The 4 Key Requirements for Business Intelligence Reporting

September 26, 2012

A recent white paper published by Birst, Inc., a San Francisco based provider of “agile business analytics” software and solutions, points up the four ‘foundational requirements’ of a business intelligence (commonly called “BI”) solution.  They remind us that our ERP systems are merely a tool, a means to an end, and that end is to extract intelligent information from the underlyingdata in order to improve our business management decisions.

The article, available here (you’ll have to provide contact info first) points to four key capabilities (along with our own commentary about them):

1.) Historical analysis and reporting.  You want information not just on your business performance, but on the key drivers of that performance as well.  You need to know not just your results, but your influencers.  This usually involves mapping and understanding data over a long time frame, measured often in years.  That’s a lot of data.

2.) Forecasting and future projection.  Collecting and understanding your data is one side of the task.  Projecting into the future is the other.  So for example, once you know something about the progress and flow of past sales deals, the size of your pipeline, the length to close… you’re more able to project the progress of future deals.  The goal is to align your resources with your forecast for maximum efficiency.

3.) Ability to integrate information from multiple business functions.  Integrating the data you need to make better decisions may require multiple data sources.  Obviously, this burden is minimized if you’re operating under, more or less, a single (or limited) silo of information.  This is where an integrated ERP solution starts to really shine.  Often the data there, give or take the contents of a couple of spreadsheets, is more than enough to provide meaningful insight.

4.) Easily explored reporting and analysis.  Decision makers need to understand the big picture.  Sometimes, they need a good bit of detail to be able to do so.  This speaks to the need for explorable reports, drill down capabilities, ad hoc queries and business dashboards.  Flexibility and robustness, without being overly complex, are helpful.  Today we find the better ERP systems can provide much of this.  More sophisticated BI solutions will boost your reporting capabilities significantly, a feature most appreciated in larger, more diverse organizations.

A solution that provides the above foundation, whether it’s part of an ERP system or an add-in, ensures you’ll have the right analytical tool when it comes time to convert hard data into meaningful information that can inform better decision making.

Ironically Bi24 provides all these elements and much more


SEARCHING: Range Searches

September 24, 2012

Range searches allow you to match documents whose field(s) values are between the lower and upper value specified by the range search. Range searches can be inclusive or exclusive of the upper and lower bounds. Sorting is done alphabetically.

Using square brackets performs inclusive range searches:

This will find documents whose “Branch Name” field has values between “Bristol” and “Chester” inclusive.

Using curly brackets performs exclusive range searches:

This will find all documents whose “description” fields have values between “Bristol” and “Chester”, but not including “Bristol” and “Chester”.


Can you predict your business future….

May 30, 2012

Turning data into actionable information is challenging. Your company has different departments with different needs therefore requiring different reports, from different, and often multiple, data sources.  Decisions need to be made quickly; therefore, lengthy waits are unacceptable.

Your business information should be transparent and predictable. It is essential for organisations to understand the steps involved in reaching predictability.

Steps to predictability

So what step are you on? What do you need to move up to the next step?

Having the right tools to understand your business can save resources, time and money. You can empower users with self-service access to the latest data they need. These tools can be used to create trends and perform ‘what if’ analysis allowing your company to be proactive rather than reactive.


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