Neil Raden, CEO and Principal Analyst of Hired Brains Inc. advocates in his article that the applications and tools of the past, including primitive spreadsheets are not as effective when it comes to providing businesses with a strategic advantage. Gartner glossary, an IT database search engine for defining IT terms, defines Business intelligence (BI) as an umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tool that enable access to information and analysis of it. Raden comments on Business Intelligence by stating, “To be effective, business people need more than access to data”. Today business people are clamoring for more information about their customers and about their business in general. Business peoples’ ability to get closer to data is spurring innovation by software companies around the world.
BI is a critical way for businesses to provide companies with a strategic weapon for mining their data. BI can also be defined as the ability of a company to collect, maintain, and organize knowledge. This type of intelligence usually produces large amounts of information that can help develop new opportunities and effective strategies that provide a competitive advantage for long-term stability in the future. Raden states the importance of mining data in an effective and coherent way. Raden works for the company, Hired Brains Inc., which is a research analysis, advisory, consulting service firm serving North America, Europe and Asia. Through Raden’s research and analysis background he is able to carefully analyze the essence of BI and how it is used effectively and ineffectively in businesses today.
For the past two decades, spending has been focused primarily on the hardware and services to store data rather than the software to help sift through the data. In order for businesses to be run effectively, is not just by having access to more data. Instead a good tactic would be to require a seamless process that allows an interaction with such data. This in depth data analysis will better their own models and processes. Raden states that “In today’s environment, these steps are typically disconnected.” What he means is that the idea of strategically mining the data is lacking because it is expensive and slow to maintain without the data quality controls from specific IT departments. Next generation business intelligence tools need to be simple enough to use. This way, even business people can use them and not require hours of coding or major IT support.
I feel that BI is an intriguing topic right now and the companies that figure it out stand to gain a huge strategic advantage over their competitors. I feel that companies who are able to look at the whole picture will be able to achieve excellence in the long-run. Wal-Mart for instance, is teaming up with Oracle to master the importance of analyzing data in this way. They analyze what items appear together on check-out lists. They analyze these consumer lists/data to find a relationship between items bought and other personal information during each cash register sale. Wal-Mart was able to use Oracle’s BI software to find a relationship between facial tissues and orange juice sales. Therefore, they were able to position those items closer together in the stores which increased sales further. Oracle is able to integrate large sums of data into one coherent place. BI is something that once a company executes it correctly and coherently, the company can realize huge competitive gains overall.
Attached is an a video emphasizing Oracle's way of expressing the importance of Business Intelligence and their overall motive: