Self-Service Business Intelligence: The hunt for real insights in hidden knowledge Whitepaper

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1 Self-Service Business Intelligence: The hunt for real insights in hidden knowledge Whitepaper

2 Shift in BI usage In this fast paced business environment, organizations need to make smarter and faster decisions to take full advantage of changing demands and fleeting business opportunities. Organizations face enormous challenges in managing data growth and need the ability to quickly identify hidden value within the data. Competitive pressures on organizations also make enterprises feel the heat and create demand for better solutions that support their agile environments. Enterprises are striving to become more intelligent and achieve competitive advantage through the use of business intelligence solutions. The need for these next-generation tools is based on three underlying principles relevance, self-service and social. Today enterprises are information driven. Most organizations are using some form of business intelligence tools to make insightful decisions about their operations. Organizations that deploy business intelligence solutions quickly gain insights into their business activities and thereafter improve upon them. By analyzing historical data, decision makers can better identify productivity gains, cost cutting measures and future revenue generating channels. Many of the early versions of business intelligence software were difficult to use and relied heavily on the company s IT department to create custom reports. IT professionals responsible for developing these reports faced increased pressure to create a growing number of reports and meet each user s individual requirements and timelines. Paradigm shift: IT centered to self-reliant Nowadays, business executives see higher demand for tactical decisions that need to be made swiftly and often, using their own well defined metrics. However, current reports sometimes miss any new or modified metrics that have been identified by the user. With each criterion the organization must turn to IT to reinitiate the report development process. Organizations have started shifting their development and deployment approach to ensure that the system satisfies a company s agile business needs. Many are turning to more self-service functionality to make the end user less dependent on IT. Business executives need to have better access to critical information at the right time for more effective decision making. Enterprises are looking for an alternative approach to business intelligence and data management. They are looking for an opportunity to enable their end users to create and access specific reports and analytics themselves and assist users in addressing the wider range of business related queries and issues. Self-service business intelligence represents a paradigm shift in the way businesses use their data. By enabling end users to combine and analyze large amounts of data, self-service BI provides a pathway to better decision making across the enterprise. Yet effective decision making for core business processes often requires trusted reports that are best developed by centralized teams of experts who can validate data quality and deliver more sophisticated reports. As business executives and teams of experts look to put the best solutions in place, there are several factors to consider. Common Challenges Critical information is scattered in disparate systems across the organization, so extracting information may become difficult. It can also be challenging to aggregate the information from disparate sources, quickly and confidently. The larger and more distributed an organization and its information, the more analytics support it generally needs. In many business intelligence tools, users have to navigate complex interfaces making analysis difficult and time consuming. Without IT assistance the business community is not able to extract and analyze information effectively, and important data is lost in complex analytical 2014 Ducen All rights reserved. 1

3 systems. As a result, many of the business decisions are made without the critical data points needed, leaving users searching for ways to fill the information gap. For developing a single report, the IT team follows a lengthy, laborintensive process. Over time, as the user community grows to several hundreds or thousands of users only a finite set of IT resources are still available to serve them. This can make the completion of activities fall behind. Even after moving to different approaches by re-prioritizing critical reports and dashboards or moving projects up in the queue, delivery time can still take several months. Most of the standard business intelligence tools provide only pre-canned reports that contain a finite set of reports and analytical data in a predetermined format which makes it impossible for users to customize it according to their business problem. Many are not very intuitive or easy to use, requiring users to work within an interface that uses complex front end environment. The software also demands prior training and sometimes requires extensive SQL and technical knowledge and programming skills to work effectively within the environment. Many organizations are forced to build custom BI solutions where cost becomes a significant issue. As the organization and technologies evolve the business needs continue to grow; this challenges the solution scalability and adaptability over time. The process of making simple changes in any report becomes more expensive and time consuming. Many organizations are looking for alternative approaches to tap the right information at lower cost and with a more intuitive, easy-to-use tool, allowing users to slice and dice the data at the heart of their content. Leading companies are making the shift to self-service BI, both to empower workers and to ensure the smartest allocation of constrained IT resources. Drivers of Self-Service BI The business environment is changing at a rapid pace making it almost impossible for traditional business intelligence solutions to catch up with the speed of change. Executives are dreaming of an environment where the business users can select the BI components they need to assess the current BI situation and then make proper and meaningful decisions. With the ability to choose from the full range of data sets, users can create their own reports based on their individual needs. IT professionals are not able to satisfy the business users requirements fast enough and often take days to deliver a report. Added to this, enterprises are facing the challenge of managing an increasing number of disparate sources and incorporating countless data points into a report. With high levels of data management needed, decision makers often spend their time fixing inconsistent or inaccurate information. Most business users want quick access to data when and where they need it without any IT intervention, and they prefer access to any and all information as soon as it becomes available. With new pieces of information being presented, most of the traditional business intelligence tools fail to create adequate reporting that is comprehensive and detailed enough for the end user Ducen All rights reserved. 2

