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Posts tagged ‘actionable information’

BI Basics Part 6: Why BI?

May 6th, 2013

Seabeck Systems, LLC

Why BI?

Short answer: because you want to understand company performance.

Actionable Information

A BI program may include some reports, but it is not reporting–BI is intelligent information. Manual reporting processes are inefficient for gathering, compiling, and producing actionable information, and can produce inconsistent and often unverifiable information. I.e. if the numbers don’t match among reports or departments, then one, some, or possibly all results are incorrect. (We don’t like numbers that don’t match – we like our data real and verifiable.)

Consistent Dataset

BI has the capacity to deliver company-wide concurrency and integration of measurements. A successful BI program begins with creating a model of existing business data and processes, and understanding what your company wants to measure. Next, you can leverage your BI platform to ensure all departments have a common, consistent, and readily available dataset for queries, reports, and analysis.

In the words of Stephen R. Covey: Begin with the End in Mind. If you’re asking yourself, “Why BI?” consider: “What do I want to measure?”

Got more questions? Try the BI Basics index, or share your questions in the comments.

BI Basics Part 2: What is BI?

February 25th, 2013

Seabeck Systems, LLC

What is BI?

Business Intelligence (BI) is a set of systems and processes that people can use to understand and adjust company performance.

These aren’t just a bunch of words. Let’s look closer:

People
When we talk about companies, we’re really talking about people.

Computers aren’t the decision makers. Smart automation cannot replace essential activities implemented by well-informed people. It is the people (not the technologies) at your company who can use information generated by BI to create actionable steps for managing company performance.

Systems
A system is a set of interrelated / interacting elements (processes) working toward a common objective.

For example: a payroll system consists of manual and automated processes (e.g. time tracking, tax reporting and payments) that work together to pay employees correctly on a consistent schedule.

Processes
A process is a set of interrelated / interacting functions (activities) that transform inputs (requirements) into outputs (actionable information).

For example: a monthly payroll process includes calculation activities to transform inputs (e.g. time cards, tax withholding allowances, deductions) into outputs (e.g. paychecks, direct deposits, and pay advice).

Now let’s return to our original question: What is BI?

Answer: Business Intelligence is a set of systems and processes designed to generate timely, accurate, relevant, and actionable information. People use BI information to understand and improve company performance.

See also: “Systems and Processes – Is there a Difference?” (PDF download) by David Hoyle. Chartered Quality Institute (2009).

Got more questions? Try the BI Basics index, or share your questions in the comments.