Business Intelligence

Most organizations today are making significant investments in developing capabilities to measure ‘Productivity’ in areas that either directly or indirectly affect their bottom line. The methodologies that have been become popular have acronyms such as BPM (Business Process Management), CPM (Corporate Performance Management) or EPM (Enterprise Performance Management).

The core objective of all these initiatives is pretty straightforward, quantify operational efficiency (gain/loss), provide information back to managers in a ‘closed loop’ manner to enable quick and prompt remedial action where needed and to measure the effectiveness of action taken.

While most CEOs today agree that objective Performance/Productivity Management Systems are required to remain competitive, maintain operational efficiency and make decisions based on facts and not emotion, questions arise: where does one begin, what impacting factors does one measure and how can the information collected be shared and disseminated amongst stakeholders?

Metrics that create both short and long term value (for the organization), provide measurable feedback to stakeholders and improve performance are the ones that usually get the CEOs attention.
Customer Profile: No business process area in an organization provides a better opportunity to measure organization performance. Most customer centric organizations are rewiring their information technology network so they can respond quickly to customer needs and business opportunities. Customer processes such as segmentation and sales are the cornerstones of any successful business and the trends and behavioral patterns provide critical insights into the future.

Segmentation is the process of looking at a potential market, gathering data on customer characteristics and aligning the organizations strengths to maximize market share (in that niche segment).

How Does Business Intelligence (BI) Work?
For a BI solution to fulfill its promise, it must be flexible and functional enough to extend from the individual to the team to the entire organization. It must also accommodate the different needs of people in your organization and incorporate all the types of information; both structured and unstructured, people use to make decisions. Microsoft BI offers data warehousing, reporting and analysis, and performance management products and toolsets that can enhance productivity and foster confident decision making.

Data Warehousing
If your organization is like most, the process of integrating and storing your organizational data effectively can be daunting. Why? Because your data probably resides in multiple systems and lacks consistency. This makes it difficult for you and your people to access the data for meaningful insights. Data warehousing can help you provide insight into corporate data through an integrated, centrally managed, and trusted data source. Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) offers a scalable and enterprise-ready data warehouse platform that can help extend the value of your enterprise data. Microsoft BI provides the proven capabilities of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2005 Integration Services, which can help you easily build and manage data warehouses that scale to meet the needs of even the largest and most complex organizations. With SQL Server 2005 you get more than just data management tools—you get the core components to build a trusted BI platform: 1. The data integration platform brings your data together from virtually any source within your organization. 2. The format of the industry-leading ad hoc analysis engine—online analytical processing (OLAP)—enables decision makers not only to explore data in ways that make sense to them but also to centrally define and manage organizational business logic like key performance indicators (KPIs). 3. SQL Server supports a broad variety of data analysis scenarios—from simple ad hoc analysis to sophisticated predictive analytics—all in familiar, easy-to-use tools. 4. The managed-production reporting environment helps you publish highly formatted and interactive reports that make data easily accessible to a large number of people.

Reporting and Analysis
It's likely that the people in your organization are inundated with data—from formal information from structured sources to RSS feeds, information in e-mails, numbers from Wall Street, and on and on. It's a constant struggle to provide people with tools to report on and analyze all that information while remaining focused on constantly moving business targets. People need access to the right information at the right time and to decision-making tools that fit their work processes. To see how Microsoft business intelligence (BI) can help, consider how traditional BI solutions are tied to the ERP system or the data warehouse. They are outside the flow of a person's daily tasks. They don't empower people to take advantage of all the information they have at hand when making decisions. So people turn to informal systems and try to pull it together on their own.

Reporting and Analysis for All the Places Data Lives
People need a way to rationalize all the data they encounter every day. Microsoft BI provides you with the reporting and analysis tools and technologies to capture both structured and unstructured information:
Reporting: Microsoft BI offers three ways of making your reporting a success:
  1. Enterprise reporting: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services offers a comprehensive, server-based solution that includes traditional managed reports, interactive reports, and embedded reports.
  2. Ad hoc reporting: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services includes Report Builder, a tool that helps securely connect business users to data so they can explore the relational data and create and update reports with ease.
  3. Management reporting: Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, building on the capabilities of SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services and Microsoft Office Excel 2007, can help your organization manage all aspects of complex reporting.
  4. Analysis: Microsoft BI analysis tools are integrated with the rest of the BI platform to help you transform data into insight. For example, you can easily move from monitoring a scorecard or reading a report right into an analysis of the same information. When you see a problem, you can dive right in. When you want to take action, you can discover hidden opportunities.

Microsoft BI makes these tools available through its comprehensive, integrated offering.

Performance Management
Aligning Strategy with Infrastructure, People, and Processes

Here's your ideal situation: everybody in your organization sees the decisions they make in the context of the big picture, and every decision is aligned with company goals and strategy. Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) can help your business get to this ideal state through three capabilities: monitoring, analytics, and planning. These capabilities are built into Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, a powerful performance management application that provides you with the infrastructure to link people at all levels of your organization—whether they're executives, line-of-business managers, or individual contributors—to your overall corporate strategy.

3 Capabilities, 1 Integrated Solution
Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 builds on the familiar Microsoft Office environment and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 to deliver a comprehensive solution that includes the three critical components of performance management:
  1. Monitoring: Scorecards, dashboards, and key performance indicators (KPIs) help drive accountability and alignment across your organization.
  2. Analytics: Integrated analytics helps you quickly move from monitoring information to analyzing it to sharing it throughout your organization.
  3. Planning: A flexible framework offers powerful business planning, budgeting, and forecasting and management reporting functionality that supports critical business processes and strategic decision making.
Why Microsoft BI?
Microsoft BI is a tightly integrated solution that works the way your people want to work. It provides a full range of familiar tools that can address the entire spectrum—all of the people, data, and processes—of decision making.