BI tools for tactical decision-making?

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Hi guys,

Which BI tools are available for tactical decision-making in organizations?

Are there any special components of BI tools which make them the most suitable for low level management/tactical level?

Anonymous avatar x30
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24 Answers

Drcube li?1414329984
DrCubeReal UserTOP 20

The questions is very vague. However for low level users the most obvious tool for analysis is Excel PowerPivot available in Microsoft Office 2010 and 2013 possibly augmented with PowerQuery for user-friendly data transformation and reporting tool. If the decisions from the data analysis need to be fed into a performance management tool (CPM) then there are many available typically based on OLAP technology such as Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS). SSAS can also be used to publish PowerPivot models and reports for multiple users known as SSAS-Tabular models.
Small operations like the 500 person government organization mentioned would be foolish to adopt a complex BI toolset when Microsoft tools they probably already own can deliver everything they will need with a little help from one of the many independent Microsoft BI consultants available on this ubiquitous platform. (I am not a Microsoft employee or agent.)

Like (0)27 April 15
Anonymous avatar x30

Hi,  For tactical or operational decision making the primary requirement is to be able to get real time reporting and access transactional systems for the same. Today most of the enterprise BI reporting tools like SAP BO, IBM Cognos, Oracle OBIEE, or MSBI allows to do that. Even open source tools like Pentaho, jasper allows for that. Another factor which is an important consideration (in my opinion) is the usability or ease of use of the products and the cost. In this regard SAP BO is the tool for ease of use while from cost perspective open source tools are the best bet. So in a nutshell the suggestion would be to create a proper model and connectivity and use tools like pentaho, jasper for pervasive use. Hope this helps, regards.

Like (0)15 January 15
Paulo gomes li?1417117828

Hi,

A very approach to BI: www.wizdee.com

Cheers,

Like (0)14 January 15
Anonymous avatar x30

My suggestion will be Qlikview for Tactical, on the fly analysis...which
has social discovery (analysis shared across different geo's with
annotations...). Another cost effective suggestion would be R analytics -
open source analytics tool...

Regards,
Navin

Like (0)14 January 15
Anonymous avatar x30

We are using Pentaho to build the reports, using Interactive and
Analytical reports.

-Savita

Like (0)14 January 15
Andrew mcswiggan li?1414334204

Tableau is probably the most appropriate tool to consider for a quick implementation in order to blend data from multiple data sources including spreadsheets , corporate databases and sources such as Google Analytics. You can quickly get up and running with Tableau desktop and you can test drive with a 14 day free licence. Tableau is also appropriate if you are deploying enterprise Bi From a central data warehouse and has a server and cloud server options for enterprise deployments.

Like (0)13 January 15
Anonymous avatar x30

Most of the tools mentioned above work fine. For "dashboards" and good visual interfaces, QlikView and Tableau are quite popular. For more enterprise strength reporting and analytics, SAP BusinessObjects and Cognos have been around for a long time (and MicroStrategy as well) and are stable products. My own experience and perspective is that most of the time, the tool question is not the major issue - I would suggest focusing on the data (quality, availability and governance). You should be able to get all the data you need quickly into one place. Once you have this nailed down, most tools work fine for basic operational reporting.

Like (0)13 January 15
Gerald caussade li?1419884811

Like the others, I'm struggling a bit to understand what you need. I would like to guess that tactical is likely less of a dashboard view and the ability to slice and dice as well as create ad-hoc reports. But, often there is a great need for pre-built queries, too. So, you may have power users create reports or queries and then share them with others. I agree that for dashboards Qlikview is great. Business Objects helps simplify the structure, run pre-canned queries and is a very mature product since it's been around since the early 90's.

I'd like to add that you should look at MicroStrategy, too. It depends on your industry. A niche player is Dimensional Insight, since they have solutions that are perfect for certain types of customer segments. Similarly, Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy is a genius, and he's made sure they market and fine tune their solutions on particular verticals.

I'd like to add that while you are looking for tactical solutions, BI is very focused on having someone perform the queries or develop the reports that understands the data, don't forget real "big data" analytical tools. For example, we use simMachines and have had spectacular results at 1/10th of the cost of other tools for our health care customers. SimMachines' engine is used by ICANN.org on the top level domain controller that help run the entire Internet. The engine looks at terabytes of data each day in near real-time to find security issues. I was impressed and used the simMachines tech for CT scan utilization prediction and lowering readmission rates for hospital customers. So, while BI will help you tactically, big data algorithms are an important adjunct because they find similarities and patterns that a human will not find. That's what is so "magical" about them.

