What is Business Intelligence?
Business Intelligence is an indispensable software tool for modern companies who want to exploit historical data generated by operational systems (ERP, SFA, WMS, CRM). The main objective of business analysts or management teams that use such BI systems is a very pragmatic one: to simplify the monitoring of business development and to facilitate fast analysis over long periods of time or large volumes of data.
Essentially, a Custom Business Intelligence system for a company includes multiple sets of performance indicators (KPIs), grouped into General and Departmental Dashboards (Financial, Sales, Supply, etc.). By filtering and correlating / associating mechanisms, whether it is a department-specific data (ex- marketing) or external data, ad-hoc analysis is facilitated to provide a deep understanding of the various aspects from the internal perspective of your own business.
Today there are several Business Intelligence platforms (Microsoft, Qlik, Tableau, Thoughtspot) that make it easy to create spectacular views using this data and many top players involved in BI project development, either technology-driven or industry-specific certain niche segments.
However, the big challenge faced by the management team as the end user of a business intelligence system is to maintain these systems. It is important to constantly keep the system updated with fresh data taken from internal operational systems (ERP, SFA, CRM, WMS) as well as external data, taken from the market or other ERP partners' systems.
Furthermore, each source of uncorrelated data from the beginning that is added to the BI system increases the complexity and induces factors that can significantly alter the accuracy of post-analysis data.
Sometimes Business Intelligence projects fail. From our experience, failure occurs either when the recipient loses confidence in the accuracy of the data loaded in the system, either when the architecture or platform chosen is rigid and does not allow the development and evolution of the BI system in accordance with its evolving requirements of the stakeholders.
When choosing a Business Intelligence platform or a particular partner, it is recommended to make sure you understand the differences between options, choose a platform from the leaders' quadrant (see Gartner study). Afterward you have to choose a supplier that is able to retrieve the operative data required by ERP and other IT systems but also has the proven ability and know-how to ensure a high level of data accuracy at a competitive price.