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Consulting for Putting the "I" Back in BI

by Eugene Asahara
Created: May 5, 2009; Last Update: July 18, 2009

Overview

Information Technology created a competitive climate that is sophisticated, fast-paced, dynamic, and complex. Today, information is so ubiquitous and free that the key to success is to stay a mile ahead of everyone else. Staying a mile ahead requires a superior and constantly evolving intellect. For businesses, BI is the intelligence of business.

Gone are the days where trade secrets alone can protect an enterprise from competitors. Everyone can see what everyone else is doing and everyone takes actions on the same information. Thus, entrepreneurial advantages have a limited shelf life thus requiring competitive organizations into a constant state of innovation. A sampling of how IT forces businesses into a constant state of innovation include:

Success and longevity for an enterprise requires looking at BI as the permanent business process of improving the intelligence of a business through the pragmatic application of cutting-edge IT techniques. BI must be considered an ongoing fundamentally strategic business process that let's you see what others cannot yet see and to adjust to changing conditions as nimbly as possibile. Thinking of a human being, it isn't the fastest, nimble, or strongest creature that will dominate, but the most intelligent. I like to say that today's cutting-edge Business Intelligence is also today's primitive, pragmatic Artificial Intelligence.

The effective implementation of such compelling Business Intelligence involves a broad and deep domain of knowledge. To extract the greatest value out of your BI efforts requires the guidance of BI practitioners skilled in a wide array of subjects including:

Whether your BI efforts are just beginning or it is mature, but seems a little underwhelming as not much more than "glorified reporting", I can guide an organization through building a pragmatic roadmap towards compelling BI and implement it. My BI services range from conventional enterprise-class BI architecture, training and implementation (ETL, DW, OLAP, performance tuning, and BPM) to cutting-edge BI involving predictive analytics and a few applications of my own - which include the Rule-Integration concepts implemented with SCL.

Following are summaries of how I can help companies and organizations improve the intelligence of their BI implementations.

BI Consulting for Independent Software Vendors

The requirements for independent software vendors (ISV) are in some big ways more difficult than for an IT department. ISVs compete against other ISVs in the same market, whereas IT departments do not really compete with other IT departments; rather, IT departments support an enterprise. This element of competition for ISVs means they must differentiate themselves from their competitors by offering something novel. Novelty is usually far down the list of interests for IT departments, behind such goals meeting the terms of their SLA (Service Level Agreement) such as downtime and performance.

Another difficulty a BI consultant encounters with ISVs is their desire to write a single code-base that satisfies the needs of hundreds or even thousands of the ISV's customers. Although the business processes of organizations in a vertical market addressed by the ISV share much in common, there are always differences. These differences could be due to engrained culture or are strategic differentiators. Either way, an ISV's software must be at least somewhat extensible, capable of molding to a customer than the other way around.

A consultant capable of guiding an ISV towards the development of a BI application must be one with a solid history of hands-on developer experience as well as years of seasoning implementing BI systems. My qualifications for addressing the tough but so compelling requirements of ISVs include:

Non BI-focused ISVs

No matter what happens with the economy, the certainty is that software applications will become smarter and smarter. "Smarter" means that the operational software application (ex: CRM, SCM, point of sale, etc) applications can begin providing "best guesses". "Best guesses" are a crucial notion that is typically missing in software developed to automate processes.

The techniques providing these best guesses have their roots in BI that has been incubating as a rather niche technology for the past 15 years or so. I discuss these notions in my article, The Socialization of Business Intelligence.

Non BI-focused software vendors are wise to include Business Intelligence of some form in their products. Such BI features adds significant value by helping customers better utilize your software through a better understanding of how to extract maximum value.

A growing and very compelling reason for non-BI-focused software vendors to look into BI is the growing implementation of BI into operational applications. This results in widely embedded BI.

BI-focused ISVs, But New to the Microsoft BI Stack

The Microsoft BI Stack is the fastest growing BI platform. BI Software vendors who are new to the Microsoft BI stack would benefit from my years of experience implmenting large and complex BI systems.

BI Consulting for IT Departments

IT departments of organizations are called upon to put data to work towards the goal of improving the decision quality for an organization. This means integrating data from an array of operational software applications throughout the enterprise into a central repository. From this repository, decision makers are able to make decisions based on an all-encompassing view. This is exactly analogous to how our brains integrate data from all our senses for an all-emcompassing view of what's going on around us.

 

Please email Eugene Asahara at eugene@softcodedlogic.com to discuss any of the offerings mentioned on this site.