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Two new business intelligence resources, and links to a lot more
Delaney Turner 270002T14M firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  cognos business_intelligence
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This post marks the first in a series highlighting new content in the IBM Cognos Leadership Forum for Transformational IT. I'm pretty excited about it.
The Forum is an online resource center for senior IT leaders who need credible third party BI content, whether to bolster a business case, learn about new approaches to old problems or get a handle on where the industry is going. Every two weeks I'll be providing excerpts and perhaps a few observations from the latest postings.
There's a lot of value on this site. Even a quick glance through the tabs will reveal Research Notes from Gartner, ROI studies from Nucleus, White Papers from Ventana Research, plus on-demand Web seminars and other materials.
Content on the site is arranged into five categories:
Stuck between quick win silos and big bang efficiency? There is a third way
The first piece I'm highlighting is from Dave Kasabian, of the Pervasive Performance Group. Dave's also an advisor to our Innovation Center. I interviewed him last fall about building a BI business case he continues this theme in his new White Paper, Why Think Globally, Act Locally Applies to BI. Here's an excerpt:
Most enterprises tend to choose between implementing tactical BI initiatives targeted at very specific requirements for a limited user community or a broad enterprise-wide approach that is focused on corporate requirements and driving standardization across the organization. Each of these approaches has merit but each also has its shortcomings.
The silo approach tends to work well in an environment where the data is specific to that functional area and is not influenced by or related to information from other parts of the organization. An example where a silo approach can make sense is a business whose customers are specific to a single region.
A customer analysis application for that specific region can be very impactful in optimizing customer profitability and cross-sell/up-sell opportunities within the region without the need to pull customer specific information from other regions or provide customer specific detail data to corporate.
[But] Because there is no common standardization of data definitions or validation of data sources, there is potential for redundant, inaccurate, or incomplete data and multiple versions of the truth across the organization. While not an issue when data is isolated, it leads to debate about whose numbers are correct when data is shared cross functionally. This can negatively impact the credibility of BI as a potential enterprise-wide solution.
The big bang approach is defined by going for an enterprisewide deployment of BI right out of the gate.The pros of the Big Bang Approach tend to revolve around efficiency and consistency that are more difficult to accomplish but bring significant value. [But] there are tradeoffs that need to be made in going with this approach most which revolve around cost, time, and culture.
BI concepts? No jargon, please, we're beginners
The second piece is the first chapter from The Shortcut Guide to Achieving Business Intelligence in Midsize Companies, by Don Jones. The paper provides a practical, jargon-free explanation of core BI concepts, capabilities and benefits. If you're still of the opinion that BI is only for big companies, this is definitely worth a read. Here's a sampling:
The term business intelligence was first used in a 1958 article by IBM researcher Hans Peter Luhn, who defined it as the ability to apprehend the interrelationships of presented facts in such a way as to guide action towards a desired goal. In other words, BI isn’t just about technology-centric concepts such as data warehousing or business analytics; BI is really about understanding the relationships between different aspects of your company so that you can guide the company toward specific goals, like increasing market share and improving customer satisfaction.
The IT industry—being technology-centric, of course—uses the term BI as a sort of umbrella phrase that covers all the technologies and capabilities used to gather facts about the business, present those facts in a way that makes relationships clearer, and allow manipulation of those facts to project “what if” scenarios—all intended to help guide better decision making.
The driving force behind BI is that companies are drowning in unrelated facts that come from silos: payroll data, financial data, customer data, vendor data, and so on. BI pulls all that data together and correlates it. The data may seem unrelated, but in fact everything in the business is related somehow—if some data is truly unrelated, then why is it in the business in the first place? BI doesn’t generate new data—it simply makes it easier to explore overlooked relationships between data.
If you want to sign up, go to the site and simply click on the document you'd like to download and fill out the form. Once that step's complete, you'll get an email every two weeks from Don Campbell. Don is an IBM Distinguished Engineer and a frequent contributor to BI Radio. He's also good friends with Kathy Ireland. They tweet all the time.
I tweet all the time, too. Just not to supermodels.