“Business Intelligence has over the years been the domain of IT as the historical owners of the ERP and other systems but this”, says Adriaan Rossouw, Softworx Sales / Account Management, “is no longer so. Business now drives the demand for BI.”
BI came into focus in the late 1980’s as an umbrella term for making better business decisions using a fact based support system.
With the increase in volatility and complexity in the business environment and revenue under threat, the growth and pace of change requires real time information, which is where BI plays a vital role.
Emphasis on revenue growth is also stressed by Rossouw as the main change in focus of BI from that of cost containment. He also adds that “If BI is not implemented timorously this can seriously hamper the ability to grow due to the inability to maintain an integrated view of what is happening in the company as well as its trading environment.”
“BI has its challenges though,” say Rossouw but is confident of solutions. Integration across an average of ten systems for a complete picture is one. He says “BI cuts down on the time spent by professionals gathering and collating data allowing more opportunity for analysis and forward looking activities.”
The lack in, mostly mid-sized companies, of budget, time and experience can lead to eventual loss of revenue if BI is put on the backburner. Again, timorously implemented BI can avert crisis and loss within companies.
Rossouw believes the success in a BI implementation rests on quick and easy deployment and the use of fast start templates. “there is the ability to do waves of improvement rather than one big solution,” he adds.
Ease of use via common productivity tools such as Excel, Web and Outlook for delivery of information means no re-training for end users. The clincher for BI is that of ease of ongoing maintenance thereby preventing BI from becoming outdated and useless as a business tool.
So with the increase in the amount of people requiring access to information from wider and deeper into the organisation on a day to day basis Rossouw concludes: “It is no longer sufficient to statistically measure historical performance, companies must proactively and continually manage and this is the way of BI.”