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Blog January 12, 2016

Expertise packaged as a service

I my previous blog “A cancelled recording is still a recording” I expressed my frustration at the decisions that are not being made regarding BI and what the effect of this is. It is my conviction that all companies and organisations need some form of BI, and they need to reach as many people as possible with this. The winners will be those that are quickest to achieve an outcome where everyone can say: I know what is important right now, I know how this works and I am acting in line with this. Feel free to try that sentence yourself. Is the answer yes?

So how do we counteract these “non-decisions” and achieve a result quickly? My short, direct answer is that we need to refine our roles. As a BI provider we must be clearer when offering our expertise. Above all, we need to make sure that our packaged solutions contain clearly defined value and a cost, ideally in the form of a service. The recipient of BI can then focus on what they want to achieve with a BI solution instead of the solution itself. It is astonishing how often these roles are reversed.

A desirable scenario is, for example, a customer who has identified cash flow as a problem area. This information goes a long way towards helping me in my role as a BI expert to be able to draw up a solution in order to visualise all available data relevant to cash flow and thus give the customer fact-based data on which to make a decision. What decisions are made is up to the customer, in the same way that the customer does not need to become too involved in the choice of a solution. So why not let us deliver a cash flow analysis as a service and make a monthly charge? Another scenario is that the customer wants to measure and analyse a process, or why not go the whole way, the customer describes a desired, optimal process and we as a provider implement it together with BI. More about this in future articles.

An optimal service process integrated with BI.

An effective BI solution brings a dramatic increase in the prospects of executing your plans successfully. Among our customers, BI has moved in a short time from being something that is nice to have, a supplement to reports, to being a business-critical system and a necessity in order to keep up with the competition. It’s like most things in the field of business development, what is luxury today is a necessity tomorrow. The most successful of our customers are now using their BI solution together with their own customers, and are seeing a clear effect in the form of increased profitability and customer loyalty. I have to admit a sense of tangible frustration with all of these non-decisions when it comes to BI, and my frustration is not lessened by the fact that they are largely self-inflicted.

Why wait to invest in BI? Here are some of the most common arguments:

  • We don’t have the time or the resources at the moment and will have to make do with what we have.
  • We’re planning to change our business system in 1-2 years. At the moment we’re focusing on increased profitability and cost savings.
  • Everyone’s busy with the year-end accounts, we’ll deal with it next year.
  • Our data quality is too poor.
  • Don’t really know what we should follow up.

The arguments listed here are all very good arguments for actually not waiting one more day to invest more in BI. I listened to Kjell A Nordström during “Enfo Evolution Day”, and one of his clearest pieces of advice was to change and invest before it becomes a necessity. When it’s a necessity, it’s often too late, and this really is the case with BI. Back to my frustration with non-decisions, which is actually largely based on the fact that we as a BI provider need to be even clearer about benefits, how we can help you to realise your strategies, but perhaps mainly to deliver BI in a different way. A way involving greater responsibility, a total undertaking and using a minimum of the customer’s resources. I’ll go into more detail about how we do this in my next blog.

Hans Eriksson, Sales Director, Enfo Pointer