Compressing Time To Benefit With Business Intelligence

If you go shopping for business intelligence (BI) solutions, you’ll quickly find that offerings fall into two categories: BI toolsets, and BI solutions. Toolsets give you everything you need to craft your own business intelligence functions from the ground up. This approach holds the promise of absolute relevance, as an organization can chart its own destiny based solely on its particular business requirements. But what the toolset can’t tell you is which elements of your business to track, what measurements to focus on and how these metrics should be derived. There is a critical planning and requirements phase necessary to analyze each and every field in your set of available data, and to figure out precisely how to use these to maximum effect, creating a vehicle for business process improvement that will boost the performance of a wide variety of departments and disciplines within a given enterprise.

Even though implementations of this type can take months, or even years, businesses the world over continue to undertake these mammoth projects because the advantage offered by business intelligence outweighs their significant investment of time and resources. There are businesses, however, sometimes whole industries, that lack the appetite for activities that are not directly revenue generating. A perfect example of this is the mortgage industry. A mortgage company can scarcely stomach the time and energy required to migrate to a different loan origination system, let alone sideline the necessary personnel long enough to build out a business intelligence platform, no matter what the end result might look like.

These types of entities, for whom time to benefit is of supreme importance, generally seek out business intelligence solutions. A BI solution comes with predefined key performance indicators, along with prebuilt scorecards, dashboards, reports, and more. Not all BI providers offer solutions. It’s a radically different approach than BI toolset providers take, and it involves making an array of configuration decisions on behalf of the potential user base. BI providers that offer solutions generally have deep knowledge of a particular industry or operation, without which they couldn’t possibly offer prebuilt BI solutions that have any degree of utility.

When you think about it, BI solutions actually offer the best of both worlds. On the one hand, a prebuilt solution may not be 100% relevant and usable out of the box, but the better ones get users at least 80-90% of the way there. It’s a giant step forward, and the remaining 10-20% can be accounted for by making adjustments to the solution. And let’s not forget that a BI solution must reside on a BI toolset, so even those who license solutions have a fully functioning BI toolset at their disposal that can not only tweak the prebuilt solution, but can also be used to build new BI functionality from scratch, if desired. If you can find a BI solutions provider with proven industry knowledge and a comprehensive library of solutions, you’ve found the best possible way to realize your business intelligence goals.

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