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The management opportunity of Business Intelligence November 13, 2008

Posted by Darth Sidious in Business Intelligence.
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Like with many technology projects, everyone wants a piece of the action. It’s the latest and greatest, something potentially better than what you have now, and all that good stuff. When we launched our latest VaderSoft Office edition, we had Storm Troopers tripping over themselves to get their hands on it (one of the big productivity boosters is the RebelScum plugin).

But, when it comes to implementing Business Intelligence look beyond just the tooling, technology, and infrastructure. The problem with your current organically grown B.I is that all these disparate reports float across your organization where the requirements came from different levels of management, different aspects of the business, etc… and they don’t necessarily align up to the top. It’s just data that someone wanted.

If you’re launching a new B.I initiative, drive it from the top. Start small with just the top level executives to define the data management needs, definitions, the information that’s needed to drive the business, and the key performance indicators (KPIs) that the executive staff feel are the leading indicators of the business.

Then use that as a tool in itself to train your management as the B.I initiative works its way down each management level. C Level executives will want their Sr VPs to know how the C Level folks are monitoring the business, the numbers they’re looking at, where the numbers are coming from and so on… The Sr VPs in turn will want B.I that extends from those numbers that adds the granularity they need. This process continues all the way down, but the idea is everyone is on the same page with:

  • what information is tagged as important,
  • what information is being used to drive decisions,
  • what information is used for performance tracking,
  • what information is used to drive  corporate goals

Sure… top level management looks at things from a strategic view, where as line-level management is operationally focused on a specific aspect of the business. But it’s all about going back to nested objectives, and in this case the nested B.I that goes along with that.

The big take away here is if you’re kicking off a new B.I initiative it’s an opportunity to coach your management all the way down.

Darth Sidious


How To Calculate Percent November 30, 2007

Posted by Tariq Ahmed in Business Intelligence.
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A simple concept, but sometimes people get tripped up when using it. This is a basic lesson in using percent correctly when comparing two numbers.

Star Destroyer production from year to the next:
2006 – 20 ships
2007 – 25 ships
Difference – 5 ships
Production has increased by X%? The difference is 5 units. Some people make the mistake by dividing the 5 into the wrong number. In reality you can divide it into 20 or 25, the difference is your wording and what exactly you’re referencing.

E.g.1) 5/20= 25%. The correct usage would be: “From 2006 numbers, production has increased 25% in 2007”

E.g. 2) 5/25=20%. The correct usage would be: “2007 production is 20% higher than 2006 production”.

The simple proofs are in the proverbial pudding:
In e.g. 1, if you only knew the 2006 number, then you would take 20 ships X 25% and get 5 ships. You therefore now know the 2007 number is 25 ships.

In e.g. 2, if you only knew the 2007 number, you would take the 25 ships X 20% and get 5 ships. You therefore now know the 2006 number had to be 5 less, or 20 ships.

This distinction is particularly important if your audience is going to apply the % across other sets of numbers.

When comparing two numbers, take care to consider what your comparing and always double check by doing the math against your numbers.

Of course this also infers that when you need to quote percents for a report, you can manipulate it as needed.