Business Intelligence and Analytics
We live in a world inundated with data and expectations of transparency. Perhaps in part because of the seemingly ubiquitous availability of information and the global nature of business, many of the traditional sources of competitive advantage have disappeared. It has become harder and harder to stand out from the crowd, and yet more important than ever. In many industries, perhaps one of the best ways left to differentiate yourself is through excellence in execution, simply outperforming your competitors and making better decisions on the business processes most important to your industry and/or your company. One way of enabling this is through making better use of business intelligence and analysis—the ability to collect, aggregate, store, mine, analyze and report/make available key data.
This discussion focused on what areas in the company business intelligence and analytics are currently used, where it can have the most impact, and how this can be achieved. We also discussed the organizational implications and impact of increased focus in this area, and what kind of resources it takes to get the desired results. Specifically, participants considered:
- How are you using business intelligence in your corporation at present? Where are you using it well and where not? Where is it really key?
- Is the use of business intelligence largely in external downstream facing processes and functions? In which areas: customer experience/service, marketing, sales, merchandising? Or upstream around supply issues: inventory, supplier/vendor ratings? Or tying these together to enable better CPFR (collaborative forecasting, planning and replenishment)?
- Can it be just as important internally? Should it be? Is it today? In which areas: financial, HR, asset usage/reporting, etc.?
- How do you organize to support BI efforts? Centralized, decentralized, some other model? Is this an integrative discipline, or best left to serve each distinct need?
- To what degree do you focus first and foremost on the “distinctive capabilities” of the firm that could be enhanced through good data collection, reporting and analytics (as opposed to using BI where it is easiest or most obviously fruitful)?
- How can you make business intelligence and analytics more predictive—i.e. more “front windshield” and less “rear-view mirror”? Is that possible and what are the keys to doing so?
- Can social networking applications be a part of the data gathering and how do you analyze, report and integrate what is gathered?
- Does the potential benefit of the intertwining of data streams, the mashing of data from various sources, outweigh the difficulties and costs? For instance, does it help or hinder the eternal effort to have “one instance of the truth” about a customer and his/her data?
- What are the most effective ways of making the data available to senior executives and decision-makers? Do you use dashboards, scorecards, or what? As these multiply, do they have to become more visual/intuitive or do they become too “dumbed down” then?
- What are the growth areas yet to come for use of business intelligence?
Experience the findings from this Roundtable:
(left to right) Hans Brechbühl, Executive Director, Center for Digital Strategies, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College; Urs Bleisch, Senior VP and CIO, Holcim and Al-Noor Ramji, Executive VP and Head of Banking, Misys plc
Thomas Aebischer, CFO and Member of the Executive Committee, Holcim; Franz Wirnsperger, CFO, Hilti Group; Christian Moraldo, Vice President Group Financial Control, Tetra Pak; Urs Bleisch, Senior VP and CIO, Holcim
Susan Barry, GLOBE Leader for Decision Support and Data Management, Nestlé
Hans Brechbühl, Executive Director, Center for Digital Strategies, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College
Haider Rashid, Group Senior VP and CIO, ABB and Martin Petry, CIO, Hilti Group
Urs Bleisch, Senior VP and CIO, Holcim; Olivier Gouin, Group CIO, Nestlé