months, United States contractors will need to work twice as hard in order to stabilize the working environment and encourage bright individuals to work with and for them as they now have the added issue of perception: “working with the government is a short-term employment” which created more uncertainty since World War II.

As such, when you ask a United States contractor if they had a good or bad year, they will shrug.

If you ask them if they’re happy that 2013 is over, they will fervently agree.

The perception of 2014 will indeed be significantly better and I for one, would like to see this year be not only better for United States contractors, but for an entire economy as a whole.

Government Review: Contracting and the United States (Part Two)

  
  
  
  
  
  

Full government shutdown should be the last resort for any organization.

As Newton’s First Law of Physics states: “An object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an equal or stronger force.”

It goes on to state that twice as much force is required to move an object into motion.

This situation alone has pushed many United States contractors into bankruptcy or significantly reduced workforce as contracts we placed “on hold” or were simply cancelled all together. On a larger scale, a full on government shutdown created a tremendous amount of anxiety. It caused other nations to take a step back and consider recalling outstanding debt.

This created the second concern within United States contracting.

Check back next week on our blog to read the final segment on contracting and the United States Government.

 

Government Review: Contracting and the United States (Part One)

  
  
  
  
  
  

Government Shutdown

In 2013, the nation saw an event that no one could have imagined: sequestration government shutdown. The government shutdown led to a massive halt to our governmental infrastructure and a mass exit of employees. As a result, United States contractors suffered a great deal of damage and as we leave 2013 behind and progress forward, we must be reminded of three main points. These three main points are here to remind us the significant impact on how corporations support the United States Government into 2014 and beyond.

Sequestration

The installation of sequestration is, in theory, a great idea. It forces the House and Senate to end their quarrels and come to a resolution towards a balanced budget and allow the government to strive and support its citizens and public works; this setup was a “carrot-and-stick” scenario.

“If you create a budget, everyone agrees and when the President signs it, there is no penalty. If a budget isn’t created, a computer system will cut 10% off the top of the last budget signed and continue to cut a percentage off until a budget is in place.”

As we all know, theory does not always follow reality. As with small children, some decided to see if they could push the system into thinking that there was no real danger, as computer systems do, followed their programming.

This created the first real concern within United States contracting.

Check back next week on our blog to read more on contracting and the United States Government.

Elements of a Business Intelligence Strategy

  
  
  
  
  
  

Making an Intelligent Investment

Most medium to large sized businesses have or will make investments into developing business intelligence applications. Prior to integrating technology into your business intelligence strategy, spend time developing a vision for the implementation. Technology
is merely a tool that helps organizations achieve their BI objectives.

Business Intelligence Success Factors

There are a number of success factors to consider when defining your BI strategy, including:

  • Consultation with Stakeholder - When defining a BI strategy, a critical component often missed by organizations in a hurry to implement a strategy is spending time with their key stakeholders- the end users. There is no better way to understand not only the current environment, but what is needed to enhance it, than spending time listening to those immersed within it. Surveys, focus groups and strategy workshops are among strategies top organizations utilize to gather feedback.

  • Leveraging Industry Best Practices - As BI is a maturing discipline and industry, best practices among current practitioners are readily emerging.

  • Alignment Between Business Goals and Overall Strategy - Define metrics required to measure progress, establish baseline metrics and measure progress toward achieving these metrics over time.

  • Integration of BI Applications into Current Processes and/or Workflows -
    For optimal functionality, BI systems should seamlessly integrate into the current activities end-users are engaged in. Ultimately, end-users should have access to the information needed, in a useful format, so that they can complete job functions as needed.

Armed with information gathered from stakeholders along with industry best practices, you
can develop a BI strategy that will align with business goals and offer seamless integration into your current workflow processes.

Choosing Technology for your BI Strategy

With a BI strategy developed, it is time to integrate technology into the equation. Consider these factors as you narrow down your BI platform choices:

  • Choosing the Right Server - Compare and contrast server options according to the following features: dashboard reporting capabilities, ad hoc analysis options, scheduling and delivering functionality and auditing features.Small Reports Magnified

  • The Breakdown Between Server and a Data Repository

  • Real Time Data vs. Delayed Data - While real time data is often in demand; the value provided often doesn’t justify an investment to deliver data more frequently than daily, or every few hours.

  • Source Data to End-Customer Experience - Reporting capabilities are not enough! Mentioned previously; end users need access to timely, accurate information, in a useful format for effective interpretation.

Top organizations leverage their most strategic assets, information, more effectively than their
competition. Properly leveraging BI can enable organizations to unlock their information assets, propelling them ever closer to achieving and surpassing their established goals and objectives.

Why Business Intelligence (BI)?

  
  
  
  
  
  

Welcome to the 5x Technology BLOG…     Jeffrey Yefsky, 5x Technology CEO

I’m Jeffrey Yefsky, 5x Technology CEO.  I have to say this is something I never thought I would ever do, write about something I have knowledge about. 

I have been in the Business Intelligence business for over 15 years. I have been a Business Analyst, Implementer, Sales Person and now CEO. I have seen every product configuration to come down the pike and yet, I still love to help people with how they process information they use to run their organizations.

People (old and new) to the concept of business intelligence… and it is a concept to understand – Business Intelligence is NOT a tangible item, it is a process and sometimes a tool to help people decide what is the next step in decision-making for their business: To make the next purchase, create the next product or start the next division of an organization … or NOT. These are all based on information from the gut, a spreadsheet, or a database or a recommendation.  ALL decisions are made based on information…which is a piece of Business Intelligence.

I am all about defining things. My perception of a Widget is different than someone else’s. But, by using Business Intelligence, all parties gain a more synchronized and focused understanding of the information to make concise and intelligent decisions.

So, let’s start with a couple of different definitions from some very well know sources…

Business Intelligence

Defined by Wikipedia: Business intelligence (BI) refers to computer-based techniques used in identifying, extracting, and analyzing business data, such as sales revenue by products and/or departments, or by associated costs and incomes

Defined by Forrester Research: Business Intelligence is a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information used to enable more effective strategic, tactical, and operational insights and decision-making.

Defined by 5x Technology: Business Intelligence process includes communicating findings and effecting change for small parts or group within an organization or an entire enterprise. Business Intelligence provides organizations with information to help in 3 main areas: Improve business processes, Improve customer's response, and Adapt to changing market conditions.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be devoting time to helping you understand the basics of BI. The goal is to educate people on how they can do more with the information they have available - with less energy and the ability to make better decisions.

Thanks for reading and I hope this becomes one of your regular BLOGs!

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5x Technology - Building Value Through Business Intelligence

5x Technology is a growing IT solutions provider focusing on information delivery through business intelligence, data warehousing, and data integration.

Our strong partnerships with industry's leading technology and software providers, including IBM Cognos, SAP BusinessObjects, Microsoft, Oracle, BMC Software, CB Technologies, and HP enable us to offer a complete range of services to develop a business intelligence strategy.

We then implement that strategy by developing infrastructure, appropriate business processes and controls using enterprise information to produce lean efficient processes to completely support corporate mission and goals for a wide-range of industry vertical organizations, including government, banking and financial, biotech, retail, pharmaceutical, communication and manufacturing.