InetSoft Webinar: What Is Business Intelligence?

This is a transcript of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft entitled "Best Practices for Deploying and Using Business Intelligence Software." The speaker is Mark Flaherty, CMO at InetSoft.

Mark Flaherty (MF): Business intelligence is a term that has been around a while. It has been used to describe a segment of the software market. It has been used to describe a technology that companies use to approach certain business problems that they have.

A comprehensive definition of business intelligence is a combination of the software and the technologies that companies use, in addition to the practices, capabilities, and disciplines that businesses need to gain in order to gain a better understanding of their business through accessing and analyzing the data that exists inside and outside the enterprise that leads to better performance of the business through making faster, more accurate decisions and taking the appropriate actions. Performance management is considered a subset of business intelligence.

How do the best companies use business intelligence?

First, I’ll explain what we mean by the best companies. We mean those companies that use business intelligence the best are the ones who also have the best measures in several areas: fastest speed to accessing information, highest usage rate of BI assets, highest employee productivity, and lowest effective cost of BI applications per employee.

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Speed to accessing information means the gap of time between an event occurring and information about that event becoming available to the company so they first realize it, and second will be able to respond to it, if appropriate. The usage rate of BI assets means to what degree is a company able to deliver self-service business intelligence capabilities to non-technical employees. This can also be called the adoption rate. Employee productivity here means the time spent by people looking for information as part of their day to day activity.

Effective cost takes into account the total expenses in terms of software licensing and administrative overhead and divides that figure by the number of employee using the BI application. So the greater the adoption rate, the better this number is. And the lower the overhead costs are, whether that be hardware necessary to run the software, the software licensing itself, or the salaries associated with BI experts, if necessary, to operate the software.

What results do the best users of business intelligence achieve?

When looking at the companies that are deemed the best business intelligence users, we have found the majority of them provide near real-time access to key metrics. All of them offer self-service BI to their business users. The companies see a 10 percent improvement in employee productivity relative to the average among companies. They realize a similar percentage reduction in effect cost per employee.

Next: Best Usage of Business Intelligence Software