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Best Business Intelligence (BI) Practices to Transform Your Data into Information

Table of Contents

----------------------------------------------------------------- 3 Introduction ------------------------------------------------------------- 4 Methodologies ----------------------------------------------------------- 4 Data Collection ---------------------------------------------------------- 4 Information -------------------------------------------------------------- 5 Vision ------------------------------------------------------------------- 5 The BI Pyramid ---------------------------------------------------------- 6 Organization Readiness ------------------------------------------------- 7 Architecture ------------------------------------------------------------- 7 Process ----------------------------------------------------------------- 7 Alignment --------------------------------------------------------------- 7 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) -------------------------------------- 8 Best BI Practices -------------------------------------------------------- 8 Choosing Right Partner -------------------------------------------------- 9 Case Study BI for Sales Analysis & Reporting ----------------------- 9 Client Background ------------------------------------------------------ 9 Business Requirement -------------------------------------------------- 9 Solutions ---------------------------------------------------------------- 10 Benefits ---------------------------------------------------------------- 11 Conclusion --------------------------------------------------------------- 11

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Organizations have implemented enterprise applications such as ERP and CRM for business process execution but have failed to address the key enterprise asset: data. In the current economic environment, enterprises that fail to capitalize on their data assets jeopardize their cost structures and their earnings potential. It is vital for organizations to leverage their data assets to measure their business performance, identify the weak poles and strategic improvement spots to scale their business to new heights. Business Intelligence (BI), the recent innovation in IT, has emerged to be a potential hope for the organizations to build a strong business milieu without any new asset investments and utilizing the existing key assets of the organizations.

This White Paper describes the best BI practices to be adopted in leveraging the organizations key assets for a dynamic business transformation.

Over the years, companies have acquired volumes of data, but much of this data is trapped in multiple, disparate systems which cannot easily communicate. As a result, firms must expend considerable effort to tap into the full potential of these data assets to strategically maneuver the business in a rapidly changing and competitive marketplace. The latest evolution in IT is Business Intelligence (BI), which promises to help businesses better tap into and leverage their data assets. Business Intelligence provides the mechanism for people in organizations to examine historical trends, to measure results, to look for patterns in the data that might be missed in standardized reports and event to bubble alerts when certain conditions are or arent met.

Business intelligence expands across a breadth of methodologies and tools in various categories. The methodology and tools are not nearly as important as the vision and execution of a business intelligence strategy for the enterprise. However, to organize thought around what comprises business intelligence is categorized into Data Collection (the gathering of data), Information (transformation of data to understand its meaning), and Vision (the capacity, governance, and process to do something with the information). These examples are not by any means all encompassing, but are provided to demonstrate BIs scope.

Data Collection

Executive Information Systems Enterprise Management Systems Management Information Systems Portals Dashboards Score carding Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) Multidimensional Analysis Analytics 4

Data Warehousing Document Warehousing/Management Supply Chain Management/Demand Chain Management Web Personalization and Web Mining Text Mining Service Monitoring Service Mining Configuration Management

Metrics Business Activity Monitoring Business Performance Measurement Finance and Budgeting Mapping Business Alignment Business Performance Management Business Planning Business Process Re-engineering Competitive Analysis and Competitive Landscape External Knowledge Customer Knowledge Customer Loyalty Customer Relationship Management Data Farming Geographic Information Systems

Real-Time Business Intelligence User/End-User Query and Reporting Associative Query Logic Web Personalization and Web Mining 5

Text Mining Information Visualization Customer Relationship Management Data Mining Data Framing Decision Support and Forecasting Human Resources Knowledge Management Statistics and Technical

The BI Pyramid

Business Intelligence can be best approached through strategic & intellectual technical BI pyramid that consists of the following five steps:

Organization Readiness

The foundation of a solid business intelligence initiative begins with executive sponsorship which is committed to the BI strategy and implementation. It includes organizational willingness and an assessment of the organizations readiness. All three of these elements are essential for a strong foundation to support a successful BI initiative.

The next level in the pyramid is the architecture integration, data governance and data. At this stage,

I. Examine and integrate the organizations IT architecture to facilitate the sharing of data among systems II. Examine the data and initiate data governance program to direct the use of and access to data and to verify its accuracy, consistency and reliability.

Develop processes and methodologies to govern the organizations on-going business intelligence efforts. These processes has to ensure a consistent approach to BI as new IT systems are integrated and new team members join the organization. As the BI efforts grow, identify BI expertise with competent skills to occupy permanent BI position(s) which is mandate for BI rollouts across the organization.