4 When delivery of BI reports is taking a significant amount of time, then the trust within the business community wanes. This resulting dismay only creates resentment from both IT and business users. In contrast, when the business community receives ready access to critical information, both groups benefit. Business users can pick their own information and modify reports accordingly. In addition, IT professionals can free up time for other strategic, revenue generating tasks. Challenges Silos of Information Drivers of Self-Service BI Changing Business Needs Analance Self- Service Reporting use Cost and more complex Lack of IT resources availability Inability to match the speed of business change consume manage Untimely access to information customize Difficult in working with unfriendly interfaces Dissatisfaction with the current BI approach Quick to deploy Schedule An overview of Analance Self-Service Capabilities Analance business intelligence platform is inherently a self-service environment, empowering the business community to gain answers to their critical business question quickly and easily. Analance helps business users explore the data within a user friendly interface and enables them to share insights across the organization. Analance self-service capabilities provide users with the ability to independently create analytics on their own with minimal IT intervention, minimizing the amount of backend maintenance and end user training Ducen All rights reserved. 3

5 To throw some light on the range of Self-Service capabilities available in Analance, here is list of the key components AdHoc Reporting Unified Advanced Analytics Real-Time Quick Data Modeling Exploration and Discovery Automates Business Logic Point and Click Interface Easy and Quick Access Automated Report and Dashboard Delivery Collaboration Tools Analance Adhoc Reporting enables business users to surface information and present it in multiple views, without the need for heavy IT programming support. With intuitive data mapping, data modelers can quickly create query models. An easy to use Adhoc Wizard gives users a step by step guide to intuitively work through report creation process: from choosing a data source and applying relationship to adding calculations, filters and formatting styles for a final report. Analance intuitive OLAP tools empower business users to investigate a wide range of data to explore and understand the hidden value within it. The software provides flexibility to make individual selections of the data and dimensions with respect to business user needs. With Analance OLAP reporting business users can generate tabular and graphical reports, conduct Pareto analysis and perform trend analysis to identify the heart of the business issues they face all without IT assistance. Analance Data Modeling provides an intuitive interface, helping users quickly create a logical query model and share it with the appropriate decision makers across the organization. In just few clicks, users can connect to data and create data models on the fly. Analance enables users to create virtual cubes (ROLAP) that can point anywhere to any of the data sources available. This significantly reduces the number of reports and data marts that need to be maintained and, therefore, lessens reliance on IT and improves productivity. All the required data residing in disparate data sources is virtually linked using Analance, providing multiple data points and drill anywhere features for more detailed and comprehensive decision making. Analance gives business users an option to easily create drill down and drill through reports with corresponding report parameters. This allows business users to create summary/ aggregate information for a better understanding of the presented information. For improving the overall profitability of the organization, business users need to measure business performance in order to identify the opportunities and issues within their business processes. Users can easily incorporate key metrics, customize key performance indicators (KPIs) and define their own calculated runtime measures to adhere to a report. All of these options are available on the fly using simple drop down menus or drag and drop features Ducen All rights reserved. 4

