Category Archives: BI Strategy

Why you need to get your measures right to get a handle on business performance

ReceivablesSuccessful business intelligence (BI) projects are those that start by defining the business problem they are trying to solve or goal they want to achieve (e.g. we want to increase sales by 10% this fiscal year).

Out of this you will then look at the business questions you need to answer to support your objective (e.g. how are sales performing across different territories?). From this will flow the numbers you need to see to answer these questions (e.g. booked revenue, number of sales, forecast revenue, etc).

Anything you decide to measure should be actionable. When you define actionable measures, this often leads you to track measures that are expressed as ratios or percentages, where it is easier to see any changes (e.g. average order value, return on investment, inventory turns, revenue per head, etc).

When you get your measures right, you will see that they don’t work in isolation. In fact, it is the combination of your measures working together that gives you the big picture view of how well your business or business area is performing.

For example:

Consider an organization with a focus on cash flow. Two of its measures are Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) and Average Order Value.

Their target is to keep DSO under 45 days. Any increase in this figure is bad and requires action.

They also want to keep their average order value in the range of $26,500 to $27,500. Any deviation above or below this range requires investigation.

Let’s say DSO creeps up towards 60 days, so they need to take action. However, to guide their action, they first need some additional information.

Have they taken 1-2 large orders, where slow payment has skewed their DSO measure? This could be identified by an increase in their Average Order Value.

In this case the next step may be to pull up a list of outstanding invoices by value ready to escalate to the sales team and have them call the customers in question to ensure prompt payment.

However, if Average Order Value decreased, then this could indicate that they have processed more transactions – perhaps in response to a successful marketing promotion aimed at increasing market share.

In this case, the next step could be to look at the headcount in their accounts receivable team and their productivity per head. The action could be to take on some temporary agency staff to increase capacity in the team and speed up the collection of outstanding payments.

Accounts Receivables Dashboard - created with DecisionPoint

Take a look at this example interactive, Accounts Receivables dashboard (created with DecisionPoint™) which shows one way how this information could be presented to the finance team to track aged debt and keep on top of late payments.

How dynamic labels and titles provide context to analytics to aid understanding

Business man with smartphone and tabletThis is the fifth article in our series looking at the key requirements of a modern information delivery platform. In earlier articles, we discussed why time to value and ease of use are critical to ensuring the effective use and dissemination of information within our organizations.

In this article, we explore how adding dynamic titles and labels into an interactive dashboard or information application can provide business users with more context around the information they are viewing, which aids understanding. This leads to increased user adoption and ensures that more people have the information they need to do their jobs.

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How to create app-like BI interfaces that ensure widespread user adoption

KPI dashboardPreviously, in this key requirements of a modern information delivery platform blog series we’ve discussed:

In the fourth article in this series, we look at how delivering application-like interfaces that match the way business users think, both makes it easier for people to get answers to their questions and ensures higher user adoption rates.

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Why the best interactive dashboards enable you to view information from different angles

DecisionPoint DashboardThis is the third article in our series which suggests some of the capabilities you should look for in a modern information delivery platform.

Previously, we discussed why a modern information delivery platform should enable non-programmers to create interactive dashboards and information applications and how business users should be able to pick them up and use them without training.

However, even though interactive dashboards and information applications should be easy to create and easy to use they still need to provide the flexibility to answer multiple business questions without business users being forced to go back to head office or the IT team.
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Antivia listed as Modern BI Platform vendor in Gartner 2016 Magic Quadrant report

DecisionPoint dashboardWe’re delighted that Antivia was listed as a Modern Business Intelligence (BI) Platform vendor in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms 2016, published last week.

In its Technology Insight for Modern Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms research article, Gartner highlighted that speed and agility are a key requirement of the modern BI platform to support the rapid pace of change facing today’s organizations.

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Enable non-programmers to create the information apps business people need

In our last article we looked at why organizations need strong information delivery capabilities in addition to analysis as part of a well-rounded, modern BI portfolio to help them become truly data-driven.

Here, we look at the first of the capabilities that we believe you should look for in a modern information delivery platform.

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The emergence of the modern information delivery platform

Information deliveryA recent Gartner report: “Predicts 2016: Changes Coming in How We Buy Business Analytics Technology” refreshingly acknowledged the emergence of a number of BI and analytics platforms that are more focused on information delivery than analysis, which demonstrates market momentum towards including information delivery alongside analysis within the modern BI portfolio.

This trend will come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog, as at Antivia we’ve been pushing the cause of the regular business user, the end consumer of information delivery, for many years. Lack of focus on what regular business users need is one of the reasons we believe that BI adoption rates have been stuck stubbornly around 20% for the past decade.

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How to create business insights from your data on a limited budget

Data jumbleIf your company has data stored in ERP, CRM, accounting, manufacturing, logistics, inventory, you-name-it systems, but you are struggling to derive value from this data, then you’re not alone.

Perhaps you are a small company that doesn’t have the skills in-house to transform this data into useful information and can’t afford to pay expensive third party resources to do the work for you. Or perhaps you work at a larger organization where it takes too long for your IT team to respond to your requirements.

However, the good news is if you are able to export the data from your business system into an Excel spreadsheet or a CSV (comma separated values) file, you’re well on your way to being able to deliver business insights to your whole organization – without breaking the bank.

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How usage auditing enables you to maximize your BI investment

Deliver information to everyone in your businessTo realize the value from the vast amounts of data our organizations capture, we need to transform it into useful information and then deliver it to our front-line workers so they can answer the questions that matter most to them.

But when you are delivering information to such a wide and potentially geographically dispersed audience, how do you know if people are taking advantage of the information to make better-informed decisions?

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Are you missing most of the value of your Big Data?

Big DataIf there is a data lake in your organization, what percentage of your organization see data from it on a daily basis?

I suspect the answer in most organizations, even the most Big Data savvy ones, is very low – possibly much lower than 10%.

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