Business Intelligence software, once the exclusive realm of the billion dollar multi-nationals, is changing. The biggest and best business intelligence software providers have realised that small companies grow to midsize companies, and midsize companies grow to large companies and in making this journey there is a real business need for business intelligence software. However, developing organisations don’t start with a million dollar IT budget. So when you look across the table at your potential BI solution suppliers make sure that they really can help you gain the maximum return on your investment.
To achieve business intelligence you will need to install a version of business intelligence software such as SAP BusinessObjects. SAP BusinessObjects provides a mid-market business intelligence platform known as SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI. This is a fully featured BI platform that delivers many benefits to small and midsize companies at an affordable price. The BI platform also allows numerous SAP BusinessObjects tools to be plugged in. Tools such as Web Intelligence for ad hoc queries, Crystal Reports for heavy duty reports such as legal and financial documents, and Crystal Xcelsius to provide interactive dashboarding for managers and executives. There are numerous other business intelligence tools such as MS SQLServer, PowerBI, QlikView and Cognos to name a few so it’s important to do your diligence and take your time choosing the software that’s right for you.
Of course there is more to a BI system than just installing software and if the implementation is expertly planned it can lead to a Total Cost of Ownership Reduction. Having realised cost efficiencies it’s important that your solution should be as future-proof as possible so as to minimise the risk of escalating costs when you want to grow and expand your BI system. Critically for companies that are growing like yours you need to implement a scalable BI solution. A scalable solution is one that grows with you horizontally and vertically.
Horizontal scaling allows organisations to add different business process areas to their solution. For example, you may have decided that sales and marketing is the area in which you will first start to utilise Business Intelligence. You implement BI and increase sales, you have a bigger budget, now you want to add supply chain, finance, HR… A horizontally scalable solution will allow this growth whilst minimising the ubiquitous risk of creating BI stove pipes.
A vertical scaling solution on the other hand allows you to roll up your data into summary metrics such as KPIs and present them on dashboards. It will also allow you to drill down as deep as you need to go in to the detail and analyze the individual data values. You need both horizontal and vertical scaling.
We refer to our end to end BI methodology as our Cornerstone Solutions®.
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