When Is the Right Time for Analysis?
Effective and efficient information sharing creates business value. That means collaboration is key to your BI approach and deployment. Collaboration throughout your entire business ecosystem allows everyone to bring their individual expertise to the table but still work collectively to solve the same business problem efficiently. So human intelligence becomes collective intelligence that we can use to make better business decisions. This begins to empower organic intelligence, which means that the workers within your business ecosystem start to address problems before they actually become problems.
Collective intelligence is much more valuable to a company than any individual person’s intelligence.
That’s because very few decisions are made independently within a company. The bigger the decision, the more people involved. Even though we’ve eliminated silos of data with servers and software, most companies are still working in silos. These silos of workers are working independently of each other – but it’s the collaboration among these groups – and with the data – that really needs to occur to make optimal business decisions.
Imagine how much more efficiently your business would run if you and your employees could access information faster. That’s where the “when” comes in: When do the various people and their departments need to receive the information to make effective business decisions based on your data?
The individual who needs on-demand reports is that person who needs an immediate answer to something that comes out of the blue. Does that sofa come in any other color? How many do we have in the store? How many unique visits did I have on my website today? You can run a simple report and find out the answers to all these questions, and then go on about your day. Problem solved. No need to run the report for that information ever again unless the same question comes up. This is a one-off, non-collaborative scenario, which is what makes it less mature in terms of BI.
Team/Group (Ad Hoc)
But there are reports that you need over and over again. For instance, the sales team may run the same report twice a week or twice a month – or both – to assess the pipeline. They’re doing this on an ad-hoc basis, but they’re talking about it as a team. This is a report that they all use and its parameters have been defined by that team to help them do their jobs more efficiently.
Scheduled E-mail represents a kind of mid-point of maturity. This method is more mature because we’re talking about scheduling a report to go out on a regular basis, regardless of the complexity. For instance, I know that every Friday I want to see a certain set of numbers to and know what my weekly catch looks like. You can automate this report with custom criteria and email it to everybody on a certain schedule. The defined question could be: How did we do with certain store sales over the weekend? On Monday, we run a report based on the Sunday aggregation that tells us how it breaks down by store, by salesperson, by region – or whatever criteria we’ve established.
Alerts (Events Driven)
Alerts, by definition, are more mature than Scheduled E-mail, thus ever enhancing our ability to implement BI effectively and gain value from our data. An alert is appropriate when you understand what your thresholds are. It’s a more mature way of communicating what’s going on with that data.
Integrated Collaboration (Conditional)
Integrated collaboration is the most sophisticated form of collaboration. It means interactively collaborating with the data. If, for instance I was monitoring store sales, I might be focused on the amount of money being passed through each register or the number of items scanned. When I interact with this data, it means that I can collaborate and weigh in instantly – and impact the outcome of what’s going on. It’s frequent and continuous collaboration.
As in life, when it comes to BI, maturity is knowing what to do and when. The ability to share knowledge at the right time, and in real-time, and discuss anomalies will not only help you make better business decisions – it shortens the decision-making loop so you can get there faster and more efficiently.