Cloud BI vs. SaaS
Continuing with our series on frequently asked questions by small and medium-sized businesses about business intelligence, today I’ll address cloud BI and SaaS BI. They’re not actually the same thing, though some of their characteristics overlap.
3) Should we choose an on-premise BI solution or one hosted in the cloud?
This can be an important distinction when choosing your shortlist of vendors; however more and more are offering both on-premise and cloud deployment models, including arcplan. If you’re unsure, shortlisting vendors that offer both is a good plan. That way, you can choose the deployment model after deciding that the product’s features match your needs.
Choosing whether or not to deploy BI in the cloud brings up some special considerations – how concerned about data security you are, where your data will be stored, and whether you have the resources in-house to manage the hardware necessary for your BI deployment.
If data security is a major concern, there are ways to store your corporate data securely behind a firewall and broadcast queries to your cloud BI system. As we often say at arcplan, you don’t necessarily have to move your data to the cloud in order for your BI to be there. That may seem confusing, so let me clarify…
Did you know that only 24% of companies surveyed by BI Scorecard in 2012 consider their BI projects “very successful?” That is pretty sad. And yet Gartner says global BI spending will rise this year to $13.8B and $17.1B by 2016. Companies are still willing to invest massive amounts of money in business intelligence without being able to call these projects successful most of the time.
As a BI vendor, we’d be very concerned if our customers weren’t thinking of their arcplan projects as successful. So we dug through our customers’ most impactful BI projects and identified 5 key factors for long-term BI project success. These factors go beyond the solution-deployment advice you typically see from vendors – steps like “define what success is,” “find an executive sponsor,” and “go with an incremental approach.” While these are critical as well, the factors laid out below embrace 5 different segments of the project: the IT infrastructure, the data, the BI solution itself, the users, and corporate governance.
1. Link your various (clean) source systems
It’s normal for companies to have many information systems in place, from inventory management and ordering programs to ERP and CRM solutions, which may all run on different hardware platforms. The result is a heterogeneous and fragmented IT landscape, and it is often unavoidable. If you cannot reduce the number of systems in place, then ensure that all primary data sources have accurate data whose definition has been agreed upon organization-wide. In addition, be sure your business intelligence solution can serve as an umbrella over all of the systems that need to be linked. BI applications that connect to numerous systems are crucial to the success of projects in heterogeneous environments.
2. Choose your data wisely and compile it intelligently
The Future of Dashboards
Speaker: Dwight deVera, SVP of Professional Services at arcplan
There’s something wrong with dashboards – they’re stuck in the past. They’re designed for functional areas or departments, but as a modern decision-maker, you might need to view cross-functional KPIs from finance, sales, operations, marketing, and HR to make good decisions. So how do you reconcile the dashboards you have with the views you actually need to be effective?
In this webinar, we demonstrate:
- Why dashboards need to reflect the matrix-style way decision-makers are working today
- The “31 flavors problem” and how dashboard users can distinguish the signal from the noise when it comes to thousands of potential KPIs
- How our internet-fueled, “zero attention span” lives must influence dashboard design
- A simple way to make dashboards more effective by empowering users to develop their own “Pinterest-style” dashboards
It’s time to rethink what dashboards should be. Peek into the future with us in this webinar!
Truth time: business intelligence doesn’t have a stellar reputation when it comes to its failure rate. Gartner says it’s as much as 70%, which is unacceptable in 2013. BI offers so many advantages to companies when implemented correctly, from process improvements to cost savings, and has an ROI of $10.66 for every dollar spent – when done right. This week arcplan put out a press release on the 5 project management reasons why many BI projects are doomed to fail. Check it out and let me know if you agree!
1. Not enough focus on business benefits
Before even evaluating software providers, companies should define the business benefits they want to achieve by implementing a BI solution. Is it to aggregate data in a central location, thereby saving the time and cost associated with manual data gathering and consolidation? Is it to achieve better insight into customer data so programs can be designed to increase profits through upselling? This question is, why are we implementing the solution in the first place? Whatever the reason, it should be defined before kick-off, refined during implementation, and measured afterwards. Any project can be considered a failure if its success criteria are not stated up-front. Management – with input from users – must agree on the criteria and the vendor and project sponsors must ensure that success is measured post-implementation or they risk a lack of user acceptance. arcplan, the #1 Large Enterprise Project vendor for Business Benefits Achieved according to The BI Survey 12 – the world’s largest independent survey of BI users – solicits feedback from a constituency of end users throughout implementation because if their expectations are not met, the BI solution will always underachieve.
2. Vague scope
Anyone with project management experience will say that defining the scope is the most crucial step; without clearly defined and agreed-upon project boundaries and deliverables, there is no chance for success…