So why would you or why would you not put an application or a solution (storage, collaboration, etc.) in the cloud? It’s open – Internet standards and web services allow you to connect services to each other. Traffic Costs – Most cloud providers will give you a certain amount of internet bandwidth included in your monthly subscription. Application Storage – This could be one of the hidden costs in your setup, similar to internet traffic. So there you have my take on the cloud and how it can help, but also what you need to look out for. Most end users want to create their own BI content no more than they want to knit their own jumpers. Cindi Howson  has written a short, concise but very powerful blog about this topic, outlining 5 myths. A slick BI tool will not turn you into a master analyst any more than using the best tennis racquet in the world will enable you to beat Djokovic on a tennis court, or moving into a barn will turn you into a cow. I have stated on several occasions and in my book that Data Quality is the make-or-break issue in BI.
A BI initiative without business-driven governance will see a plethora of content being created and most of it will be redundant or unused over time. The bulk of users do NOT want to spend their time creating their own reports, writing queries and drill-down functionality. To get answers to these and other questions, you need an information delivery system from which you can get answers on long-term and short-term trends, or other areas of interest, all in the one place. The data you need could come from Finance, Operations, Marketing, HR, Sales – or from all of these – in order to get a comprehensive picture of your true business performance. Medium-sized to large businesses usually rely on spread sheets or a range of BI solutions to deliver this information. Tactical BI covers a shorter time period and generally uses recent data to shed light on internal performance metrics. A common example is the use of Sales dashboards that show monthly sales and deliveries, repeat customer business and fast-moving products so you can get an insight into the performance of sales people, their forecast targets, activities and execution of marketing campaigns. Only in this way would you get a real understanding of the true picture – from a high-level summary to the details.

Operational BI is used mainly by front-line employees (and managers) to do their jobs better.
Operational BI is about using current knowledge to take immediate action to improve business results.
This latter aspect (SMS based exception alerts),  starts to tap into the area of BPM (Business Process Management) and that’s really about the workflows that exist to “move” data from one system through to another. If you’d like to discuss how better BI can help your business grow and thrive, drop us a line. However, when I hosted a breakfast seminar and took a straw poll on how many in the room were using cloud solutions, about 15% of the room put their hands up.
Adjust your infrastructure expenditure to meet your organization’s dynamically changing needs with little latency.
Focus on your business, knowing that the IT piece belongs is someone else’s problem to manage. The subscription fee incorporates many of the hidden costs typically associated with software customisation, implementation, hardware, etc. Centralize your information and access it from anywhere in the world, on any computer or mobile device, at any time. Even in this modern world, when traveling outside major metropolitan areas, you can get pretty weak or no reception, impeding on your ability to do work when you have to access the information in the cloud. This is no different to having your laptop passwords being set to ‘abcd1234’ or the likes, but in the cloud, anyone can get to it. If you run an application online, the cloud provider will  allow for a certain amount of storage to be included with your application.
What I have seen is that there are indeed a very small number of analytical users within an organisation (the one percent) that should learn how to use BI properly and intensely, create their own queries and go all-out into analysis. Most end users will not even be aware that there could be data quality issues, let alone know how to deal with them. Governance is about determining who needs what information, impact analysis, what can be reused and almost is akin to establishing ‘what is the minimum amount of BI development we can get away with to ensure business success?’ There is a lot more to it of course, but this is the 10,000 metre view. Each category of BI can play a vital role in achieving growth and identifying your key business drivers.

The problem is that a true picture usually takes weeks to compile, data needs to be verified and your information is often out of date by the time you get it.
This could be week-to-date or month-to-date result set and how the business is tracking to targets. Ideally, you’d want to look at top-level regional performance, drill down to national managers and state managers, then right down to an individual sales person’s performance. For example, a sales rep going to visit a customer can scan that customer’s sales history, any issues and past conversations.
Actions could include generating dynamic documents on the fly from a live CRM system, or sending out SMS text message alerts triggered from a business-critical condition that needs to be addressed right away. In the meantime, why not check out BI Plus to see how you could be getting more valuable information sooner. You no longer have to do capacity planning for the next 4- 5 years or be hampered by past capacity planning decisions. Traffic is usually measured both ways and if there are server based processes (data acquisition, workflow, integration components), you could be completely oblivious to these costs. If you then as an enterprise or as an individual, exceed these storage limits, there is usually a monthly or annual charge associated with the excess, billed as so many dollars per N gigabytes.
The rest of the users just want an automated way that enables them to easily make decisions or to have the obvious choice highlighted. The best scenario is that you have a system that can collate all that information at the click of a mouse.
To get a holistic view of the customer and anticipate their needs, the rep may need to access both an ERP and CRM system. You could reduce your reliance on IT, especially if it takes ages to deliver anything, but someone, somewhere, will be churning through the data, inspecting it, mining it, looking for anomalies, transforming it and putting into the neatly polished star schemas and cubes that most users just assume is magically there and correct. Excel is still everywhere and going against it is like swimming against a rip current (you better be a strong swimmer!).

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