Business Intelligence

Obtain an overview of the company

– in the past, present, and future.

In order to reap the full benefit from gathering data in a central Data Warehouse, it is important to design a presentation layer into one’s Business Analytics solution. Business Intelligence covers a variety of approaches to present the company’s aggregate data for the different user groups.

For some users, the right approach to a presentation layer is accessing a structured data framework through Excel, which enables you to perform all of the analyses required.

For many other users, data only becomes relevant when it is presented in a context that is relevant to the task that they are performing, i.e. the data that is relevant for the questions that they require answers to in their daily routines.

Some users have a preference for data that is presented in rows and columns because they are familiar with that from accounting reports. For other users, the information is more intuitive if it includes graphical tools and, for example, images of the products presented in an overview of earnings per product.

Good Business Intelligence is when all of the users of data have their information presented in the format that matches their role and their preferred way of receiving the information.

We achieve the freedom to work with different presentations of data when we use the central Data Warehouse to ensure that the basis for the data is the same and the definitions of the key figures are common for everyone.

We have chosen to collaborate with three strong suppliers in the field: Microsoft, IBM Cognos, and TARGIT.

Reporting

The right information, in the right format, and for the right audience

Reporting is the core discipline in Business Intelligence. Most organizations have a wide array of users on a Business Intelligence tool, all with widely different requirements for insight. It is, therefore, important to consider who the target audience for the company’s reports and dashboards is and to design the storytelling in each report so that it provides the necessary insights in the simplest possible manner. There are five main points that form the framework for reporting:

As mentioned, most companies have a very diverse need for data presentation.

Management will usually require KPIs that conveniently and quickly provide a general overview of the current situation. Analysts need to be able to delve deeper into the figures and understand the reasons and contexts as well as examine the details behind the trends. The sales organization needs to keep track of its performance on a daily basis. A department manager needs to follow up on the cost budget and specific KPIs for their own department. A production manager needs to be able to monitor whether deadlines are met and targets are achieved.

There are many other roles with requirements that, if they are covered, help to ensure that decisions are made on the best possible basis throughout the organization.

You can learn more about target groups here.

There are now a vast number of possibilities for presenting data. In a call center, it may be a large screen with common key figures, or it may be embedded in a shared intranet portal, while others may require a simpler daily overview in a PDF file, or a quick KPI overview using a mobile dashboard. The analyst, on the other hand, usually needs to work in a tool where it is possible to delve into the details of the individual key figures and perhaps to combine that with external data or other data that varies over time.

The Business Intelligence platforms that we work with at Kapacity support all the common media and channels, from e-mail distribution, Excel, portal and mobile access to embedding in separate web pages or operating systems such as a CRM or Call center system.

Did you know that our brain decodes much faster if we group information visually into blocks or if we instinctively decode contrasts before we read content? There are a number of visual tricks that involve the use of colors, grouping, contrasts, sorting, recognizability, and navigation that significantly increase user adoption and ultimately the value that we obtain from our Business Intelligence solutions.

Along with a targeted focus on the story that reports and dashboards must tell in order to best support a business’s strategy and initiatives, visualization is a powerful tool for ensuring that the most significant facts are presented in such a way that the recipient can easily identify them and use them as a basis for decision-making.

You can learn more about visualization here.

Data Governance consists of a series of elements that balance the employees’ freedom to produce new analyses and reports and to modify others as well as carry out the necessary verification of data in order to achieve a common image of the situation, i.e. “one set of numbers”.

In order to succeed with a central Data Warehouse that all parts of the enterprise adopt and which can be developed and thereby create value for the business, we recommend designing an architecture that allows for flexibility and which describes the process through which data passes, from the fully open and flexible self-service analysis to the robust, well-documented monthly report that is sent to the Board.

Many new dashboards or enhanced reports or analyses can start in a sandbox environment as a test of a concept, and if they provide the necessary insight after a number of iterations, they can be made into market-specific reports or joint business reports, for example, and then be distributed to all of the units through a shared platform.

With this approach, the life cycle of a report or a dashboard can also be described: Starting as a concept or hypothesis, a report that is often used in a department becomes a company report if its benefits and meaning extend beyond the individual department, and may eventually be discarded if it loses its meaning or is no longer used.

