BI System Builders Design BICC Process
BI System Builders have helped Dixons Retail design their Business Intelligence Competency Centre process to be used with their new BI System and delivered bespoke Business Intelligence training to business users at the car manufacturer Volkswagen Group.
SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence makes Self-service BI a reality by providing access to data in an intuitive information analysis product. By simply dragging and dropping objects into their reports users can gain business insights and turn these into true Business Intelligence for effective decision making. A business user can quickly create a query from scratch with a few mouse clicks. This is frequently termed ad hoc analysis or creating queries on the fly. Users can then format the retrieved information and analyze it to understand underlying data trends and root causes. The Web Intelligence interface is intuitive in design allowing business analysts and non-technical information consumers to ask spontaneous and iterative business questions of their data using their everyday business language. For example, users could easily create a query that allowed them to compare the performance of their top customers this year over last year. The user could then create their own variables, for example a forecast algorithm and add this to their report. Web Intelligence allows trends to be quickly identified along with sub-optimal areas. Users can drill down and drill across on their data. Web Intelligence access to the data is via a robust semantic layer known as the SAP BusinessObjects universe. The universe objects make query building easy and shields business users from needing to understand database technicalities. Multiple universes from different data sources can be combined in a single report.
The earliest versions of Web Intelligence were only available in thin client. In other words Web Intelligence had to be accessed via InfoView and a web browser. Web Intelligence is now available in the Rich Client version. This is loaded on to the users local machine. A report can now be viewed or developed on the local machine and then published to the BI Platform and shared and viewed as thin client via InfoView. This is great news for people working from home or on a train etc. They can now make changes to their Web Intelligence document off-line and then publish their changes next time they connect.
Centralising on a single Business Intelligence platform and data warehouse is well known for helping organizations become both more effective and efficient. But it will reduce the total cost of ownership of the Business Intelligence IT system too.
Several efficiencies can be realised. The single Business Intelligence platform can be used to consolidate your numerous disparate reporting mechanisms, meaning that you no longer need to license and maintain them. However, it’s not just the licensing and maintenance costs that can be saved. It can also be expensive to maintain different software from various vendors because the related skill sets must also be maintained. Centralising on a single business intelligence will introduce a common, core skill set that can be shared amongst teams at lower internal cost.
In terms of data, the tedious, error prone, and time expensive practice of manually hand cranking data load can also be replaced with a single ETL tool such Microsoft’s SSIS or Informatica. Not only does this remove the risk of user error in data quality but it brings increased efficiency by freeing team members up to do other work.
A single Business Intelligence platform can also drive down licensing costs. Though no way guaranteed, licensing economies of scale have historically been realised due to business intelligence vendor licensing discounts increasing as the number of user and product licenses bundled into a single purchase increased. This is more cost effective than procuring several small licenses for business intelligence software from different vendors.
This combination of consolidation, easier maintenance, increased efficiency, common skill set, and economy of scale drives down the total cost of ownership.