There are plenty of factors needed for success in enterprise business intelligence (BI) initiatives. Well-defined vision and strategy, clearly established roles and responsibilities within the organization and good governance practices as well as a set of defined business processes are some, to name a few.
It is also true that you need an information management approach and strategy to succeed – an approach on how to manage, govern and use the information so that there is consistent information across the enterprise. You need a strategy that manages enterprise information as a strategic asset, consistently and intentionally.
Common Approach to Business Intelligence Initiatives
We can extend the list further including hundreds of factors that affect all enterprise BI
initiatives. The funny thing is that most of them are quite common. If we look at any BI implementation, we can easily realize that vendors, providers and system integrators make use of similar methodologies in their BI projects. They use frameworks, tools and templates that serve to help in the process of effectively delivering business intelligence services. On the other hand, if we look at the client side even in the same industries, it wouldn’t be so surprising to experience similar business processes.
Consider a telecommunications industry for a moment. The same key end-to-end business processes are common to most companies in the telecommunications industry: billing management, order handling, service configuration and activation, provisioning and so forth. Furthermore, these business processes have been described in the enhanced Telecom Operation Map (eTOM) as defined by the TeleManagement Forum (TM Forum).
That being the case, a natural question pops out: Why would any BI vendor not consider packaging their BI offerings as an out-of-the-box solution?
Searching for “Out-of-the-Box” Solutions
If main processes, business drivers and many other aspects are the same, why would enterprises not utilize out-of-the-box BI solutions? Having pre-built enterprise BI solutions definitely enables organizations to realize the value of business intelligence ranging from rapid deployment, lower TCO and built-in best practices, while also still being very easily extendable to meet specific needs, all on one common BI architecture.
I am not only referring to out-of-the-box BI solutions with basic BI capabilities including ad hoc reporting, interactive dashboards, proactive intelligence and alerts, enterprise and financial reporting, and real-time predictive analytics, but also the following components: a common data model, core processes (for ETL, reporting, analytics), a governance structure, a common approach to data quality, a presentation layer and metrics, a decisioning engine and some others.
Especially in an age where integration of social media, real-time web, and Web 2.0 applications are so important for gathering invaluable information about a customer, any of those applications could be easily prebuilt into enterprise BI offerings which then can be offered as an out-of-the-box solution requiring no further effort to develop such capabilities.
Let’s accept that some vendors do offer some sort BI offerings similar to what I describe here, but there is still no “out-of-the-box” enterprise BI solution available from a single vendor. Most of the offerings involve a portfolio of tools and technologies. But the focus should be on the common process, approaches and deliverables, along with the development and governance of processes and competencies.
Here are some benefits that could be gained with an “out-of-the-box” enterprise BI solution:
- A BI offering with an integrated enterprise data model could be a life saver in any BI implementation program in addition to being a great starter of true enterprise information management activities.
- Having a repository with common definitions and business rules needed to support the various BI applications would significantly help any BI initiatives.
- An out-of-the-box capability that allows you to manage changes across the multiple sources and repositories (for example, data warehouses, data marts) associated with BI applications also improves the information management processes.
- Pre-built capabilities that allow easy integration with other applications and social media allow enterprises to utilize the power of the web without huge efforts.
- Pre-defined enterprise metrics that link financial and non financial performance indicators.
- Pre-built predictive analytics with various models ready to be configured in a BI platform semantic layer so that regular business users can use scores as parameters in their reports and dashboards.
Those BI vendors that would like to differentiate themselves from the rest could be successful in the market. And the level of comprehensiveness of the offering that includes out-of-the-box capabilities pre-built into the solution could be the real differentiator in the market.
SOURCE: Enterprise Business Intelligence and "Out-of-the-Box" Solutions
Recent articles by Korhan Yunak