With 22 years of experience in the enterprise resource planning and managed services space, Oracle Platinum Partner CD Group has particular expertise in business intelligence (BI) and analytics. Naushad Siddiqui, director of analytics at CD Group, discusses the business impacts of the right BI tools and what the future holds for the field.
Why should companies invest in BI and analytics tools?
The primary reason is to make better-informed, faster decisions. Huge amounts of data are available to companies these days, and the pace of business demands operating on that data at top speed. When companies invest in BI and analytics tools, they’re committing to the idea that they can get valuable insights from their data, and that those insights can underpin smarter, more strategic decisions that in turn generate great profits. Too many companies still rely on spreadsheets, but they aren’t sufficient to handle today’s data volumes from multiple sources alone. It is becoming growingly unattractive to have everyone in the organization armed with different versions of the truth via their own personally maintained spreadsheets.
What trends do you see in the analytics space?
Generally people are seeking the most cost-effective means for distributing BI offerings throughout their enterprise, including the adoption of cloud-based solutions such as those offered by Oracle. We’re also seeing an increase in demand for user self-service BI tools, primarily because people seeking to do the analysis don’t want to wait on IT to get the data they need. They want their data on demand, just like everything else is these days.
What are some of the challenges facing executives who are serious about their BI and analytics?
What exactly to analyze is always a big question. Companies have access to vast amounts of data that can be analyzed, and with the evolution of big data there’s always more out there. It’s impractical to analyze all available data, so the question becomes, “Which pieces of information are more important than others?” Another issue that comes up is who in a company should do the analysis. You don’t want to turn everyone in your business into a full-time analyst—someone has to actually run the business. We frequently see companies getting a little over-eager and distributing analytics tools to every end user in the company. Companies are better served when conscious decisions are made on who should be consuming analytics output and who should be producing it. This is referred to as a governance structure of analytics.
Where do companies get the biggest and fastest return on investment with BI and analytics solutions?
We see customers most frequently focusing on inventory, purchasing, sales, and profit analysis. All four of these areas provide clear, measurable ROI. The best opportunities for return should be tied to the business strategy of the company. This should be the starting point for ROI thinking.
Why does CD Group partner with Oracle in the BI and analytics space?
Oracle consistently earns a spot among the leading BI solution vendors over the last decade. It offers the right tools and technology to handle the BI requirements for enterprises of all sizes. Oracle provides a comprehensive portfolio of BI and analytics tools. Regardless of which tier of the BI technology stack you’re dealing with, Oracle has a product to address it. Whether you need support with a database or with the presentation end of your data (i.e. reports, dashboards, and scorecards), Oracle provides integrated solutions that scale with minimal effort.
At CD Group, we first focus on understanding what exactly a business needs in order to be successful and stay competitive.”
How does CD Group add value to Oracle’s BI and analytics solutions?
At CD Group, we first focus on understanding what exactly a business needs in order to be successful and stay competitive. This information should be sourced from the business strategy. We talk to the executives to understand the key decisions that they need to make on a regular basis. Then we work backwards and identify the metrics that support those decisions, and then we figure out how technology can be leveraged. The result is the building of analytics output to put people in a better informed position to make key decisions. From our perspective, technology is an enabler to help achieve what the business has deemed important.
Going forward, what will be the challenges you’ll be helping your customers deal with?
The biggest challenge is optimizing the use of BI and analytics tools to match the personal preferences of individual users. With the quickly expanding list of available technology options and variety of personal preferences, this can be a daunting task. The “one size fits all” approach is as ineffective as the “let all the flowers grow” approach. We must help companies determine what combinations will produce the best results for their situation. We must also be prepared for this to change as technology and people’s preferences change. The second challenge is to help businesses make sure that individual users are focused on making the most important decisions well.
What do you think is the next phase for BI and analytics in general?
Companies will move their BI applications to the cloud as costs come down and access speeds improve. Customers will shift more of their focus to leading indicators, or predictive analytics. They’ll use the data that’s available to them on a transaction basis to model the future. I think we will also see analytics reflected in visuals. The numbers will still be there, but the human eye and brain respond much more quickly to color and shapes than they do to digits. Finally, mobile devices will play a bigger role in the BI and analytics space. Integration will be advanced enough that people will be able to take “on the fly” action across their back-end systems from a dashboard on their phones and tablets rather than having to be in the office.
CD Group is a full-service consultancy for Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and Oracle enterprise management solutions that focuses on leveraging technology solutions to solve business problems. Its offerings to its clients include implementation, training, and managed services. When it comes to data sources for business analytics, CD Group offers expertise in the use of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, Oracle E-Business Suite, and Oracle’s PeopleSoft enterprise resource planning solutions. The company also has proficiency in data warehousing, Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition and Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite tools, Oracle Essbase and Oracle Hyperion Financial Reporting, and Oracle Business Intelligence Applications implementation.
CD Group has extensive experience in helping clients mine data from sales, inventory, purchasing, general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and merchandise financial planning, and the company has mapped its Accelerate Data Warehouse solution for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne.
At CD Group, the approach to analytics and enterprise resource planning is focused on producing sound metrics that will inform critical decision making. Implementations of Oracle BI and analytics solutions include thorough assessment of clients’ business needs, installation, and training. The company offers ongoing post-go-live support through a managed services offering. CD Group also serves a spectrum of clients, from those with relatively simple analytics needs to those with very complex ones.This advertorial was originally published in the JD Edwards 2014 Special edition of Profit.
CD Group and Oracle
For more information, visit www.cdgroup.com
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