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Business Intelligence & Data Analytics involves the methodologies, processes, architectures and technologies that collect, compile and deliver data to reveal insights and help businesses make faster decisions and operate more efficiently.  NOREX members recently discussed best practice and tools for establishing a BI practice in their organizations.

TThe first portion of the session focused on the following organizational considerations:

·         Is this an IT or business unit responsibility?

·         Is the approach centralized or de-centralized?

·         What comes first, governance or the tool?

“Business sets the requirements. IT delivers the solution.”

“IT has the most knowledge on BI and analytics and we are working with and educating the business. Eventually, it may reside more with the business.”

“Centralization could depend on the organization's maturity. For example, for newer Analysts, having a centralized org could help educate and then the individuals could go back out into the business after a certain level of capability is achieved.”

“Develop a business intelligence and analytics roadmap first.”

“We did a proof of concept to demonstrate what a data warehouse can provide and if it is what users expect before implementing a full solution.”

“Same here, just finished a first pilot, starting pilot 2; and in the process of building our 3yr roadmap.”

“Our governance covers access. Before users have access to PowerBI, they needed to have approved access to a data source.”

“Executive sponsorship has been key for us!  With their support this has become a corporate goal.”

Business Intelligence & Analytics tools

The majority of the session involved discussion on the most commonly used BI tools with many pros and cons shared. The following poll should have included Oracle’s OBIEE, which several participants are using.  PowerBi, SSAS, SSIS and SSRS are Microsoft products which seem to be gaining considerable market share.

We are concerned with some of the limitations that PowerBI has, specifically around how it handles random sampling.  We will have an evaluation for PowerBI and Tableau.”

“For our proof of concept, we ran into some limitations with PowerBI. We used a company called Numetric to finish the POC. We are still evaluating.”

“Our Proof of Concept also identified some limitations; we are having conversations with Microsoft about our discoveries and how Power BI can become more robust.”

“For us Tableau has been the easiest, followed by PowerBI, OBIEE has been more difficult.”

“PowerBI takes quite a bit of time to configure and customize to achieve a functional dashboard.  Azure will be replacing PowerBI with Cloudyn, which has already taken place in Azure Enterprise.”

“We have found PowerBI to meet all our needs so far.”

“We are starting with an evaluation of Power BI because it is available and included in our existing office 365 subscription.”

“In our deployment of ServiceNow, Power BI is on top of the application. This requires no need to transfer the date into another visualization tool.”

“We generally like our OBIEE environment.  We purchased some pre-built content from Oracle that is rarely used.  We primarily use custom content.”

“Using SSRS but exploring PowerBI.”

“Currently doing analysis to determine which set of tools will best meet the needs across multiple state agencies and city/county partners.  Many of them are being utilized across the state.”

“Mainly working with SSRS but looking at some other tools.”

“Must help business adopt the tools with training and support.”

Key takeaways and comments from participants

o   Governance over tools

o   Great insight into other implementations of different tools being used at other organizations

o   No matter what tool is being used, the underlying considerations are all the same.

o   All the different types of tools companies are using.  What is easier vs. harder to work with and how others are getting buy in from users.

o   A lot of people are wading into BI. 

o   It sounds like we need to start looking at the features and capabilities of Power BI and Tableau, and compare this to our existing OBIEE implementation.  We started with OBIEE as sort of a default on our ERP, but we have observed that our user base does not use the pre-built Oracle content that we purchased.  They regularly use our custom content.  Perhaps our custom content may be more accessible with a different tool.

o   Learning that we're not alone in some of the challenges we're facing. That governance is important for BI success.

o   Interesting to know everyone struggles with data.

o   Governance is most important. 

o   I appreciated the input regarding some processes and questions that I can ask users to help manage the expectations during our PowerBi testing phase.

o   Phased hybrid approach seems to be the optimal path to a successful implementation and small group high-touch training with sufficient follow up would be necessary for success in the business.

o   Learning more about the BI tools

o   Very informative

o   Liked it

o   This was helpful, easy to access and participate

o   Interesting

o   Good format.  My first WebForum.  Learned a lot. 

o   This was my first time attending.  I enjoyed it and will attend in the future.

o   Good forum.  Lots of interactions. We learned things and it was good to hear from people.

o   I wish there had been a little more discussion, however I did get some good information and I can see that it is a very useful format for conversation and networking.

o   Great user-group town hall type meeting environment for sharing ideas and lessons learned.

o   Very organized; good feedback

o   This was my first webforum, moderator did a good job. 

For further information, read the transcript of this discussion:  Business Intelligence & Data Analytics

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