Business Intelligence: Get Schooled

Even the Chief Financial Officer is looking for a more holistic view of the business that enables smart predictions.

As a result, and continuing a five-year trend, Garter says, these solutions are routinely being upgraded and replaced in favor of business-user-driven data discovery to take analytics beyond traditional reporting more accessible and pervasive to a broader range of users.

“The BI/analytics market is undergoing a seismic shift away from reporting-centric platforms to data discovery platforms, such as the Lavastorm Analytics Platform,” said Drew Rockwell, CEO of Lavastorm Analytics. “This shift, which puts the business user at the epicenter of this transformation, tears down the walls between business users and their data, and provides them with more agility, more powerful analytics and a new level of self-sufficiency. It is as significant a technology trend as any we have seen in the past 30 years and we are pleased to be included and recognized as an enabler of this trend.”

Business Intelligence represents the evolution of support systems into a critical tool to monitor the health of the CSP business in real time and the ability to stake out a future based on sound modeling and prediction.

"[BI is] Organizing data from various BSS, OSS and other systems into a useful data set, and analyzing this data to form a holistic view of how the business is operating," Mark Marinelli, VP of Product Management for Lavastorm said. "The key goal is typically to develop KPIs with which they can benchmark operations against target metrics. More advanced organizations employ their BI capabilities to uncover infirmities in business processes, like billing inaccuracy, or to identify new opportunities for growth or retention." 

The intersection of Big Data and smart reporting functionality is the simplest way to view BI. Analytics, subscriber intelligence and network intelligence all converge to create a snapshot of the overall health of the business. And executive leadership wants those insights. In fact, according to Comptel research, “What Telco CMOs and CIOs/CTOs Are Thinking About in 2014,” 72 percent of CMOs want to better understand gaps in service delivery, 68 percent of CIOs and CTOs said that they want to improve their networks.

Beyond understanding what is going on in the business today, predictive analytics are the crystal ball of future customer demands and performance that are the real goal for CSP execs. Gartner says predictive business performance metrics can increase profitability by about 20 percent by 2017, and that's nothing to sneeze at.

The survey conducted by Gartner among 498 business and IT leaders in the fourth quarter of 2013, showed that 71 percent of business and IT leaders understood which KPIs are critical to supporting the business strategy, while only 48 percent said they can access metrics that help them understand how their work contributes to strategic KPIs, and 31 percent agreed they had a dashboard to provide visibility of these metrics.

"Using historical measures to gauge business and process performance is a thing of the past," said Samantha Searle, research analyst at Gartner. "To prevail in challenging market conditions, businesses need predictive metrics — also known as "leading indicators" — rather than just historical metrics (aka "lagging indicators")." Predictive risk metrics are particularly important for mitigating and even preventing the impact of disruptive events on profitability.

Even the Chief Financial Officer is looking for a more holistic view of the business that enables smart predictions. In fact, Oracle and Accenture performed research that led them to dub the modern CFO a “technological evangelist."

The most advanced finance teams are using these ultra-sophisticated analytical tools, modern applications and social, mobile, cloud and collaboration tools to stay closely linked to the vision, strategies and activities of their peers across the enterprise, Oracle says about its findings. While the study found that many CFOs are making major strides toward creating a more productive and efficient technology-enabled finance function, it is clear that much work lies ahead. Too many organizations, Oracle says, are being informed by outdated data for decision-making, due to the challenges of consolidating numerous siloed systems.


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