Connect with Us

About Us

The Decision Factor offers insightful comments and observations on analytics—from views on new technology approaches and market dynamics to the latest industry trends driving demand for faster, smarter information analysis. This blog contains personal views, thoughts, and opinions from SAP employees, mentors, and friends working in the area of analytics. It’s not endorsed by SAP nor does it constitute an official communication of SAP.

Archives

Business Intelligence 101 — Time to Start Your Installations!

Congratulations, you’ve just bought enterprise-wide business intelligence (BI) software! Someone made the decision to purchase it (maybe you were even involved!) And you’re going to help install it!

Who Do You Help First?

Finance. Always help finance. They hold the purse strings, they make the happy happen. When it comes to pleasing people inside of any organization, finance should almost always be at the top of your list. The nice thing is, the reason isn’t always political.

Everyone expects finance reporting to be available out of the gates. Nobody buys an enterprise-wide BI solution without finance. That means you’d better deliver it soon. The good news? Finance is usually pretty easy to start on—the finance reporting will have been largely figured out years prior (some, ahem, technology changes have made new things possible, but a general ledger is still a general ledger). And, finance is a great way to employ a rapid mart.

Who Should You Think Twice About Helping?

Here’s the deal: human resources (HR) will be overenthusiastic about any idea you have. They’ll be responsive to your questions, they’ll have a ton of ideas, and they’ll be very interested in working with you. All of that’s good. In short, they are a dream to work with.

There’re a few caveats, however. HR has VERY sensitive information (yes, that was capitalized, bolded, italicized, and underlined, and it was still pretty under-emphasized). Even the information they tell you doesn’t need security actually needs security. So, if you’re pretty new to protecting information in your organization, you should be aware that HR will test your limits. If you’ve spent years getting good at protecting information in your organization, HR will still test your limits. It’s just par for the course.

The other caveat? There isn’t often a ton of money in HR analytics. There’s opportunity, but if your company drives a lot of value out of how they hire people, you probably won’t be able to avoid this subject area.

Who Else Should You Consider?

The low hanging fruit in BI is largely defined as anything with a small number of simple measures with clearly defined hierarchies. This will vary a lot by industry. It could be safety. Or inventory. Or widgets. But there’s relatively low-hanging fruit in your company, and you need to find it.

And Everyone Else?

Certainly business intelligence will affect your whole business, but you have to start somewhere. Carefully choosing your points of engagement will help drive success throughout your enterprise.

I’d like to hear your thoughts and experiences with business intelligence installations.