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Is Business Intelligence for Everyone?

Date posted: December 17, 2015

In a white paper titled, Two Types of Business Intelligence, Sage ERP asks, “What kind of information does an organization’s employees need in order to perform their jobs to the best of their ability?”

“Generally speaking,” says the white paper’s writer Don Farber, Cofounder, Vineyard Corporation, “executives and managers are looking to gather strategic information, analyze it, temper it with their own knowledge, and then make what are often wide-reaching decisions. Nonmanagerial staff, on the other hand, most benefit from task-specific information, details that will help them perform individual business operations in the most efficient manner possible. Two different groups, two different types of information. Both groups in need of business intelligence.”

So, according to the white paper, why is it that over 65 % of all organizations implemented only strategic business intelligence solutions, effectively helping their executives and managers but leaving everyone else out in the cold? Farber’s answer:

There’s no question that there are some software solutions that should be restricted to a small group of users within an organization. Considerations such as access to sensitive information, required technical expertise, and departmental responsibilities are all valid points when debating “who gets their hands on what.” But sometimes we let the form of a technology erroneously restrict our vision of who could benefit from that technology. And that’s what happened with business intelligence software. Ideal for big-picture analysis and for identifying corporate strategies, the form of traditional BI software—its interactive nature, its graphic display, its slice-and-dice capabilities—convinces organizations that it’s applicable solely to their managers and executives. And yet the overriding purpose of BI software—the delivery of relevant information to people so that they may make better business decisions—in no way should exclude nonmanagerial staff. If relevant information can help an executive better reach a strategic decision, it stands to reason that comparable information can help a staff member better execute operational tasks.

The conclusion Farber reaches is that all parts of an organization can benefit from business intelligence. The type of information required by various staff members will differ. So, too, will the manner in which the information is conveyed. But if one of the keys to remaining competitive in today’s markets is to enable an organization to make better and faster business decisions, those decisions need to be made by everyone within that organization.

Business intelligence for everyone.