Business Intelligence and Analytics: Improving Your Competency

Advanced business intelligence and analytics is a fascinating evolutionary process. Here, Knowledge Center contributor Craig Wacaser shares a five-level business strategy for improving your business intelligence and analytics competency.


Discover your company's best kept and most valuable asset: insight from your data. The issue is not lack of data. Most would agree there is too much data and not enough insight. According to a recent survey, 60 percent of executives say they have more information than they can use.

The key is making sense of the data, turning it into actionable insight to drive better decisions and improve business performance. According to the survey, top-performing organizations are twice as likely to leverage business analytics to drive future strategies and day-to-day operations as lower performers.

As a business leader, how effective is your company at providing you with the timely information and insight you need to make your most important business decisions?

Companies continue to spend millions on transactional applications and IT infrastructure. As a result, mountains of data are collected, often sitting underutilized in large databases. An ever increasing number of companies, however, are exploiting this untapped asset. They're gaining a competitive advantage by transforming their data into valuable information and actionable insight to answer critical business questions and improve performance.

A recent study by IBM shared that 50 percent of executives feel they don't get the information they need to make critical decisions, and three out of four executives felt more predictive information would drive better decisions. The study also concluded that two out of three companies are still in the early stages of developing their business intelligence competency.

In this article, I will outline five levels of BI that all business leaders should consider. Let's begin with single-application reporting.

Level No. 1: Single-application reporting

These are canned or ad hoc reports from transactional applications such as SAP or Oracle Financials. These reports look back in time and typically answer questions such as, "What happened?" and "How are we doing?"