Complex management systems are what distinguish modern tech businesses. The complexity of managerial interactions within organizations is increasing. This requires more efficiency and transparency for the decisions taken at multiple levels of management and across the organization.
Management needs smart tools to link leadership’s goals and logic for decisions taken in the company. They also need tools to ensure the sustainability of business strategies and flexibility at the operational and tactical level.
The Business Intelligence (BI) sector is responsible for rising to the challenge. BI combines software and services to analyze and connect data from diverse information flows, giving businesses actionable insights and helping them adapt to rapidly changing market conditions.
BI sector market assessment
The BI sector continues to apply new technologies to business problems. It’s constantly evolving. For example, according to Gartner’s projected research, as early as 2020 “50% of analytical queries either will be generated via search, natural language processing or voice, and organizations that offer users access to a curated catalog of internal and external data will derive twice as much business value from analytics investments as those that do not.”
In particular, the BI sector has recently seen increases in the interest associated with new technologies in the areas of data processing, speech and pattern recognition, and artificial intelligence. For example, Gartner’s report states that “natural language processing and conversational analytics will boost analytics and business intelligence adoption from 35% of employees to over 50%, including new classes of users, particularly front-office workers.”
The truth is that BI is not something that can be assessed by the direct tactical effects of its implementation. The true benefit of BI is strategic in that it provides a quicker transition to a higher level of management. Better management enables new growth and a wider reach for the organization by ensuring that resources are being used efficiently in as many areas as possible. Moreover, to maximize the benefit of BI initiatives, there is a need to introduce change management along with strategic product and project management in companies.
This means that the main technological path for any corporation in the future should focus on modernizing and increasing the effectiveness of its management systems to develop their agility and reliability.
Coherent Solutions and BI solutions
Coherent Solutions established its BI department a decade ago and the vision to invest in the company’s BI capabilities has given Coherent Solutions a leg up in developing state of the art solutions and fine-tuning our BI processes. The company is capable of providing a wide range of services for key areas across the BI landscape from “light” reporting systems to “heavy” data engineering solutions deployed on top of large-scale infrastructures.
To gain a better understanding on the evolution of the BI capability at Coherent, we talked about the company’s direction with Yury Zhukovsky, who heads the BI Department, and Alena Bashmakova, one of the BI department’s senior consultants. Coherent Solutions has consistently grown in its competencies, moving towards BI in several ways. Yury and Alena shared three developments within the company’s BI department:
- When embarking on data warehousing projects, we perform a basic assessment to determine the technical readiness of clients. This enables them to do more with their own data, identify untapped corporate management knowledge, and restructure decision-making processes — based on new technical capabilities for information processing.
- Many clients start to work with us on a smaller scale by requesting that we build dashboards and simple reporting systems to show financial metrics for varying levels of management using products such as PowerBI, Tableau, Qlik, etc. Throughout this process, the clients gain exposure to the technical competence of our BI analysts and developers which inspires a progression to use Coherent for the deployment of more complex software projects and the acquisition of virtual and physical infrastructure.
- Across our project portfolio, the company has gained expertise in solving key challenges within ETL, OLAP, and other common BI solution patterns. For example, our teams have launched a solution supporting the real-time selection of video content requiring the processing of complex data arrays. Another example was an instance where our teams connected an automatic data exchange system with public tax service databases.
In the past decade, Coherent’s BI department has completed BI projects in a wide variety of industries including medical, insurance, finance, advertising, e-commerce, education, and media working with companies such as WEX Health, Bluestem, and Videology. Each of these projects has contributed to our company’s overall knowledge base, which we continue to analyze and mine to identify the best approaches and solutions for future projects.
Building a BI department team
When looking to build a BI development team for a given client project, it’s difficult to say how many specialists will be needed at the outset. Everything is fluid and built on identifying real, customer-specific needs that the BI systems will fulfill. On one project, a few specialists may be enough to handle client management and a large development team. While on another project you may need a team of 20 BI specialists to cover every project need. With this in mind, two principles ring true for building teams.
First, we create our core team, or as we like to call them “universal soldiers.” To do this, we look for a unique combination of technical experience, a high level of development in business intelligence, and the desire to continue learning. At the same time, these universal soldiers need to be able to disconnect from previous experience and look for solutions in new areas.
Second, we are platform agnostic. Our team focuses on best practices in BI solution architecture and design patterns instead of targeting single-platform solutions. This means we maintain our competency across multiple well-known platforms. The result is that we put the client, their wishes, and real problems first and not those invented by the developer or marketing promotion of another platform.
Starting your BI project doesn’t have to be painful
Business intelligence can improve your organization’s decision-making process, reduce bottlenecks, enable real-time analysis, and much more. But you may not know where to start, or you may be worried about the cost of implementation.
Coherent’s BI Starter Kit can help you get started in a cost-effective and manageable manner. The Starter Kit is designed to let companies begin a BI initiative in a lightweight approach and get tangible proof of concept solutions delivered in 60-80 days. The offering enables teams to quickly iterate through ideas and validate different approaches with minimal investment. Companies have used it to develop business cases for increasing BI funding and have gained internal alignment on the benefits to the organization for a more strategic commitment to BI.
How does it work? The process is split up into two phases:
- Discovery and analysis (2-4 weeks): During this phase, we identify and connect your requirements to an actionable implementation plan. Instead of forcing clients to use our preferred technology, we adapt the plan to what you’re already using.
- Implementation (6-10 weeks): Throughout implementation, you’ll receive a set of well structured, enterprise-ready deliverables that help your team implement BI in your organization.
You don’t have to tackle BI implementation alone. With the guidance of our experienced team and the BI Starter Kit, you’ll feel in complete control throughout the entire process. Why shouldn’t you put off adopting strong business intelligence processes?
BI projects blend art with science
Management systems will only get more complex. Organizations that can create more transparency and efficiency in their management systems will outpace their competitors. To do this, organizations need to leverage the power of Business Intelligence.
But a BI project is like a work of art, which, although created using the same tools and materials, is always unique in its application. Organizations with complex infrastructures need a partner that understands the nuances of data management, building BI teams, and measuring results.
A manager at one of Coherent’s clients recently expressed the self-critical assessment “we’re a data-rich company that’s informationally poor.” Consequently, the mission of Coherent Solutions is to strengthen its customers through BI solutions. These are sustainable businesses, which through smart BI investments can introduce new insights to management and prepare for new growth in their markets.
What do you need for your next BI project? Talk to one of our consultants and learn how to put your data problems into actionable business insights.
Nick has over 10 years of marketing communications experience spanning across: marketing research and analytics, Public Relations, internet marketing and event-marketing. Nick holds an MBA from the Leon Kozminski University (Warsaw, Poland) and a MA in Political Science from the Belarusian State University (Minsk, Belarus).