Information Technology Directors and Managers are the people responsible for seeing that all knowledge workers in an organization have the right tools to generate business intelligence (BI) that is immediately useful and actionable. If that person is you, take a look at seven data analysis tools for faster interpretations that will have the strongest impact on your organization’s ability to make decisions, meaning laser focus for BI analysis and process management, which in turn positions the whole organization from top to bottom to respond to today's rapidly changing requirements.
Whether it is a government department or a mid-sized or large corporation, IT directors are in a never-ending battle to get valuable information resources to the workers that need them promptly. The scope of the problem has dimensions in time and in quality as well as in the volume of data that must flow freely to those that need it; the pressure is always on to deliver.
One question that makes your life most stressful is the demand from knowledge workers: “Why does it take so long to interpret our data?” This question implies that the expectation is for real-time, or at least near real-time, analytical output, whether it maps to a spreadsheet or a visual display format.
Analytics Tools That Create An Accurate Company View
As the person responsible for IT, you have to monitor the patterns of information flow, to ensure that workers have the analytics without blind spots. Ideally, your view of the system will enable you to see inside before the workforce starts to complain. You need to present a front to external contacts, explaining your processes and perspective in meetings with vendors and customers alike.
Finally, you are accountable to senior managers; you must have system information immediately available that assures their confidence in your abilities as well as in the operational health of the organization. If you use these seven types of tools for data analysis wisely, it will make your job easier and your company smarter.
Seven Tools Of BI Interpretation
1. A Business Intelligence Framework that moves the data from a database to processing middleware and then to dashboard visualization. The problem is a stream of undifferentiated data; the solution is to interpret it to find the relevant facts, trends, and patterns and then presents it as a coherent set on one dashboard.
2. Business and Process Analysis Tools – Solutions that suit the situation are the only ones that matter. You have to select from all of the available capabilities to find the ones that give you the results and keeps your knowledge workers productive.
3. Business Planning and Forecasting Tools – At the higher level of knowing where your operations go, you need to have the tools to prepare and justify what you are doing.
4. Key Performance Indicators and Metrics – Knowing what you need to know is the first step in designing your information system and then the key to monitoring and improving performance. As they say, you can't fix what you cannot measure.
5. & 6. Two Tool Sets From SAP And IBM – If you want to talk about tools for BI for enterprises, you cannot leave out these two giants of the industry. And if you need tools to support smart knowledge work, these companies have them in abundance. But we are looking at them as part of solutions for specific business cases and application.
7. Business Intelligence Dashboard – The only data that matters is that which reaches the intended user, in a format that makes sense and produces value to the organization.
Problem: Data Comes In But Not In Useful Forms
In the modern environment, data comes to business information systems from many disparate sources, which may or may not conform to a structure or framework. Real-time connections generate a historically unparalleled volume of data. The scope is hard to gauge if you do not even know what is unique and what data is redundant.
The purpose of business and processing analysis tools is to convert the undifferentiated mass of inputs into a coherent flow of information that reveals trends, patterns, and hidden value. At that point, the refined information goes to the users that extract the insights and exploit them for the benefit of the company.
Reflecting The Business Intelligence Strategy
A smart system will find the semantic and graph connections that hide within the edges and pockets of databases, files, GIS coordinates, and streams of customized data. It will also determine where the input duplicates so that it eliminates redundancies that can lead to repeating work that undermines efficiency. As the decision-maker in IT planning, it is up to you to determine the key performance indicators and metrics that turn data into agents of control. Some of the most powerful tools come from SAP and IBM.
SAP BusinessObjects and IBM Cognos count as two types of tools here, but they contain within them everything that you need to manipulate, clarify and enhance data, to extract the most accurate BI. The extensive range of tools provided as middleware by SAP and IBM fit well into a framework that matches the backend database, the processing power of the middleware and a front end browser that presents the information in the visual display of a consolidated BI dashboard. It is up to you as the key person in IT to determine which of these give you the most accurate data interpretations.
Learn more about how IBM Cognos can help you with your business intelligence dashboard design and data analysis across your entire enterprise. Download our paper, Dashboard Design and Analysis for Midsize Companies.