InetSoft Webinar: The Ultimate Promise of Pervasive Business Intelligence

Below is the transcript of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft on the topic of Pervasive Business Intelligence. The presenter is Mark Flaherty, CMO at InetSoft.

What is the ultimate promise of pervasive business intelligence?

Mark Flaherty (MF): Pervasive BI means that BI is being used to make both big and small decisions. Any decisions that contribute to the company’s performance are made based on facts and insights from data, so not just gut feel decision-making. It's really based on leveraging the data at hand. The result of pervasive BI should be that it helps a company reach new heights whether it in terms of financial performance, best-in-class customer service, or having the best products on hand when customers need it.

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How do organizations know they have succeeded at making BI pervasive and how can that success be measured or quantified?

MF: I think the biggest indicator is that all workers, so executives as well as frontline workers, recognize that BI is mission critical. They couldn’t do their jobs effectively without business intelligence. And today, really, that recognition is quite low in most companies. Usually it's the knowledge workers or the power users who only consider business intelligence mission critical. So that’s kind of from a qualitative aspect. And typically most companies only measure their success by these qualitative aspects, so really user perception and executive level perception.

But there are some quantitative ways that companies can measure their success. Return on investment, of course, is one of the most preferred ways and yet, a very few companies do that. And I think it's because it's so difficult to do. You are trying to come up with a really precise number and precise benefits when really the inputs to calculating those benefits are very imprecise. So I think other things like just measuring how many users you have and how often these users rely on business intelligence to do their daily jobs is another way of measuring success.

Why is making BI pervasive such a challenge for organizations?

MF: It's an excellent question. One challenge is that companies that deploy BI very successfully are reluctant to share this with their competition. Some companies’ entire business model is really based on taking value out of the data that they collect. Their BI implementation amounts to trade secrets. I think another challenge for successful with business intelligence is that you have to have a high level of data quality. And from an organizational point of view, you have to have executive level support. The secret then lies in how to achieve that or how to get the executive level support. So I think – and the final aspect to this is that there are some secrets that I don’t think we have really talked about much in the industry or that really has given too much emphasis in terms of best practices.

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