MSBI : BI # 64 : Business Intelligence – Tools & Theory # 56 : Business Intelligence Strategy & Roadmap #3 : Business Intelligence Usage & Organisation Culture

Hi Folks,

This post is part of Series Business Intelligence – Tools & Theory

Currently running topic for this series is listed as below :

Series Business Intelligence – Tools & Theory

>>Chapter 1 : Business Intelligence an Introduction

>>Chapter 2 : Business Intelligence Essentials

>>Chapter 3 : Business Intelligence Types

>>Chapter 4 : Architecting the Data

>>Chapter 5 : Introduction of Data Mining

>>Chapter 6 : Data Mining Techniques

>>Chapter 7 : Introduction to Data Warehousing

>>Chapter 8 : Different Ways of Data Warehousing

>>Chapter 9 : Knowledge Management

>>Chapter 10 : Data Extraction

>>Chapter 11 : Business Intelligence Life Cycle

>>Chapter 12 : Business Intelligence User Model

>>Chapter 13 : Business Intelligence Issues and Challenges

>>Chapter 14 : Business Intelligence Strategy and Roadmap<You are here>

Continuing from my previous post on this series, If you have missed any link please visit link below

We are going to Cover the Following Points in this article

  • Business Intelligence Usage
  • Organization Culture

Business Intelligence Usage

The companies using BI have many benefits. BI can remove a lot of the guesswork within the organization, enhance the communication among the departments while coordinating the activities, and also allow the companies to respond quickly to the changes in the financial conditions, the customer choices and the supply chain operations. BI can enhance the overall performance of the company by using it. The data is often considered as the second most important resource a company can have where the company’s most important asset is considered to be its people. So, when a company makes decisions based on the timely and correct data, the company can enhance its performance. BI also expedites the decision-making, by acting quickly and correctly on the information before competing businesses can often result in competitively better performance. It can also improve the customer experience, allowing for the timely and suitable reply to the customer problems and priorities.

The firms have recognized the importance of business intelligence for the masses and some of them are as follows:

· Analyzing the click-stream data to improve the e-commerce plans.

· Quickly detecting the warranty-related problems to minimize the impact of the product design deficiencies.

· Discovering the money-laundering criminal activities.

· Analyzing the potential growth of the customer profitability and minimizes the risk of exposure through more correct financial credit scoring of the customers.

· Determining what are the combinations of the products and service lines the customers are likely to purchase and when.

· Analyzing the clinical tests for experimental drugs.

· Setting more gain able rates for the insurance premiums.

· Minimizing the equipment downtime by applying the predictive maintenance.

· Identifying and preventing the fraudulent activities, such as from the usage spikes when the credit or phone cards are stolen.

· Converting the business knowledge through the analytical intelligence to solve the business issues can be easily done by the employees using the BI superior tools like increasing the response rates from the direct mail, telephone, e-mail and internet delivered marketing campaigns.

· Recognizing the loyalty of firm’s most profitable customers and the future customers can be done with the help of BI.

Customers are the most important feature to a company’s success. Without them the company cannot survive. So, it is very crucial that the firms have data on their preferences. Firms must quickly adjust to the changing demands.

Business Intelligence allows firms to gather the data on the trends in the marketplace and come up with modern products or services in prediction of the customer’s changing demands. Competitors can be a big obstacle on the firm’s way to success. The objectives are the same as the firms where the profits and customer satisfaction has to be maximized. To be successful the firms should stay one step ahead of the competitors. Business Intelligence tells the actions the competitors are taking, so that one can make better informed decisions.

The Business intelligence usage can be grouped into the following categories:

· Business operations reporting: The most general form of business intelligence is the business operations reporting. This includes the actual and how the actual stack up against the aims. This type of business intelligence often manifests itself in the regular weekly or monthly reports that have to be produced.

· Forecasting: Forecasting is both a science and art. It is an art because the future cannot be predicted. What if the competitors decide to spend a huge amount of money in advertising? What if the price of oil goes up to Rs.2000 a barrel? And at the same time it is a science because it can be generalized from the historical data.

· Dashboard: The main use of a dashboard is to communicate the data at a glimpse. For this there is little necessity for drilling down the data. At the same time, presentation and ease of use are very vital for a dashboard to be useful.

