Research Perspective

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Gaining an Edge with Business Analytics:

New Tools Take Organizations beyond Business Intelligence

More than Query and Reporting

Business analytics goes beyond query and reporting, but despite significant investments in business intelligence (BI) software many organizations continue to operate with a limited set of analytic capabilities. Query and reporting, until recently the mainstay of business intelligence, are tactically oriented activities focused on what happened in the past and lack clear ties to the overall strategy of the organization. When past occurrences were difficult to understand, BI was useful to make that easier. Today this information remains necessary, but it is no longer sufficient. Organizations increasingly need to understand what’s happening right now and to be able to forecast what is likely to happen in both the near future and the long term. The next generation of business analytics can help do this.

These business analytics provide a variety of additional capabilities. They include well-defined metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that are specific to the organization or functions within it. When properly built these indicators incorporate goals, displayed as a range, to enable users to monitor and improve performance beyond the minimally acceptable level. They also should include trend indicators to show progress since the prior period, making it easier to identify early on any chan-ges in organizational momentum. KPIs can be woven together in strategy maps that show the relationships between the indicators and overall objectives. When targets are missed, historical and root-cause analysis can help determine the source of the problem. Interactive analysis and visualization (including geographic information) can help spot patterns in the data. And real-time and predictive analytics can detect problems or opportunities as they arise and point decision-makers toward the best course of action.

 
 

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