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By Rick Shepherd, Sr. Director, Consulting Services

In today’s BI Market, there are a variety of new and exciting ways to “visualize” data which accelerates the intelligence that can be obtained from the data.  Effective data visualization can quickly pinpoint opportunities and/or risks for a business which allows for faster reaction time to address the critical business situations.  With new BI Data Visualization techniques there’s  a lot to be said in the saying,  “a picture tells a  thousand words” but does that picture actually drive a change in behavior?  As I look at BI design, I always seem to ask the question, “What action should be taken now that a trend or critical issue has been identified?” For BI design to be truly successful for customers, it needs to define the action and/or initiate the action to be taken to maximize the BI investment.

In a recent discussion with a client Executive, he made it quite clear that BI Tool investment needs to be much more than fancy reports with data visualization.  He needs a BI solution to help drive “action” when the data analysis or BI has defined a critical event.   Like many in his position, the last thing he needs is the BI solution to give him more reports, rather he needs the BI solution to push “actionable intelligence” to people in the organization who have the responsibility to take action.   An example of this type of situation can be illustrated by how a BI solution might be used by a Sales Operation team.   Sales Management is always looking for ways to grow their business and improve the accuracy of their sales forecasts.   Effective BI solutions in this space do a great job of showing trends in product sales, market share, and growth opportunities.  These “indicators” add clarity and value in assessing the health of their business, but ideally these “indicators” need to be translated into communication that will drive Sales Teams to capture these newly found opportunities.   An ideal BI solution would “push” BI information to the field and request the Sales Teams to quickly “qualify” these opportunities.  Sales Teams would provide communication (and or data) back into the BI solution, thus confirming or adjusting the true opportunity giving Sales Management critical and timely feedback that would improve the accuracy of their sales forecast.  In simple terms, a “complete” BI solution needs to be a system that can IDENTIFY, DEFINE, SEND, UPDATE, and TRACK opportunities.

If you’re evaluating a BI solution for your company, look beyond the basic features of data analysis and visualization.  Consider how you can to make the intelligence “actionable” so that opportunities don’t just live in data visualization.   The revolution of BI is having a dramatic impact on the speed of analysis, but analysis means little if opportunities aren’t acted upon and turn into real improvements or growth for the business.   At Bardess, we’re making a true commitment to making our clients successful beyond the basics of BI.   If you’re interesting in hearing more about our creative BI solutions, give us a call or contact us via our website, Facebook, or Twitter accounts.


About the Author
Rick is a Senior Director of BI Consulting Services at Bardess Group, Ltd.  He has over 30 years of experience in the IT Industry holding various positions in Engineering, Product Management, Operations and Sales.  Rick’s unique blend of both Business and Technical expertise brings a complete perspective on how to successfully design and deploy BI solutions for our diverse clients and there industries.    Rick holds a BSEE from Lawrence Technological University, been issued Patents for designs in the Telecommunications Industry, and continues to author papers and blogs to share his BI expertise amongst his peers.   To follow Rick and his “BI Buddies” subscribe to our newsletter and participate in our blogs on our website.