· Multidimensional analysis: The multidimensional analysis refers to the "slicing and dicing" of the data. It gives a good insight into the numbers at the more granular level which requires a solid data warehouse / data mart backend, as well as a business-savvy analyst to get to the required data.

· Finding correlation among various factors: This is going very deep into the business intelligence. Questions like, "How the different factors are associated to one another?" and "Are there important time trends that can be furnished/anticipated?"

How to make the best use of Business Intelligence?

It is not a big secret that today’s businesses rely greatly on the data and the information it gives about the companies. Whether it is for the reason of the customer acquisition, improving the operational performance, or understanding the competitors, all of the data has to be showed in the form of complex and large amounts of data.

Presently, the data that comes into the modernized organizations has to be reproduced several hundred times then looked at in association with the types of data which were already available for the analysis in the previous decade. Also the different kinds of sources of data have increased thoroughly, calling for the vigorous Business Intelligence solutions for data integration, storage and analysis to increase the effective decision making.

Due to the technological progress made over the last few years it has become even easier to capture the data and is less costly to store the data than before. Where as the Business Intelligence tools of the past were most generally used for no more than a one time analysis, but today there are improved Business Intelligence tools which are being used as an integral feature of on going and continuous enhancement of the way in which the organizations work with and for their customers.

After all of the data has been exhausted one of the things that have changed considerably over the years is the cost at which the Business Intelligence tools can be obtained. Due to the different types of vendors, those concerned in investing in a Business Intelligence solution now have more option as far as the price and complexity are concerned.

With the various tools offered by the Business Intelligence solutions unimaginable possibilities can happen. The applications within the Business Intelligence software allow the organizations to check the competitor data, providing the additional edge necessary to stay ahead. These tools can help the leaders of a company to guess the future outcomes based on the historical and the current date which will in turn give sufficient time to prepare for what may lie ahead.

The Advantages of BI with Sales

Profits can be built by recognizing the useful ventures. Often there are sales and marketing issues which can behave as road blocks to increase the profitability. In order to efficiently overcome these “road blocks” the organization will need the data that will make them to direct the work towards the most gain-able targets. The very same data also makes the organization to steer its products towards significantly increasing the gain. If the organization is well equipped with the intelligence that is required then they can enable mainly the profit-based compensation and also encourage the sales or marketing teams in the direction of a more profitable outcome.

Next the Business Intelligence allows an organization to increase the sales by using the fact bases of selling tools. There are always issues which will slow down the selling process and still some of the issues can be over come in advance.

How can these obstacles be over come? The obstacles can be overcome with the help of Business Intelligence tools which will help an organization to analyze why a product or service sells in one account and not in another similar one. The organization can pin point inventory issues in a particular store and suggest moving the overstock to another location. Also the Business Intelligence data allows the organization to recognize and bring to attention the cross selling opportunities.

The sales representatives with the computer access to the facts given by the Business Intelligence system are better equipped to make convincing sale offers in real time. This sometimes means helping a customer to make product or service quality decision by using on the spot analysis of the

similar accounts. It is good to note that the successful companies are building the customer loyalty by providing the internet access to the data.

How can BI be used for the rescue?

BI means the IT platform and tools which can be used to gather, give access to, and analyze the data about the organization operations and the activities. The platform consists of a set of information technologies which are represented as a stack that is one technology set on top of another.

Starting at the base the stack is as follows:

· Infrastructure: It is the organization’s servers, operating systems, workstations, and networks.

· Data acquisition: The main transaction systems for example payroll, accounts receivable, outpatient registration, and the electronic health record are the sources of data which are used by BI analyses software.

· Data integration: The software is used to extract the data from the source systems, clean the data, and link data from different systems.

· Data aggregation and storage: The repository of data that results from the data integration process which can keep both the complete data and data summaries.

· Data analyses: The analytic software is used to query the repository, run reports, and perform data modeling and "what if" scenarios which are often called BI by the software vendors.

· Portal: The interface is used by the managers and the IT analysts to work with the BI stack.

Though the technology is an important part of BI, efficient management of the BI is just as necessary.

Organization Culture

Organization culture relates to the general culture within a company or organization, and is often referred to as the corporate culture, though it is not the best description since a big non-profit organization or charity could also have its own organizational culture although they are definitely not corporations. Here are some of the many definitions of the organizational culture which can be found.

