Implementing Business Intelligence

Implementing a Business Intelligence solution in your business should be done for one obvious reason: improved decision-making. This simple reason in itself is enough to drive many to turn to Business Intelligence but there are more supporting reasons as to why BI should be a top priority to you. BI will help you make sense of all of the data you are getting every day and it will also save you time. Unfortunately, sometimes these implementation projects fail, costing you money and wasting your time. So if you want to get your Business Intelligence project going, consider these 10 potential bumps in the road.

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1. Planning Of course, planning should be the first step in an implementation project. Without enough upfront planning, your implementation project can quickly go belly up. If the implementation is inconsistent or the BI does not align with your business problems, it will be effort wasted. Getting over this first hurdle will put you well on your way to a successful implementation.

2. Support Lack of support can be a huge issue for BI implementation. Executive sponsorship is important but you also need to make sure all levels of management are on board. This will help the implementation to be carried out throughout the entire company and through all departments.

3. Data Quality Data quality can be gauged through an audit of your data. Doing this before trying to implement a Business Intelligence solution is a good idea and can help you figure out how to fix the data at its source. If your data quality is not good, the decision making from this data (through BI) will not be good either.

4. The Right Team Who in your company has an intimate knowledge of how everything works and where everything is stored? The organizational policies, business practices, history, user demographic, and customer demographic are important points to include in the BI implementation process. These people should make up the team that works closely with the BI vendor to make sure the implementation is really geared toward your individual company.

5. Training Business Intelligence has so many benefits, but if it isn’t used, it doesn’t do you any good. It’s important to train the users on the importance of BI and how to use the systems. The mass majority of the employees should be able to use BI in one way or another. If they are properly trained on the system, they will soon find out how much easier it can make their lives.

6. Adaptability Once you implement your Business Intelligence solution, that won’t be the last change you need to make. Your company will need to continually adapt with the evolving nature of BI. BI projects a cyclical and you will need to keep up with it over time. More insights for new aspects of your business can be had from this type of project.

7. Shopping You always want to do your homework before partnering with a BI solution. Make sure you shop around to find out what features and what prices are in the market. You also do not have to go through your existing ERP or CRM vendor. Your business needs should be met completely by your BI solution and customization should be an option.

8. Generic Solutions This goes along with our last point. You don’t want a solution that is too generic. If you are using a dashboard, it needs to be one that will suit your needs and handle the data you give it. A dashboard is appealing but if it is not planned out well, the figures can be inconsistent.

9. Scalability Your BI solution needs to be able to scale to support data volume, user volumes, and concurrency. If not, you could run into problems when it comes to the daily revenue generating activities. Remember, your product implementation could include million or even billions of records and the data your company acquires will only grow. Scalability should be a main consideration for you as you look into different solutions.

10. Cost The ROI of a BI solution is pretty great with the decision-making impact it brings. Considering that, you should budget accordingly. Your vendor selection and contract negotiations will have the biggest impact on your spend. As discussed earlier, leave room in your budget for making sure your data is of the highest quality which may include an audit. One of the ways Ryvit is different than other platforms is in our custom designed integrations. Because we run mirrored databases on integration objects and have the native capabilities to push and pull data from multiple applications, we can provide partners with insights across the enterprise. This opens up the opportunities for your business to provide meaningful metrics to executive teams, sales and marketing personnel, and even customers.