Like (0)13 January 15
Reviewer78465 li?1414329971
John BeckerConsultantPOPULAR

Your question is a good one!

The question you've raised and the issues related to it cut to the very heart of what performance management is, along with the potential range of business benefits/value that we as performance managers can bring to the table ... that is, if our topmost business leaders are listening :)

And it's truly our job to be sure they are.

The beginnings of tactical business intelligence of course lies in the core business systems that we and our various other professional colleagues populate and maintain to operate our businesses. It's in our key business processes, as well as the associated software-driven systems that represent those key business processes that our companies' business data resides.

We can either do a good job selecting and providing quality assurance for that level of performance data, or we can do little/basically ignore that data and how it's collected, and we will either enjoy or suffer the consequences.

Here I am speaking of such systems/data management tools as:

1) ERP - we use Sage
2) HRIS - once again, we use Sage
3) Help Desk - we use Vistara
4) Since we are in the oil pipeline business, SCADA - we use ICONICS (but this also holds for manufacturing, utilities, other energy enterprises, etc.)
5) Business Process Management itself - we use iDatix, etc.

In order to be sure that we maintain the integrity of the data coming from those systems out to our over arching/ strategic BI system/solution (we use Information Builders, Incorporated/IBI), we need to be certain from the start that each of those key business processes' systems are truly well integrated with our BI solution.

We provide this integration both horizontally and vertically through the use of Sequel databases and connectors, and as such that aspect of both the tactical databases and our strategic/BI database must be Sequel ready/ compatible.

One of the key reasons that we have been so selective with our choices for each of our key business processes, as well as our strategic BI solution (IBI) is that our #1 value at the Phenix Energy Group is End User Experience.

To that end, here are a few reasons for our choice of IBI as that over arching/strategic, as well as tactical BI choice:

1) All of IBI's screens are intuitive,
2) They have gone through great pains to develop their drag and drop capabilities for the convenience of employees, supervisors, managers and executives self-exploring the best combinations of data to include, as well as for choosing the best presentation designs to use when making our powerful BI presentations for consumption by our staff, our company leaders, our shareholders, and for our customers.
3) IBI is now finalizing a major data visualization/animation effort in collaboration with our company's leaders to allow us to graphically depict three variables moving in their relationships over time (a la Hans Rosling's presentations on TEDTalks).
4) Whether we are working on BI at a tactical level as per the question in question, or at a more strategic level for the enterprise as a whole, BI results must be informative, useful/used, captivating, if not enthralling, leading us to bis issue answers, rather than forcing us to simply work further to answer yet more questions, and ideally our BI results presentations must even be entertaining :)

I could go on, but let me end my response to this good question by saying that, I/we at the Phenix Energy Group believe that end user experience is as key to our success in BI as is senior leadership truly owning the performance improvement and business intelligence processes in our businesses right along, hand-in-hand with us.

Word of Caution:

Great BI systems don't come cheap, but in the end, I'm absolutely sure you'll agree, you get what you pay for.

Like (0)13 January 15
Anonymous avatar x30

We are using Qlikview for our reports and dashboards as it is real time laying over top of SAP. We use Business Objects for many of our reporting needs as well but had our challenges with the conversion to SAP from Oracle using Business Objects. The data warehouse used to be standard BW from SAP but the tables and joins were very confusing, we are now using SAP Data Services to populate the FACT tables and did our validation from there. List of values comes back much quicker, reports are running much quicker and the updates to the data warehouse are more timely. This is great for any historical reporting or data analysis but it is not good for real time operational reports which is why we also use Qlikview and have created some of our own custom reports that we get from SAP. The nice part about using Business Objects is that you can schedule the reports to run at any time and can see the history after they are 'bursted' to a central file location or an email address or multiple email addresses. I've used Business Objects since 1999 and have had great results as a reporting tool but the dashboards from Qlikview are hard to compete with because they are so clear!

Like (0)13 January 15
Jacques botbol li?1414335007
Jacques BotbolReal UserTOP 10

I would definitely look into Panorama Necto!

Like (0)13 January 15
Anonymous avatar x30

We are a local government agency that uses QlikView primarily for operational performance management. I think that's what you are interested in. TO learn more about how we use, it, see our video on YouTube:  http://youtu.be/C4NOrlebjCM.  "Business Intelligence and the Austin Fire Department".

Feel free to contact me for further info...so nice that in government we can share.

