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New Frontiers in Business Intelligence

Nari Kannan

Ok. You have Business Intelligence. But do you have the right BI?

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The Economist Magazine did a very interesting study a few years ago with executives around the globe about the complexities involved in their decision making.

The results are summarized here.

One of the key conclusions of this report was that the executives were not always sure they had the right data at hand for their decision making!

To a large extent, Business Intelligence seems to be making use of the data that's easily available but not working backwards from "what data do you need for your decision-making" and then fashioning the Business Intelligence around it!

Happens all the time if you think about it! Sales Data and Financial Data are the most automated and most readily available Business Intelligence to many companies.

Ask them questions about data related to end-to-end key business processes and you may be likely to draw a blank.

How long is your typical Order to Cash Cycle?

How long is your typical employee working at your company? Turnover this week, this month or this year may be available. But do you know how long your average employee serves at your company?

What is your In-Process-Inventory turnover for your highest selling product?

These are just examples that may or may not be pressing issues at your company but many companies do have many such questions for which arriving at answers may be too difficult, time-consuming or impossible given the availability of raw data for such information to be compiled from.

That's the reason, before embarking on a new BI initiative or refurbishing and enhancing an existing one, it may be a good effort to go around the company asking the question - "Do you have the Business Intelligence needed for your decision-making? If not, what is lacking?".

Rather than asking "what reports do you need or what BI do you need", a better question might be "What information do you need for your decision-making?".

Many times, BI might be there. It may only be what's available readily, not what is needed exactly!

Reminds me of the story of the person who lost a coin. He was busy searching for it elsewhere under a bright lamp in the street. When asked why he was searching for it over there instead of around the place where he lost it, he replied " Because that's where the lamp is!".

Checking the results of a decision against its expectations shows executives what their strengths are, where they need to improve, and where they lack knowledge or information. - Peter Drucker


Nari Kannan's blog explores how new approaches to business intelligence can help organizations improve the performance of business processes--whether these processes are creative or operational, internally-focused or customer-facing, intra-departmental or across functions.

Nari Kannan

Nari Kannan started and serves as the CEO of appsparq, a Mobile Applications development company based in Louisville, KY with offices in Singapore and India. Nari has over two decades of experience in computer systems development, translating product and service strategy into meaningful technology solutions, and both people and product development. Prior to this, he has served as both Chief Technology Officer and Vice President- Engineering in six successful startups, two of which he co-founded. He has proven experience in building companies, engineering teams, and software solutions from scratch in the United States and India. Prior to this, Nari started Ajira Technologies, Inc., in Pleasanton, CA, where he served as Chief Executive Officer for more than six years. While at Ajira, Nari was instrumental in developing service process management solutions that modeled, monitored, and analyzed business processes, initially targeting the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Telecom, and Banking verticals in India, and Finance, Insurance, and Healthcare verticals in the United States. Prior to this, he served as VP-Engineering at Ensenda, an ASP for local delivery services. He also served variously as Chief Technology Officer or VP-Engineering at other Bay-Area venture funded startups such as Kadiri and Ensera. He began his career at Digital Equipment Corporation as a Senior Software Engineer. Nari has a long involvement with Customer Support and other customer facing processes. At Digital Equipment Corporation he was involved with their 1800 person customer support center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was tasked with coming up with innovative tools to help customer support people do their jobs better. He holds a U.S patent for a software invention that automatically redirected email requests for customer support to the right group by digesting the contents of the request and guessing at which software or hardware support group is best equipped to handle it. At Ensera, he led a 45 person team in developing an internet based ASP service for handling auto insurance claims, coordinating information flow between end-customers, Insurance companies, Repair shops and Parts suppliers. Ensera was acquired by Mitchell Corporation in San Diego. Nari holds a B.S. degree in Physics from Loyola College, and an M.B.A degree from the University of Madras in Madras, India. He graduated with a M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1985. Contact Information: Nari Kannan. Email: nari@appsparq.com Mobile: 925 353 0197. Website: www.appsparq.com View more .


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