As the organization delves deeper into the BI effort (and note that this is an iterative process), IT resources will become more aligned with business objectives. In addition, financial information will be integrated and easily accessible to authorized personnel. This integration provides informationas opposed to data that supports decisions and guides actions to drive your organization to greater competitiveness, flexibility, and profitability.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Key performance indicators (KPIs) provide the right metrics for business performance management. They tell you how well you are doing, and where you can improve. A Harvard Business Review article reports that only 23% of Fortune 1000 companies have KPIs that are accurately tied to business strategy and financial results. This group earned almost 3% higher return on assets and more than 5% higher return on equity than the companies with inaccurately correlated metrics and strategy. KPIs can help you evaluate your organizations BI readiness by illustrating the relationships, business activities, operational performance and financial results. Its important that you monitor the best KPIs for your organization, as only the right business metrics will enable execution of a BI strategy and transformation of data into information, leading toward greater strategic vision.

Best BI Practices
Assess and know the state of your companys business intelligence strategy, maturity and evolution, at all times Establish robust KPI as the framework to your BI strategy As data quality is the vital base, adopt best data governance so as to comply source, accuracy, quality and speed of availability Use KPIs to tightly intertwine and align business and technology for your BI strategy Do not fret over ROI for BIall KPI metrics, when used collectively, are leading indicators of financial performance No more than six KPIs (plus or minus a few) are to be used at any given organizational level. The metrics should roll up from level to level and result in six enterprise-wide metrics Derive BI process framework from KPIs for implementing and managing BI processes with your teams across the enterprise Use dynamic architecture to support and make BI strategy flexible, enable data governance, transform data into information and provide real-time access to information Continuously monitor your BI initiative to ensure that objectives are being met. The BI strategy will evolve and develop over time as your strategies and initiatives mature Focus on data structures that are easily adaptable to the changing business landscape

Choosing Right Partner

The most important to make your BI initiative success is in evaluating and choosing your right business partner. BI initiatives are vastly different from many past IT initiatives in which outside services have been retained. So its important to consider proven capability, reputation and track record of success more than just cost and/or staff augmentation abilities, when evaluating a partner. It is recommended to hire an advisor to identify a partner who can understand and align with your strategy, take a business-driven approach and support the execution of specific initiatives to meet your business vision. With implementing your business intelligence strategy, youll be able to use all of the information at your fingertips to monitor performance, track the marketplace, adjust business direction and plan for future changes. In short, BI will help you achieve and even exceed your goals to break away from the competition.

Case Study BI for Sales Analysis & Reporting

Client Background

The client is involved in developing and manufacturing performance materials for industry. These materials are used and available in over 100 countries to produce high performing environmental friendly products. The clients customers include the leading manufacturers in their respective industries.

Business Requirement

The client required an efficient analytic tool to Perform detailed analytical view on the performance of the organization from the year 1999 to till date Perform Cleansing and mining of data captured with different database resources at different locations Create dashboards, performance charts and analysis charts Generate intelligence and analysis report to meet and help achieve business goals of Top Management Accounts Department Managers Delivery Department Sales Representatives 9


The data were fetched from various sources such as dbase III plus, Oracle and SQL, cleansed and integrated using SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) to create the relational data warehouse. The data cleaning included record matching, reduplication and column segmentation using horizontal platform of SSIS and the processes:

Schema extraction and translation Schema matching and integration Schema implementation

The advantage of using SSIS is that it includes a new pipeline architecture that allows data to be retrieved from various sources, manipulated in memory and stored in the destination database without being written to disk in intermediate locations that has reasonable performance benefits. The manipulations that can be performed in the pipeline include data validation, surrogate key lookups, derivation of new columns, aggregation, sorting and more. The relation engine of SQL Server 2005 provides benefit of storing long-term information that can be used for other reporting and analysis requirements. Various report formats such as XLS and PDF were used.

The solution was built on to support large volume of data and dynamic business rules and included batch window processing for daily incremental processing and monthly restatements.

The BI Best practices were adopted to create BI applications using Microsoft SQL Server 2005. The client (sample data) was used and replicated the issues faced by the client during deployment. Some of them were:

Relational and analytical service schemas Implementation of a data extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) process Design and deployment of client front-end systems which also includes reporting services and interactive analysis

System management and maintenance on an ongoing basis including bulk incremental updates on data cube


Data into information leveraged for crucial decision making related to business growth Reports on organizational, sales performance and growth forecast for the requested time period Capitalizing existing assets for future developments Analytical reports on individual/unit/department-wise accomplishments, high and low performers, market trends, customer buying preference and more

Enterprises need to clearly determine the key factors and criteria that are important toward managing, measuring and controlling the total cost of business intelligence technology implementations and deployments. With ZSL, we assure you with the unique BI Advantage that comes with wide deployment of the most comprehensive set of features, functionality and flexibility integrated as one cost-effective solution for every level of user within the company. Our BI solutions assures you a proven, scalable architecture to meet your demands of increasing data volumes and applications, user base and user needs and seamlessly integrating applications within enterprises on a single unified platform aiding interpretation and decision-making to achieve your business goals. High performance analysis, reporting and business intelligence capabilities promises quickest returns on your BI investment. ZSLs comprehensive BI solution is faster to implement at a much lower cost than is possible with traditional BI systems making it a good choice for organizations leveraging BI for effective business results and success.