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BI: Simple, Fast and Complicated(?)

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BusinessIntelligenceWhile working with a customer on one of our latest BI solutions for the easy delivery of key information, KPIs and reports, someone made a comment that seemed simple…but complicated. To paraphrase – we need complicated information fast, but we don’t want to be educated on how to get it. View Article…

Business Intelligence: Where Do I Start?

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whereToStartIn my role as a business intelligence software marketer, I correspond daily with IT, Finance, Sales and other corporate executives – expounding the value of my company’s business performance analytics for manufacturing and distribution businesses. Last week, the VP of Finance and IT of a major CPG company said something that stopped me in my tracks. “I get bombarded by my management team with so many requests for analytic tools that I don’t know where to start!”

Wow. That one simple comment put so much into perspective.  View Article…

What’s Your Dashboard “Type?”

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DashboardTypesTo stay competitive, organizations need Business Intelligence (or accurate, actionable information about key business metrics).  Performance dashboards come into play next by serving up summaries and reports of the BI that’s most critical to the organization.

An effective dashboard combines information dynamically and in new ways beyond traditional paper reports to measure performance and enable fast, appropriate action by decision makers. Even more, dashboards deliver significant value by leveraging Key Performance Indicators (or KPIs) to manage progress towards goals.

There are three general “flavors” of performance dashboards, each differing in the level of detail they offer and the analytics they provide .

The Operational Dashboard

The most common type of dashboard is the operational dashboard. For manufacturers, these dashboards are usually deployed at the departmental level to monitor the performance of manufacturing-related processes. For example, an operational dashboard might track the number of complaints, defects or returns related to each product manufactured by an organization.

Typically, operational dashboards should provide a lot of detailed data without requiring users to find the information they need via “drill down” capabilities. This is because front-line employees generally don’t have the time or expertise to analyze and determine the additional information they may need in order to solve a problem.

The Tactical Dashboard

The second type of dashboard is a tactical dashboard which monitors the processes that support an organization’s strategic initiatives. A tactical dashboard not only sits between strategic and operational dashboards; it differs in the level of detail at which data is presented to users. For example, a tactical dashboard that tracks actual vs. target market share in various countries may be deployed by an organization that wants to grow worldwide market share by XX percent in a year. That same company’s operational dashboard, on the other hand, may track at various times of the year specific product sales vs. sales of similar competitive products.

The Strategic Dashboard

The third dashboard type, a strategic dashboard, measures progress towards strategic corporate goals. These dashboards often include non-financial KPIs such as customer satisfaction, customer attrition or market share, as well as comparisons like this year’s fourth quarter sales vs. the same quarter in prior years. They also can include financial KPIs like profitability and lifetime value per customer.

A strategic dashboard presents highly summarized global trends for top management. Since it’s high-level in nature, it needs to provide greater abilities for users to drill into the underlying detail. In addition to highlighting internal operational and tactical trends, a strategic dashboard is more likely to include data on global, external trends related to regulations, currency fluctuations, market share or projected competitive profit margins. The strategic dashboard may also include information about external events that can have an impact on the business’s strategic goals.

While this presents a very high-level look at the types of dashboards used by businesses today, numerous posts that dive deeper into specific topics surrounding the creation and use of Dashboards are available for your reading pleasure. Feel free to take a look when you have some time … a selection of these posts have been highlighted below for you!

Dashboards give executives the green light for business visibility

Is that dashboard really a dashboard?

Dashboards: Linking key metrics across the enterprise

Dashboard design: 5 pitfalls to avoid



Driving Category Management with Sales & Marketing Analytics

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CategoryManagementCategory Management is a function that helps suppliers develop a category purchase marketing strategy for an individual retail account that best meets the consumer’s needs and, in the process, determines the best approach for influencing that account. Crucial to Category Management is an understanding of the pre-purchase environment for the category and of the vital information behind actual purchases through the use of sales and marketing analytics. View Article…

What Do BI Tools Really Do For You?

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Plan_Measure_ManageAfter years and thousands of deployments, it’s time to look back and reflect on the real benefits of Business Intelligence. The answer seems obvious but it’s worth some careful thought to help guide improvements in the future ― not only in BI products themselves, but how and when they are deployed. View Article…

Driving Business Performance with Analytics

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Performance ManagementHave you investigated ways to improve your company’s operational performance on more than one occasion, but been challenged with having the right data and determining the right measurements?

You’re certainly not alone if you answered YES.

Creating the best analytics is a rigorous task that requires special study of the “hierarchy” of performance variables that are present throughout your business. While many variables affect performance, we have found over time that analytics created around performance- or profit-generating processes is a good way to begin. Then cascading these measurements down through the enterprise helps to ensure concentric goals and objectives. View Article…

Are Retailer-Demanded Price Cuts Killing Your Bottom Line?

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Retailer Price Cuts - Killing the Bottom LineHere are some cost reduction tips to help offset the financial impact of lowered retailer purchase pricing

Organizations today are spending as much as 60 percent of their revenue acquiring the goods and services needed to support their business. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that for businesses that sell through big box retailers with price squeezing power, reductions in the area of procurement spending would appear to have the largest effect in offsetting the financial impact of lowered retailer purchase pricing. But how can you pinpoint where to cut those purchasing-related costs? View Article…

CFOs: Taking Charge with Analytics

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CFO-and-AnalyticsSo much has been written about the promise of business analytics to analyze data for competitive advantage. But, who should own analytics? The CIO? CFO? Some other business unit executive? According to 23% of respondents in a recent Deloitte Touche study, the most frequent leader of analytics is the business unit or division head, followed closely by the CFO at 18%. Some 20% revealed there was no single overseer of their business analytics. However, when they looked at the area most often found to “invest” in analytics, finance lead the pack at 79%. View Article…

Good Visibility Drives Enterprise Performance

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VisibilityThere is an old cliché that says “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” While that is certainly true, the real issue is that if you can’t visualize it, you can’t manage it.

Visibility (and visualization) of opportunities and problems plays a key role in managing performance in all parts of the enterprise. View Article…

Are Customers Getting Ready to Stray From the Fold?

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Customer Fold6 Ways That Manufacturers Can Exploit Business Metrics To Maintain Customer Satisfaction

What a sinking feeling when you find out that your customer is getting ready to part ways and give their business to someone else. You knew something was up when they didn’t engage with you like they used to. You wondered why they took a pass on those special offers they used to jump on before.

Was it something you said? Did you miss the mark on getting product to them when promised? Has product quality been a consistent issue lately? Were you totally out of the loop on everything that was happening with the account and now it’s too late to save it? View Article…