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Business intelligence basics and my weekend KPIs
Delaney Turner 270002T14M firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  ibmsoftware business_intelligence cognos reporting
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It's amazing how a few simple data points can change how you perform. And how they can create those "a-ha" moments that turn BI skeptics into true believers.
My own "a-ha" moment came with the purchase of a speedometer for my bike. I spent last weekend on the MS Bike Tour. I've done it for the past eight years, but until I bought that little gadget I had no idea where I was or how fast I was going, Each stage was between 15 and 20 km, but without any way to know how far I'd gone, I'd simply go through the stages on gut feel, trying to conserve my energy just in case. It was a workable approach for one or two stages, but not when you're travelling 150 km over two days.
With the speedometer, I knew how far I was from the next check point. I could see whether I was above or below my average speed and whether I was slacking off. I learned what I was capable of in terms of my own physical endurance. Now instead of rolling into the checkpoint a wheezing mess, I cruise in comfortably. None of this would have been possible without this data.
My KPIs for the tour are as follows:
Now, these are the most basic of performance indicators. Still, they provided enough "a-ha" moments to change the way I trained and my own performance when it came time to getting on the bike for for the actual tour.
The point is that no matter how simple the data, no matter how small the scope, most BI deployments don't get off the ground without users having a similar "a-ha" moment. Nor will you be able to expand your deployment with additional capabilities if you don't first satisfy your users' immediate needs for basic information.
So, with that in mind, I'd like to introduce a new series called "Back to BI Basics" to look at some of the key features that make IBM Cognos business intelligence a great foundation to help optimize your business – including today's overview of IBM Cognos 8 BI, a feature on BI reporting and later, a look at IBM Cognos BI Dashboards.
First let’s take a look at what exactly is Business Intelligence.
What is Business Intelligence?
According to Wikipedia, “Business Intelligence (or BI) refers to computer-based techniques used in spotting, digging-out, and analyzing business data, such as sales revenue by products and/or departments or associated costs and incomes.”
Simply put, Business intelligence connects people with information in an easy-to-use way so they can make better decisions.
A lot of things we purchase come with many available “extras” – upgrades, add-ons, and options. We can get a deluxe model. We can supersize it. Most likely, there is an “app for that.” But none of these apps, add-ons, and upgrades makes a difference if you don’t have a good product to start with. You need a strong basic foundation in order for any kind of add-on to be beneficial. This is true with Business Intelligence software. Without a great basic BI product none of the extras are going make a difference.
With BI software you can:
Why IBM Cognos BI?
IBM Cognos 8 BI helps everyone make more informed, faster and more aligned business decisions, based on a complete, consistent view of trusted business information.
IBM Cognos BI:
For more information on how IBM Cognos 8 BI allows everyone across the organization to make more informed, faster and more aligned decisions, check out the IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence Demo. See how IBM Cognos 8 BI is designed to give business users the access to accurate information and interactivity they need to drive business performance.
And finally: Speaking of gadgets, the video below wouldn't have been possible without my new flip cam, but that's another story.