Know how 26 May 2021

Business Intelligence: the right choice at the right time

Portrait collaborateur
par Benjamin
Business Analyst

At the pinnacle of digital transformation, Business Intelligence (BI) solutions are the most valuable tool available to business managers: capable of both flagging opportunities and revealing risks, thus enabling anticipation and/or course correction. Far from the simple notion of "reporting", BI tools have changed the way value chains are designed and connected, providing formidable competitive advantages to companies capable of exploiting their possibilities and developing an analytical culture.

In a market, that of Business Intelligence, where yesterday’s certainties are no longer valid today, the selection and adoption criteria cannot randomly depend on practices inherited from the past without compromising a company’s overall performance.

In France, by default and since the emergence of BI, the choice of which BI solutions to adopt has been left up to IT managers or, in some cases, to IT buyers whose main, or even sole, selection criterion has been and remains the nominal price of volume licenses. However, given that the impact of a BI solution goes far beyond IT issues and on the contrary goes right to the heart of the business lines, this approach poses real problems.

Business lines are becoming increasingly aware of this and are taking on the selection task themselves, for which they are ultimately the end users. Their selection criteria are often broader: previous experience, hearsay, the successful marketing buzz of a publisher. In the best case, they are guided by experts. However, a costed analysis, which takes into account all the factors related to the total cost of ownership (TCO), is rarely carried out beforehand. As a result, the efforts and resources invested will not generate all the possibilities expected from BI, thus depriving companies of a key structuring factor for their competitiveness.

Business Intelligence solutions: zero ROI

One of the results of poorly calibrated choices is often the lack of enthusiasm among end users to adopt the new tools deployed: thus, they shun latest generation BI solutions, preferring to keep on using the “good old tools”, which wastes time and limits analysis.

One cause is the failure to observe the specific learning curves of BI solutions when choosing them and, as a result, the lack of allocation of resources to the adoption process (internal marketing/training). This results in literally no return on investment (ROI) and, worse still, a delay in the adoption of a must-have analytical culture.

“Time is money” and more

In no other type of project is the role of time as crucial as with the deployment of BI solutions. This is because risks that are not identified as early as possible can only get worse and undetected opportunities can be lost.

For example, failure to identify a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) deviation early on can be calamitous if it makes the news, especially for the brand image and the always possible unfavourable stock market repercussions that may result.

Yet monitoring compliance with CSR rules is very simple to achieve with the help of a correctly used BI solution, capable of enabling decision-makers to identify any deviation in real time, because as we know all processes generate information over time, and the only challenge is to know how to make it visible.

Accordingly, one of the most important criteria when choosing a BI solution should be the timeframe, which can and should be part of a comprehensive TCO analysis to be considered upstream. In particular, there are two key aspects: time to market and learning and adoption curves, two factors that are rarely taken into account during the selection process.

First, this is because starting from the same functional specifications, the number of man-hours required to realise and implement solutions varies considerably. For example, some will entail the use of proprietary languages, which means calling upon the services of dedicated programmers whose rates and availability in the market are proportional to their specialization, while other more intuitive solutions will become operational as soon as they are installed.

Second, the time needed to train end users and learning curves are never identical from one tool to another.

This is not to mention the differences in the architecture of the solutions themselves in terms of integration, deployment, distribution and security models, etc.

The mere nominal prices of licenses do not therefore reveal the real costs of implementation or the risks and benefits of each solution. For example, an excellent study published this year by the International Institute of IT Economics (IIIE) in the United States showed that 85% of the costs associated with implementing a BI solution were labour costs.

Only an analysis of the total value and cost of ownership and the relevance of the chosen solution to each context, mutatis mutandi, can guarantee that what is invested turns into genuine business value.

Seequalis informs and guides your choice on business intelligence and BI solutions

With experience in a wide range of contexts, Seequalis supports you BEFORE the implementation of solutions, DURING their deployment and AFTER their implementation. We are proud of our roots in technical knowledge, integration, support and training, which are so important in any success story.

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