SaaS Decoded

  Before SaaS, companies were required to buy, build, and maintain all of their IT infrastructures. Each and every software solution they needed, they had to buy and maintain- no matter what the cost. Keeping up on all of the newest industry trends became not only taxing but incredibly costly as well. It was hard for companies to stay competitive because their IT budgets had to account for all of these software expenses. This all changed when SaaS became popular. But what is SaaS, exactly? And what are the real benefits?<!--read_more--> SaaS stands for software as a service and it has really caught on in recent years. SaaS was a big turning point when it came to IT for companies because no longer do companies have to buy and maintain their entire infrastructure. Companies can now plug into shared infrastructures via the internet and get all the software applications they need with less cost and less maintenance. The two biggest negatives of buying and maintaining all IT infrastructures were solved with one solution. SaaS is cloud based, versus on premise. This is why the connectivity is so straightforward. SaaS is made available to customers over a network- usually the internet. A perk of this model is global accessibility. You can access your software anywhere, anytime. A common fear when turning to a SaaS provider is about owning data. When you put your data on the cloud through a SaaS provider, you still own your data 100%, just as you did before. Automatic updates and patch management comes standard with SaaS. Because of this, all users who connect to an application through SaaS will have the same version of the software. Compatibility issues are erased. You no longer have to maintain your own software, taking time from other business critical tasks. Why do we love SaaS? To put it simply- it’s simple. SaaS deployment is a carefree and cost effective way to stay on trend. To take it to the next step, iPaaS, or integrated platform as a service, takes those SaaS solutions and integrates them. The subscription model that SaaS has still stands, but now all of those solutions can be accessed and integrated from one hub. The benefits of integrating your solutions are numerous and they start with business intelligence. The business intelligence, reporting, and analytics made possible through iPaaS providers is an absolute game changer. Making more informed, and therefore, better business decisions, has the ability to carry your business to the next level of success and earning. The big data collected through the many channels possible does you no good if you cannot apply it. Business Intelligence through integration on an integration platform does just that- it helps you apply your big data by making sense of it all. SaaS has opened the door to a whole new way of acquiring the business essential applications of your industry. SaaS has the ability to be the foundation for better ways to do business in the coming years.

Storage: Cloud versus on Premise

The battle continues when it comes to data storage cloud versus on premise. It can be as difficult as comparing apples and oranges at times because of the root differences between the two. On-premise storage has been used for much longer than cloud storage, but many think cloud storage is the storage of the future. Each option has their own set of unique advantages and disadvantages. How do you know what is right for you? First of all, you need to know the differences.

How they are AccessedOne of the most obvious differences between cloud storage and on-premise storage is how you can access the data. In traditional on-premise storage, the data is installed on a user’s computer. They are able to access it from their machine from that point forward. With cloud storage, you access the data via the internet. You login to a portal and your data is there. This means you can access your data from multiple devices and there are many easy ways to collaborate and share the data you are working with on the cloud.

Payment Options Another big difference with cloud versus on-premise storage is the way and amount you pay.  When you choose on-premise storage you pay upfront for a certain amount of hardware for storage and once you purchase it, it’s yours to use how you will. With cloud options, you oftentimes pay as you go, or pay monthly. If you need more storage, you can usually up the amount no problem and see a small difference in your payments. The benefits of this are there is a lower cost of entry as compared to on-premise storage and the ongoing costs, such as maintenance, are much lower, even though you are paying annually.

Security When looking at cloud versus on-premise, security concerns need to be discussed. On-premise storage can be infiltrated by a virus, but the concerns with data loss with cloud storage are much more prevalent. The best way to alleviate the concerns with cloud storage is to make sure it is encrypted. This will ensure no one without permission will access your data.

Impact on Employees The cloud storage has the ability to alleviate internal IT needs. Your internal or outsourced IT team will then have more time and resources to focus on higher impact projects. Your non-technical end users will benefit from greater flexibility – they will have the ability to access their data from anywhere anytime. Automatic updates are an advantage that on-premise cannot provide that benefit your technical and nontechnical team. The collaboration and cross-departmental communication is made easier when you use cloud storage, as well.

Integration When using a cloud or even hybrid storage solutions, you are opened up to scalability and easy integration. Platforms, such as iPaaS (integration platform as a service) need only APIs to connect you to business critical applications. Your data, in turn, can be put to use with powerful business intelligence capabilities. Ultimately it all comes down to what works best for your particular organization. Make sure to do your research so you can understand all of the ins and outs of each solution.  Consider your long term strategy as it pertains to technology, data and operations. The decision you come to might not be the same as the other guy, but your business strategy and plans likely aren’t identical, either.