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Posts tagged ‘definitions’

BI Basics Part 4: When is BI the right approach?

April 8th, 2013

Seabeck Systems, LLC

When is BI the right approach?

When you monitor your business for changes over time (i.e. trends), how do you determine the cause(s) behind each trend you observe?

Business Intelligence is a systematic approach for analyzing company performance data in real time. BI information helps to establish a baseline of normal operations, so companies can compensate for any operational inconsistencies.

This is essential: once a company defines a baseline for operations, it’s easier to see fluctuations earlier, understand which adjustments are needed, and then measure the effects of each action.

When is the right time for a BI program? When you need a complete picture of company performance to help you understand trends while they occur, you are ready for BI.

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

BI Basics Part 3: Where is BI successful?

Discussion
Where is BI successful?

The power of BI is that someone actually uses it. No matter how well constructed, your BI program cannot succeed if people do not take advantage of the information that BI yields.

Department Champions
A thriving BI program needs champions: people who can actively promote the program to raise awareness and stir excitement. Your BI champions encourage everyone to learn, participate and make use of BI information for daily decision making. People who participate in the BI program as it evolves provide critical feedback that enhances ongoing BI development, and ensures the relevancy of end results.

Federated BI Team
BI is not the purview of one group. Rather, success is forged by the Federated BI Team, which consists of people from across the organization who understand (are trained in) BI systems and processes. Your Federated BI Team has the capacity to identify knowledge-holders and bring them to the table, break down input and ideas, build user stories, prioritize requirements, and identify the specific objectives required to work toward each goal.

Let’s Recap

A healthy BI program needs champions who can help sustain interest and solicit input. A Federated BI Team ensures engagement and support across the company, including representatives from business and technical groups.

So where is BI successful? Answer: where people actively use BI information to support daily decision making and adjust company performance.

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.

BI Basics Part 1: Who needs BI?

February 11th, 2013

Seabeck Systems, LLC

Who needs BI?

Business Intelligence (BI) is useful for anyone who wants a better understanding of company performance. People use BI to answer questions like:

  • How is our business performing?
  • Are we doing our best?
  • Where can we make changes that will help us achieve our new objective?
  • How does our performance today compare with how we were doing 15 days ago? 30 days? 1 year?
  • If we’re at the top of our game, where do we go next?

If you want to know how you’re doing and why, your company needs BI.

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

BI Basics Part 0: Business Intelligence in Plain English

January 28th, 2013

Seabeck Systems, LLC

Is BI right for my organization?

When we talk with people about Business Intelligence programs, we almost always hear these two questions first:

a) “What is Business Intelligence?”
b) “Is BI right for my organization?”

If you have these questions, the BI Basics blog series is for you.

In the following posts we’ll investigate the Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why of BI. (We’ll link the index below as we go.)

Part 0: Business Intelligence in Plain English
Part 1: Who needs BI?
Part 2: What is BI?
Part 3: Where is BI successful?
Part 4: When is BI the right approach?
Part 5: How is BI used?
Part 6: Why BI?
Part 7: Quick Recap & Next Steps

Got more questions? Share yours in the comments.