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While I was out: Business Analytics updates OTHER than IOD EMEA
Delaney Turner 270002T14M firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  cfo cio finance business_intelligence business_user
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Ok, I'm back.
What'd I miss?
Quite a bit, actually. Turns out while I was reporting on the the goings-on at IOD EMEA and running around Rome with the Nikon, my colleagues were equally busy publishing Web sites and providing resources to help you bring the promise of business analytics to your own organization. Here's a not-
On the Financial Performance Management Resource Center
Among the many useful pieces on the site, I found this one particularly interesting - it's a new IBM White Paper entitled Where Finance Belongs on the IT Agenda. It takes a look at the conclusions of both the recent IBM CFO and IBM CIO Studies and explores the repercussions for each on the other in the context of better decisions. A solid IT-Finance partnership lies at the heart of any business analytics deployment and this paper provides many good starting points you can use to build one for your own organization. You'll find it in the "Budgeting and Forecasting" section. Here's an excerpt:
When the economy is stable, a company’s IT organization may view Finance as just one of many internal customers competing for attention. Finance vies for IT resources alongside Operations, Sales, HR and other departments. And in stable, “normal” times, Finance may be content to wait its turn and simply get by, using whatever tools it has used in the past.
But in the current recession, sudden shifts in revenue, costs, and the availability of credit can threaten even the most well capitalized companies. Their very survival may depend on the ability of Finance to anticipate and shape business outcomes, and drive transparency for better decision making. IT and Finance, of course, share the goal of helping their businesses weather the storm and emerge from these difficult times poised for growth. Yet many expect the post-recession economy to be qualitatively different from what used to be considered “normal,” leaving traditional growth strategies open to reassessment. So, to prosper in this new environment, Finance will need the very best that IT has to offer.
On the IBM Cognos Leadership Forum for Transformational IT
A particularly vexing question on the IT side is whether to choose BI software from your ERP system or go with a third-part vendor. If you've already invested millions into your Oracle or SAP systems I can certainly understand the temptation to choose their BI offering as well.
But I'm very good at resisting temptation. And so should you be, too. If your data you rely on to make mission-critical decisions is coming from sources other than your ERP applications - something that's very clearly the case according to clients at IOD EMEA - then you need to explore BI solutions from places other than your ERP applications. The latest offering on the Forum, an e-book from Sear
Start with BI requirements gathering, before getting into the ERP vs. pure-play vendor decision. [Forrester analyst Boris] Evelson recommended organizing BI cases into distinct categories, then prioritizing them according to degree of complexity and difficulty. Promising quick wins can help get the project funded. If your plan starts with delivering on the easiest problems to solve, your BI implementation team will learn from it, but you'll also bring onside the business users who've experienced the success.
First, try looking for a way you can automate a manual process. If you've got full-time workers consolidating and reconciling statements each month, then pouring that information into spreadsheets for distribution to managers and executives, and all of this takes four full days, then you've got hard numbers to work with and clear results. Nail down a list of similar future projects, which can lead to justifying initial BI investments by showing how it can deliver top-line business results.
Of course, every organization is unique. CEOs, CIOs and line-of-business managers all need different things and react to plans in unexpected ways, which means a BI business case is sometimes about long-term education.
New on the Interwebs: Business Intelligence for Business Users
Finally, there's a new site up with resources dedicated to helping business users design, build and use business intelligence for better decisions in places like Sales, Human Resources, Marketing and more. The centerpiece is a new White Paper called, not surprisingly, BI for Business Users and leads you through a discussion about how IBM Cognos 8 BI can help anyone can find, share, and act on information when they need to make better decisions.