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New Frontiers in Business Intelligence

Nari Kannan

Breaking Out of BI Silos

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One of the biggest frustrations with corporate use of business intelligence, especially at the highest levels, is the need to refer to different reports from different business intelligence silos.

Ask anybody at the highest levels of any Fortune 500 company about the frustrations they have with BI. More often than not, they will mention the need for getting ALL the information they need and use from one single source - a dashboard that may lead them down the slicing and dicing of data from different sources. But the fact that the highest level reports are available from one starting point makes a lot of difference in reality.

Sales intelligence cannot be interpreted independently of financial, manufacturing or operational intelligence. It cannot be viewed in isolation from what you are hearing back from your customers and clients and their satisfaction with your products and services. They are all tied together the higher you go in the organization.

There are also companies that have successfully combined all this information and provide very involved, useful and complicated cross-functional analysis - but they are far and few between.

 

For example, if you want to see the net margins of Product Line A in Region A, Zone 1, as compared to the same product in Region B, Zone 2, you may be out of luck. You may need to combine sales numbers (in dollars or other currencies) of that product with discounts, accurate transportation costs and other overhead costs for making the product available in those two locations. It may involve combining sales quantities, selling prices and different cost levels for those two zones in question.

Many companies may not have reached that level of maturity of BI. The least BI systems can do is make the information that is available, easily available.

Due to legacy reasons, IT systems for sales, finance, manufacturing and logistics may all have evolved at different stages of the company's IT development. Business intelligence systems that consolidate and present all this data also usually follow the same trajectories in time.

These BI silos could not be avoided in a practical sense, but efforts can certainly be made to consolidate these reports and hook all the  starting points for all this intelligence in one report or a dashboard. In a large number of companies, that's a great start compared to the status quo.

With mobility and business intelligence taking off, there is a huge demand for highest level dashboards to be easily accessible from smartphones and tablet computers like the iPad and Android. Even attempting the simplest of dashboards that consolidate and present a few pieces of functional information is a great start in breaking down the BI silos.

Silos can't interoperate unless the technology does - Carly Fiorina

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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