Refining business processes, gaining new clients, creating new products and services, reducing costs and increasing workers’ productivity – these are the top five business goals of modern companies according to research carried out by independent company Gartner in 2008. It also happens that the same companies surveyed by Gartner about their IT solution investment plans declare a growing interest in Business Intelligence solutions. This comes as no surprise, since it is reports, applications and analyses, available with help of BI, that are the answer to particular needs of companies. The question could be asked, however, about how to make the most of BI and fulfill these needs.

 

Measurable benefits

Research conducted by IDC, an analytics company, reveals that the average return on investment for Business Intelligence among American and European companies amounts to 112%. The improved quality of business processes accounts for 54% of the return on investment, the increase in productivity accounts for a further 42% and the remaining 4% is the result of cost reduction. It is important to mention that, the broader and more complete the implementation of BI solutions, the faster and greater the return on investment.

SAP Business Intelligence solutions may serve as a source of information about any functional part of a company. These solutions enable data coming from various systems to be integrated, and allow for generating cross-sectional analyses, detailed and dynamic reports, as well as simulating possible economic events. This type of tool may significantly increase the quality of any employee’s work – from top executives to rank and file workers realizing the company’s strategy at an operational level.

SAP Business Intelligence solutions not only give a full view of a company’s operations, but they also allow us to better analyze, forecast and understand its overall position. This is mainly due to the applications and reports which help transform data into useful information provided at the right time, in the right place and to the individual who needs it most.

 

Reliability of information

According to 2009 research conducted among large and medium-sized companies by Business Week Study, nearly half (43%) of the surveyed companies are not confident about the reliability of information they base their decisions on. 77% of them, in turn, are aware of the fact that they may make wrong decisions due to lack of information. Erroneous or uncertain decisions may result from the following challenges:

– Difficulties with identifying trends based on a long list of data for analysis

– Problems with combining data located in various documents and forms

– Delays in adjusting a company to changing market environments

– The inability to deliver reliable analyses on time, which would make it possible to examine effectiveness and identify sources of ineffectiveness.

“Our clients often point to these factors as major challenges and obstacles on their way to more effective operation. On the other hand, companies are not able to face these challenges on their own because of the lack of proper tools. Business Intelligence solutions enable them to successfully cope with such challenges,” explains Andrzej Dąbrowski, SAP Business Intelligence Implementation Specialist at Hicron. “First of all, BI offers a thorough insight into a company’s operation and allows for the monitoring of progress, identification of trends and offers help in setting clearly attainable goals, and in identifying sources of potential profits. All of these factors facilitate adjustment to market conditions and help identify and take advantage of favorable circumstances”.

 

Why having is not enough…

Business Intelligence, while providing reliable information about the overall activity of a company, can be used effectively as a tool that supports making strategic decisions. That is why until recently BI was thought to be dedicated for top management only. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The broad availability of Business Intelligence solutions in an organization means much more than just mere cross-sectional result reports that one submits to their supervisors. Business Intelligence can be considered to be effective when it is used by middle-level employees and business partners alike (clients, suppliers, shareholders), when it is used in marketing, HR, administration etc., when data verification and updates are carried out in real time, and when employees find it crucial to analyse gathered data in order to use it during a decision making process.

“The total control of a company’s operations, results and information analysis, as well as historical data, apply not only to a company’s core business. In order to guarantee the correctness of decisions, we recommend that companies implement Business Intelligence not only in finance, sales and production, but also in logistics, HR and marketing,” says Andrzej Dąbrowski.

The multidisciplinary application of Business Intelligence allows for the greatest amount of benefits from its implementation. The answer to the question on how to apply BI in order to fulfill the company’s needs is this: broadly.