The organization culture can be defined as: "The set of the beliefs, values, and norms, along with the symbols like the dramatized events and personalities that represent the unique character of an organization, and give the context for action in it and by it." Beliefs and values are words which will pop up regularly in other definitions also. The norms may be described as the traditions, the structure of authority, or the routines.

Organization culture can also be defined as: "The pattern of common basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems has worked well enough to be assumed valid and is passed on to the new members as the correct way to comprehend, think, and feel in relation to those problems." Though the words are different, the two definitions are almost the same in terms of content.

Another more simple way of looking at the organization culture is to view it as a group’s common reaction to the stimulus. An organization culture is a group of people who have been trained, or who have learned by those around them, how to perform in any given condition. In this way, the corporate culture will function just as any social learning will do.

The other feature of the organization culture that is often correct is that it becomes very deeply rooted. It is the identity of the company and in some ways which gets an identity of those who work there, as well. This is important as the culture becomes like a circular argument. This will result in people affecting the culture as much as the culture is affecting them.

Because the culture is so deeply rooted in an organizations history of success or failure, and because of its collective experience, any organization that will have to work to change it will be face an uphill battle and a huge investment in time, resources, and work. In such a situation, it is often good to find get professional outsiders to at least help out, people who have not been exposed and sucked into the bad habits of a dysfunctional organization culture.

So when there are many definitions of organization culture, all of them aim on the same points: collective experience, routine, beliefs, values, goals, and system which are learned and re-learned, passed on to the new employees, and continue on as part of a company’s core identity.

Organization culture is a plan in the field of organizational studies and management which states the psychology, attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values like the personal and cultural values of an organization. It has been defined as "the particular collection of the values and the norms that have to be shared by people and groups in an organization and that control the way they interact with each other and with the stakeholders outside the organization."

The organization values are also known as "the beliefs and ideas about what types of aims the members of an organization should follow and also the ideas about the suitable kinds or standards of behavior the organizational members should use to achieve the aims. From the organizational values the organizational norms, guidelines or expectations are developed that put the suitable kinds of behavior by the employees in a specific situations and control the behavior of the organizational members towards one another."

Organization culture is not the same as the corporate culture. It is the broader and the deeper concepts, something that an organization ‘is’ rather than what it ‘has’. Corporate culture is the total sum of the values, the customs, the traditions and the meanings that will make a company different. The corporate culture is frequently called "the character of an organization" as it embodies the idea of the company’s founders. The values of a corporate culture can influence the moral standards within a corporation.

The senior management can try to decide a corporate culture. They may also wish to apply the corporate values and standards of the behavior that can specifically tell the objectives of the organization. In addition, there will also be an existing internal culture within the workforce. The work groups within the organization can have their own behavioral quirks and interactions which can affect the whole system. Unlike organization culture, the corporate culture can be ‘imported’. For example, a computer technician will have the expertise, language and behaviors obtained independently of the organization, but their presence can affect the culture of the organization as a whole.

Persistent, deep, largely subconscious, and implied code will give the ‘feel’ of an organization and determine what is considered to be right or wrong, important or unimportant, workable or unworkable in it, and how it can respond to the unexpected crises, the jolts, and the sudden change. All the new employees must incorporate the code to know the right way to behave and what to expect from other employees. Organization culture is the sum total of an organization’s past and current assumptions, experiences, philosophy, and values which can hold it together, and are expressed in its self-image, inner workings, interactions with the outside world, and the future expectations. It is based on the shared attitudes, beliefs and customs, express or implied contracts, and written and unwritten rules which the organization develops over time and which have worked well enough to be considered suitable.

The corporate culture demonstrates:

· The way the organization conducts its business, treats its employees, customers, and the broader community.

· The level to which the autonomy and the freedom is allowed in decision making, developing new ideas, and personal expression.

· The process of power and the data flows through its hierarchy.

· The strength of the employee commitment towards the collective objectives.

It is termed as ‘strong’ or ‘weak’ to the extent it is diffused through the organization. It affects the organization’s productivity and performance, and gives guidelines on the customer care and service; the product quality and safety; the attendance and punctuality; and anxiety for the environment. It also extends to the production methods, marketing and the advertising practices in the new product creation. This is commonly expressed as "It’s how we do things here," which is unique for every organization and also one of the hardest thing to change.

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