Drowning In Reports? Leverage Customized Business Intelligence

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Drowning In Reports? Leverage Customized Business Intelligence

It's no secret that nowadays, companies are drowing in data. Every piece of software an enterprise uses today has built-in analytics and reporting functionality. Most companies are up to their armpits and sinking fast in data. Obviously, it's not enough just to possess the information...you need to know how to make sense of it.

Business data derived from the disparate departments of an organization are more useless than an icemaker in the Antarctic if the information isn't organized to be actionable. What's needed is a coherent business intelligence system that understands that you want to hear, for instance, about how your customers responded to your latest marketing campaign rather than how many paperclips were used by accounting last year.

A recent study by Knightsbridge Solutions showed that 65 percent of respondents indicated thier number one priority with business data is generating real, actionable intelligence that can be quickly leveraged and turned toward profit. What's actionable? That's a bit like asking how long a string is...what's actionable to one company will be useless to another. Highly customizable BI solutions, deployed well and used intelligently, may become the hottest solutions in the business market in the coming year.

The full release follows.


What Do Business and IT Professionals Want Most from BI in 2005? Facts over Fiction; Knightsbridge Survey Shows That Accurate, Timely Data is under Hot Pursuit

CHICAGO --(Business Wire)-- June 22, 2005 -- Relying upon accurate and timely information to make decisions, rather than intuition, is what organizations are paying attention to most this year. And for the most part, companies are paying more than lip service to this notion by taking measures to organize their enterprise data and enhance analytics capabilities, say business and IT professionals in a recent survey by Knightsbridge Solutions.
The survey, entitled the 2005 BI Peer Review, was completed this past spring by more than 2,000 respondents among all levels of business and IT functions and industries.

When it came to singling out the most relevant information-centric issues in their workplaces in 2005, 65% of respondents named actionable and/or operational business intelligence as their first or second most relevant issue for 2005. Actionable business intelligence provides users at various levels of an organization with access to tactical, time-sensitive business information to improve the speed and effectiveness of operations. Data quality followed as the next most relevant issue, with 54% of respondents claiming it as either their first or second most pertinent concern.

The high priority placed on these two issues underscores the information management challenges all large organizations face--too much data, inefficient access, and data consistency and quality problems.

Corporate action to make good on these intentions appears to be definitive. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said that their company's biggest information-centric priority in 2005 is to invest in business intelligence or enterprise data warehousing strategy (51%) or implementation (27%). Furthermore, 46% say their company is planning, developing, implementing, or maintaining a business intelligence or data warehouse initiative at the moment; only 32% indicated their company is in the investigative stage.

"Achieving the promise of BI has been long overdue," said Roderick Walker, president and CEO of Knightsbridge Solutions. "For years, companies have talked about leveraging data to advance their goals, but didn't take a long-term, iterative approach to get there. Finally, we're seeing a great deal of momentum and success in major corporations becoming much more analytic as they seek to optimize their business operations."

Survey results also indicate that the collaboration between respondent companies' business and IT departments is improving. Seventy-seven percent rated the relationship between the business and IT functions as somewhat or very collaborative. Only five percent described the relationship as not collaborative at all.

A sampling of companies making their BI aspirations real include:

-- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City has nearly completed its seven-phase enterprise data warehouse initiative, designed to help it compete more effectively in its market. The company implemented this system to provide one-stop access to critical data and support enterprise analytics. The project has facilitated a complete organization transformation resulting in total integration of business and IT, now aligned together under one organizational umbrella.

-- Neoforma, a leading supply chain management solutions provider for the healthcare industry, engaged in a full-fledged data warehouse implementation to deliver reports containing powerful, on-demand product conversion and price standardization information for medical/surgical products to its hospital customers -- something that has not previously been possible in the healthcare industry. This pioneering offering promises to significantly improve hospitals' financial performance.

Despite these positive examples of progress, achieving an ideal state of enterprise data management continues to be a challenge. Many companies still face a litany of roadblocks to achieving long-term success with BI, which typically include but are not limited to:

-- Getting stuck in reactive modes and cycles

-- Not building a compelling business case for projects

-- Lack of executive sponsorship

-- Disunity between business and IT departments

In fact, the Knightsbridge BI Peer Review found that many business respondents are unfamiliar with their organizations' stage of BI development. This might be because business users are less involved in BI and data warehousing projects on a day-to-day basis, but it also might indicate that IT needs to do a better job of communicating with the business - and vice versa.

A more detailed version of the 2005 BI Peer Review report, along with Knightsbridge's 2005 Top 10 Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing Trends white paper, can be found at http://www.knightsbridge.com/webinars/trends/main.php.

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