“B. I. today is affordable for all size companies”

Peter Tegenbosch, IBM (Photo : Olivier Minaire)

Peter Tegenbosch, IBM (Photo : Olivier Minaire)

Business intelligence is a rising tool for managers to support decision making processes, but they must get involved in different projects to tailor each solution to their needs. 

When talking about business intelligence (B. I.), people usually hear “data, technology, difficulty”... Is this picture true?

“I believe the perception of the B. I. user on how B. I. is deployed has changed. Today many companies have B. I. solutions in place and they see the advantages for users. This is due to the growing community of users, but as due to the fact B. I. has penetrated all departments. B. I. has become a business user solution supported by IT, when this used to be the way around. The business user controls what he wants to see, how he wants to see the data and the kind of analysis he needs. He is enabled to a large extend to create this content and reports himself. Modern B. I. solutions have sophisticated technology which enables B. I. developers to build in a short time nice reports frames, dashboard, scorecards… which serve as a base for the B. I. end user for further development, collaboration with peers, and the use of all kinds of data.

B. I. is based on technology, but is a tool for operations, in various fields... In which areas can a company find the biggest “ROI” for B. I.?

“Finding the biggest ROI is depending on a lot of factors like data access in and outside the company, analysis capacities, meta data structure definition, the presence of a data warehouse… How the B. I. information is used, if it does support the company strategy, if it is flexible to change other criteria... B. I. is not a one time setup. It needs to be adapted to the changes happening in the company. The biggest ROI lies with adaptability. When we look inside a company, sales might be a natural area to apply B. I. and have high returns, however today other areas like supply chain, asset maintenance and HR are certainly domains in which a high ROI can be expected.

Is B. I. limited to big companies?

“B. I. today is affordable for all size companies, the threshold has severely decreased as vendors made their technology intuitive to use and implement. IT infrastructure is open in order to access data from anywhere at any time. A positive return on B. I. implementation finds its roots in the attitude towards the solution and the realistic view on it. It starts by defining what the requirements are, who will be the users, how should it support decisions, what kind of functionality is needed... companies in which the whole management supports the B. I. implementation and are aware of the challenges it brings will have the biggest positive return.

Who must be the driver of a B. I. project? IT? CFO? CEO?

“Any B. I. project, and by extension all major IT project, must have the support of the C-level in general. B. I. projects return big benefits to the C-level as it provide insight in the data needed to support decisions.”