The “Roles” of Business Intelligence

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The “Roles” of Business IntelligenceMany organizations use business intelligence technologies to drive their businesses forward. The key is to deploy solutions that users can leverage to answer key questions on their own in context with their specific business roles.

BI for Executives

C-level executives demand information that is highly summarized and relevant to their key initiatives. They need to be able to see the big picture quickly and clearly so they can take action.

To meet their needs for at-a-glance views of operational and financial performance, executives need preassembled, interactive, browser-based content to start their day.  Strategic dashboards tend to fit the bill best for these individuals by helping them measure progress towards enterprise goals in a very succinct and visual way. Since dashboards like these present summarized trends, they should also provide the ability to drill into the underlying data.

BI for Business managers

Business managers need both a high-level view of the business and an ability to delve into operational details. Fast access to relevant information can help them make better business decisions, and self-service BI can enable them to work independently but then share their insights with other stakeholders.

Business managers need to be able to explore any combination of data over any time period and create unique and personalized views of the performance of their specific business areas. Access to their BI data needs to be available from their desktops for independent analysis and insight, on the web for integrated and collaborative BI, and on their smartphones or tablets.

The right BI solution for business managers should also include scorecarding functionality for monitoring and sharing KPIs, along with alerting capabilities to highlight potential issues.  For Silvon’s manufacturing and distribution clients, such alerts could apply to customers with products on order for which no inventory is available, customer / product line combinations that have shown multiple periods of declining sales, etc.

BI for Business analysts

Business analysts who are tasked with gleaning insights from many data sources need the ability to slice, dice and report on information in order to find correlations between various factors that affect business performance.  The right BI solution must provide them with the information they need in the form of analytical views, reports and statistics.  In addition, easy techniques for working with the data — like manipulating information from a BI solution in an Excel spreadsheet — should make it possible for analysts to get to the “why” behind an event or action quickly and easily. Drilling down through increasing levels of detail can help them view data by different dimensions, such as sales per region or by product, to analyze and report on trends in organizational performance.

Business analysts also need collaboration and networking capabilities so they can engage with business managers, executives and other analysts to share the insights they have uncovered.   And mobile capabilities are a must, so BI content, analysis and statistics are readily available to them even when they are away from their offices.

BI for Other Business Users

Other business users like sales reps need personal, easy access to information that can help them meet their goals and objectives. Scheduled reports or automated scorecards that highlight how they are performing based on targets set for their role-specific projects and activities usually works well for them.  And because many business users deal directly with customers, they often need to have BI content delivered directly to their iPads and other mobile devices so they can assimilate and navigate information even while they’re out in the field.

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This post was written by Pat Hennel