Like (0)13 January 15
Jose sifontes li?1421162382
Jose SifontesReal User

On the more affordable end, the new Excel 2013 powerview dashboards are pretty decent. Mid range you can use Qlikview or Tableau, SAP Lumira etc. This is all for the sake of interacting with the data via Dashboards, etc something that provides the end user with the information they need and the ability to explore the data without a high amount of IT involvement. (self service)

Like (0)13 January 15
Sudipta sarkar li?1414340885

Hi,

Low level management normally require much more granular transactional data while senior management is focused on summarized view.
The key is to have the granular data fed into the database tables.
Regards,
Sudipta Sarkar

Like (0)13 January 15
Evan cutler li?1414331950
Evan CutlerReal User

We are using internal reporting for most of our stuff. Our finances reside on the Banner System, and we use reports from there.
However, we have just gotten into Excel reporting.

Like (0)13 January 15
Paul brenchley li?1421070144

Excel 2013 or Office 265 utilising the Power extensions works

Like (0)13 January 15
Anonymous avatar x30

A common challenge with almost any low level management BI tooling revolves around security. Most of the BI vendors today IMO do not have the security framework in place to handle correct row level security for true Enterprise handling. This is true for SAP BOE, Pentaho, QV, Tableau etc. I'm not saying they don't have mechanisms in place for row level security but their frameworks and design tools are not centralized enough and most do not support multi tenancy OOB. Depending on the size of your organization you could potentially attain the best ROI by just using current standard tools within your organization. For example, if you're already an MS shop, you could leverage the power of Excel and MS SQL Server using PowerPivot and manage or delegate the security to the database. If you have an aggressive IT staff you could even leverage open source columnar databases. As for components at this level, you will find most value in those that offer slice and dice/ drill thru / drill replace and those that support report bursting for department and unit level reporting. I suppose even dashboards could be considered usable at the tactical level as well. For example, if you had near real time visuals of a ticketing system for example or hours logged by unit/department to help drive accountability etc.

Like (0)13 January 15
Stuart knapp li?1414329800
Stuart KnappConsultantTOP 20

I think the terminology you are looking for is: Operational vs Analytic or maybe “Strategic (Long term) vs Tactical (Short Term)”

Operational is the reporting that is needed to run the business..Invoicing, Daily Sales, GL Financials, Purchase Orders, etc..

Analytic is the “reporting”, and I use the term loosely, as it could be any form of delivering information for consumption..i.e. dashboards, E-mail alerts, Predictive (forcasts, etc).

Many BI Suites offer tools for each type of information Delivery.

I think your question is also more geared to the data that is available in an organization. Data to support tactical decisions is often either Real-Time or directly sourced from the transactional systems, where the strategic decisions are often based on some sort of Data Mart, Data Warhouse, etc..

Hope this helps!

Like (0)13 January 15
Francesco principe li?1418641588

Hi,
what do you mean with "tactical decision"?
You are speaking about ETL tools or Pentaho portal plugin?
If you are speaking about ETL, I think that the best tool is SPOON,
beacause, its learning curve is very flat and it has the connectivity
driver for every existing database. Moreover enterprise edition have
connectivity also for ERP or HR systems like SALSEFORCE.
If we are speaking about Portal plugin in the CE Edition, I think that
SAIKU plugin is the right compromise to ANALYZER della Enterprise Edition.

If you need more info contact me I'll try to answer to your questions.

Regards
Francesco Principe

Like (0)13 January 15
Anonymous avatar x30

Hello,

There are some BI tools that can help in a project with various user levels
(beginners to advanced).

SAP BusinessObjects, is a tool with great potential of governance, which is
very important for a successful Business Intelligence project. In addition
to integration with Microsoft BI, which reduces the total investment of the
project.

The suite also provides ETL software for the construction of a Data
Warehouse (analytical database).

Microsoft BI is a complementary solution for novice users or who has more
knowledge with MS Office.

Hope this helps.

Like (0)13 January 15
Frederic waeber li?1414337353

I can suggested another way: BIME analytics
Easy to use / Very Quick ROI / innovative and relevant Financial Approach.
You can realise a POC (Proof Of Concept) in 5 days: 2 or dashboards with 4 or 8 KPI.

Like (0)13 January 15
Anonymous avatar x30
Nick RosarioReal User

Any tool with slice and dice functionality will help you on that task.
At the end what matters is the ROI and that your users and your support team knows how to use it.

QlikView is an excellent data discovery tool.

Like (0)13 January 15
Zeev grinberg li?1418830144
Zeev GrinbergReal User

QlikView

Like (0)13 January 15
Anonymous avatar x30

Jaspersoft--component of Tibco Analytics

Like (0)13 January 15
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