Dashboards—You Can’t Just Drop Them on Your Users

Many products today—including full business intelligence platforms, stand-alone dashboard programs, visualization tools, and analytics tools—tout self-service dashboards.  For some vendors, that means that the dashboard is built and ready to go and you can go ahead and start drilling down and applying filters.  To some vendors that means you can “open the box” and build you own.  But the reality is, with nearly every dashboard implementation, a little bit of knowledge and a little bit of training is going to go a long way toward helping users get the most out of their dashboards and avoid both frustration and misunderstanding. (more…)

Using BIO Business Intelligence to Break Out of Quandary Thinking

In everyday language, a quandary is like a dilemma—a perplexing situation or state, a choice between evenly balanced alternatives, a predicament defying satisfactory solution.  Sometimes thought of as the lesser of two evils, a quandary must be analyzed carefully and all of the impacts uncovered before making a decision.  How better to analyze which course of action to take than to use a tool made for self-service analysis for decision making?  But better than analyzing two alternatives, a deep dive into the data and looking at trends, outliers, correlations, and dependencies may help you break out of the quandary and come up with an entirely new solution, one that is a win-win, and that’s just plain good business.

Business Intelligence for Big Data

Gartner predicts that by 2017, more than 30 per cent of enterprise access to broadly based big data will be via intermediary data broker services.  Many of these proprietary databases come with their own visualization tool.  But what if you want to put some of this data into the context of your business?  How can you do analyses that incorporate both purchased data and data from your financial and operational systems? (more…)

Business Intelligence Consultants–When Can They Help and What Can You Do Yourself?

On one hand, you hear that business intelligence is huge and complex, costs a fortune, and is totally out of the grasp of small to medium-sized businesses.  On the other hand, some vendors are saying, “Download this BI software and start using it now with no help from anyone.”  Who is right?  Well, as with most things in life, the answer for many organizations lies somewhere in the middle.

Everybody Loves a Graph–Tips for Graphs and Dashboards for Dynamics Data

As intellectual as we may be, as right-brained or left-brained, as analytical or instinctive as we are, nearly all of us are visual creatures.  Bright colors, bold shapes, and jagged lines catch our eyes before we even know what we are looking at or if we are the least bit interested in it.  So it is not surprising that charts and graphs have made it into every nook and cranny of our lives—work, home, even entertainment.  Who doesn’t like to look at maps highlighting the counties with the highest per capita income or number of Ferraris (or restaurants or cats) per person? (more…)

Using Business Intelligence to Manage by Exception

Business intelligence is used to develop insights into your business for better, faster decision making for greater profitability.  BI is used in both the financial and operational arenas to track, measure, and manage results as well as ongoing processes by aggregating hundreds, thousands, or even millions of data points and presenting them in a way that is easily consumable by the user.  C-level, managers, and analysts are checking to be sure everything is on track.  Or are they?  Sometimes it quicker, easier, and more insightful to look for something that’s not quite right. (more…)

Use BIO Business Intelligence to Consolidate Data for Reporting and Analysis

Data—one nearly indisputable fact about data is that the more you look at it—and the more WAYS that you look at it—the more information you’ll find.  It’s important to look at your data from 30,000 feet but it’s also important to get down into the nitty-gritty details.  It’s important to look at data from a single entity perspective such as looking at a single department, a single function or process, or even a single company.  But it’s also important to look at your data as a consolidated whole.  This allows you to optimize processes across departments and make sound decisions that affect the entire company.


Reporting versus Data Discovery

Every organization needs reports—financial reports, operational reports, status reports.  We call the basic reports that you need to run your business the “keep your lights on” reports.  But savvy business people will look at these standard reports and questions will immediately pop into their heads.  Or maybe they are in a meeting or a conversation or even just staring out the window and a burning question forms that they can answer only by examining the data—and then looking at it another way—and then drilling down—and then pulling up more data.