Self-service in connection with the choice of Business Intelligence technologies has been one of the primary business requirements that companies have focused on in recent years.

It makes good sense to ensure that there are opportunities for both standard reporting and independent analysis completion, but experience shows that the concept of “self-service” means very different things for different companies and users.

If a company is accustomed to basing its reporting on distributed PDF reports, then the ability to see the same data in a dynamic report with the option to apply filters, such as periods, countries, product categories, etc. will be perceived as “self-service” for some users. However, business analysts or Data Scientists, who are used to compiling data analyses in multiple configurations, will have far more advanced expectations of a self-service tool.

What is important, therefore, is delivering self-service at the right level for the different user profiles. Regardless of how advanced an organization requires self-service to be in their Business Intelligence solution, if the results of the self-service analyses are to be reliable, it is essential to have an understanding of the data and the logic necessary to conduct meaningful analyses. In this context, a sound Governance process ensures that everyone understands what the basis for an analysis has been.

You can learn more about Data Governance processes here under the “Governance” tab.

Target groups

Four examples of the typical target groups in Business Intelligence solutions:

Visualization of your business-critical data

Kapacity helps companies revitalize existing solutions or develop new reporting solutions based on the latest visualization principles.

Many companies have some form of Business Intelligence solution, ranging from dedicated Data Warehouse platforms and associated analysis and reporting tools to more or less standard Excel reports.

Regardless of the current solution, they just find that it is not good enough. Perhaps you feel the same way. Perhaps your situation is one of the following:

  • You have a BI solution today, but there are far too many reports and most of them are not even used.
  • You have a BI solution today, but you are not convinced that you are really highlighting the most important KPIs for the individual employee. Or, whether they are the right KPIs that are presented in the reports.
  • You are unsure whether your reporting has the intended effect on the business.
  • You have a BI solution today, but you think it looks uninteresting and old-fashioned.

  • You have no BI solution today, but you report in a different way and you feel that a more streamlined analysis and reporting concept could be extremely useful.

We have extensive experience in developing solutions based on the above-mentioned situations as well as transforming such scenarios into visible and inspiring solution proposals. A typical process could be as follows:

Visualization kick-start

Introduction to modern visualization, concepts, and practices.

Visualization kick-start

Our visualization expert guides you through essential visualization principals in order to ensure a common language and common goals for the visualization of your business data.

Your situation and requirements

Ensuring a good start by understanding what really creates value with regard to reporting and visualization.

Your situation and requirements

You present your reporting and visualization vision to us. We go through the requirements already known. We go through the existing reports together. We establish the user profiles, user situations, and relevant KPIs and, of course, we address the choice of tools.

Design workshop

Development of your visualization set-up (layout, structure, navigation, dynamics, and branding)

Design workshop

Based on Kapacity’s know-how, we make common decisions about everything from the placement of information on the screen and general usability features over navigation and storytelling to the use of colors and effects, adjusting to your specific branding requirements.

Conceptua-lization and prototyping

Prototype development so that you can see the resulting outcome quickly

Conceptualization and prototyping

Based on the prepared visualization design, Kapacity quickly generates a prototype. We need a small sample of representative data from you. Together with you, we will review the prototype and define the final design.

Evaluation and conclusion

We agree upon and schedule the next step to be taken.

Evaluation and conclusion

You already have a supply: A design manual and a prototype. The next step may include multiple report development, data processing, production maturing, training, etc. We provide counselling and deliver the best solution for you.

Kompan Playgrounds has established new dashboards – with their own branding.

Kompan and Kapacity have cooperated for several years; among other things, Kapacity has designed the Data Warehouse that feed Kompan’s TARGIT Business Intelligence solution with data.

For the upgrading of their Microsoft Dynamics NAV solution that also included further development of their Data Warehouse, Kompan chose to ask Kapacity to develop new dashboards.

The project started out as a one-day workshop where structure, flows, data, layout, and design were discussed.

Learn more about Kompan’s solution here

More Business Analytics

Kapacity has expertise within all of the disciplines of Business Analytics, including: