Thoughts on business intelligence – BS or BI?

Does your organisation struggle with business intelligence? Do any of the following outmoded objects and processes exist in your workplace?

  1. Using spreadsheets for analysing information, performing projections and modelling from a reoccurring data source; cost aggregation, lease administration, invoices, accounts payables, property valuation, forecasting etc.
  2. Receiving recurring paper documents, contracts, vendor payables, credit applications, management agreements, tax assessments etc.
  3. Sending versioned documents between colleagues and departments via USB or email etc.

Well, they shouldn’t IMHO and here’s why:

  1. The use of spreadsheets verbatim obscures in-depth analysis, data manipulation takes time, and expertise and in most cases requires the decoding of a patchwork of formulas. Oh, and be careful not to delete any cells for fear of creating a treasure map that only the original author (let’s just call him Jeff) can navigate!
  2. Paper documents, ugh! Add data entry errors to the above list of not-so-nice roadblocks and pitfalls.
  3. Manual data handling… Hang on, which version is the right one? What’s the idea behind the version numbers and why are they not consistent? and so forth. Also, Peter from accounts has been working from a different version all this time and now it’s decision time… Time to own it or have a little chat with Peter!?

Ok so here’s the answer to common archaic dilemmas such as, what document are we working on? Why does that pirate Jeff make treasure maps? Did I just get Peter fired? And is he bringing me down with him? And so forth.

  1. Design a common data architecture that ingests and normalises data irrespective of type or source. Plug an industry reporting tool like Tableau or PowerBi into a database view and voila: No more excel treasure maps! Share and manipulate data without changing source files. Create sophisticated business intelligence such as dynamic projections in a few clicks or spot outliers in key figures using a heat map pre-set. Etc. Etc.
  2. Time to digitalise! Come on people, we have computers now! If co-workers or suppliers state paper docs are the norm then ask them to check their calendar because the millennium bug hit and so did 20 years of digitalisation. We can totally get over the paper and save some trees too! Say heads up to things like FTP or better yet APIs and other developments since the year 2000.
  3. Databases, asset registers, the internet. They cost money to develop but are getting cheaper to run. Factor in the cost of working from outdated or in some cases, redundant data sources and new data systems for advanced business intelligence will pay for themselves, quickly.

So, in summary, we have briefly covered some basic data and tech solutions to common outmoded workplace objects and processes. To better understand the gamut of technological capability and how it can be applied to your workplace, contact Buildings Evolved for some obligation-free advice! Or check out our modelling tool for a taste of what modern scalable polyglot architecture can achieve here.

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