6 Analance Self Service BI technology enables user to combine data and create visually enriched dashboards and reports. With just few clicks the user can plot charts, gauges and maps, or change measures and dimensions without a hitch. With drill down and drill through capabilities users can explore the hidden value of data simply and effortlessly. Choosing the appropriate information for making meaningful decisions is key to good decision making for any organization. With Analance search capabilities users can access a full range of data at their fingertips to get exactly the data they need to answer their specific questions. It helps users navigate through the hierarchy of information available. Analance helps business users schedule, monitor and distribute reports on a recurring basis to track day-to-day business activities. It helps users set appropriate permissions and schedule reports at predefined intervals. Analance can deliver reports to the relevant stakeholders via providing easy to view reports that can be referenced for further data analysis. Sharing meaningful insights among different stakeholders helps to improve the overall business performance. With Analance easy to use interface, users can create, publish and make reports available to other users via collaboration or content management platforms like SharePoint for on-demand viewing. The information that can be viewed can also be controlled through the role based authentication (Access Control List) feature. Information can be saved or exported as a report using common Microsoft Office formats including Excel, PDF and Word. How Analance Self-Service reporting Benefits Customers? Analance Self-Service reporting helps business users gain easier access to the critical data they need to make more meaningful decisions. use wizards allow users to get up and running quickly with little or no training. With the intuitive drag and drop interface users can pull the required fields and build customized reports without the need for advanced programming or SQL skills. Since Analance Self-Service reporting provides users with an easier approach in creating reports, the access time to get required information is much less. In a business intelligence environment, one critical factor is having the ability to consume information from multiple sources and collaborate on that information with other key decision makers. Analance Self- Service reporting helps the data modelers create the centralized data models that are then accessible by a variety of users and user groups. The business users can then run adhoc queries and build their own reports without needing to know how to model the data that they use. Analance Self-Service reporting environment is scalable enough to handle the analytical workloads and data volumes of a large enterprise. Analance helps to reduce the time involved in aggregating data, which in turn enables them to deliver BI solutions to information workers faster. With the required data, they can create and deploy their own reports according to their own specific requirements and timelines. Analance self-service reporting helps user to customize the reports and view them in different dimensions if needed. Users may want to navigate the report by drilling down in predefined paths or apply multiple filter options. Analance Self-Service reporting also enables users to modify the data for further customization Ducen All rights reserved. 5

7 Analance Self-Service reporting enables users to easily schedule and deliver adhoc reports to multiple stakeholders and set them to run on recurring intervals like days, weeks or months. Analance Self-Service reporting can be deployed in weeks as it follows the phased, smooth and relatively quick deployment process. Self-service BI is also scalable enough for future requirements. As BI adoption increases, an organization can add additional server capability without disrupting information access or requiring significant IT resources. Conclusion Self-service is gaining its importance in most of the organizations today. The broad range of features in Analance Self- Service Reporting give users increased flexibility to adjust views and tailor reports to meet each user s particular needs and requirements. Using Analance Self-Service Reporting capabilities, end users now have the ability to surface information and present it in multiple views, without the need for heavy IT programming support. This helps to speed decision-making by the end user and deliver immediate benefits to the business. About Ducen Ducen is a technology consulting company specializing in advanced business intelligence, data integration, application development, collaboration, and performance optimization solutions. At Ducen, we solve our customer s most challenging IT problems by giving them the tools they need to tap into critical business data to improve the decision-making process. Our end-to-end IT solutions incorporate the latest technologies and techniques to help our clients achieve increased sales, higher margins and improved profitability. For more information or to speak with a Ducen Representative please or call DUCENIT Ducen All rights reserved. 6

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