Saturday, November 6

5 Ways to Save Organizations Millions

Update: I believe in giving credit where credit is due so it should be mentioned that this post was inspired by another blogger, David Crandall of Heroic Destiny ( and on Twitter: @davidcrandall. He has good content on growing your blog through interviews, which I have also found successful over the years through my 10 Q&A posts with executives. Thanks David!

Two Sides of the Same Coin

We've worked in the field of Business Intelligence for years, cumulatively decades. During that time, we've helped clients save millions of dollars.

We've also been in management positions as the recipient of information from Business Intelligence systems. During those times, we saw business people frustrated, limited, and spending millions of dollars on systems they didn’t have to.

You Are Not Alone

We believe passionately in efficient and effective businesses; and business people being empowered with their own information. Some of you might be thinking, “We have a Data Warehouse and cubes and reports! We have what we need so what are you talking about?”

Excellent question but first I want to share with you WHY I’m even bringing this up. We sat with a prospective client today talking about their current problems. I mentioned they weren’t alone, that I’ve seen this in many organizations, and proceeded to mention a few examples. Then it dawned on me.

I don’t want to tell people “you’re not alone” anymore. I don’t want to share examples of business disempowerment. Instead, I want to tell them they are one of the few left doing it that way!

So the best way to bring about this kind of change is to give away the knowledge. This is scary in an “information is power” industry but the gains/benefits/change out weigh the competitive edge we may lose.

Getting Back to Saving Millions

So what exactly are we giving away? We are sharing with you three ways to start the change within your own organization. We have five ways but we’re keeping two for some competitive advantage!

The goals are to a) save money by reducing costs and automating repetitive tasks, and b) make better decisions with readily available, fresh, accurate information.

Here are three specific ways that can change your organization and save money:

1. Identify significant points of interest

It’s more than asking what reports they need. People require different types of information to base their decisions upon. Look for places where it’s difficult to find answers. Analysts, key individuals, management are good places to start. They may not even know the points of interest they are missing so focus on what’s known first. When points of interest are identified, better decisions can be made.

2. Free people to do more creative work

When someone is doing repetitive tasks, the same task over and over, this is a candidate for automation. When tasks are automated, it frees people to do other creative work or spending time analyzing and producing answers. Find tasks that copy data into spreadsheets, use side of desk documents or databases, or manually aggregate numbers from reports. There is enough work for people without having to do repetitive tasks.

3. Aggregate One or More Sources

Bringing sources of data together will have roadblocks. Privacy of information,who controls the data, who has access to the data are hurdles that can be overcome with the right tack and skill. The benefit is being able to manipulate and translate the data into information. Data quality improvement and aggregating multiple sources can give more accurate answers but are not always needed.

Common sense should prevail for this point. And lots of it! I’m reminded of the adage, “when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. So keep in mind a centralized data warehouse isn’t always the answer. If one already exists, adding to it isn’t always the answer either. Think: efficiency, value versus cost, and that the business is constantly changing. Typically data warehouses are unable to keep up to business change.

And here's a bonus point for 3.5 ways that we're giving away.

Different Tools for Different Roles

Finding the available tools in the Business Intelligence market is hard. There are so many. However, choosing the ‘best fit’ tool can be even harder when you include the politics, costs, and persuasive sales people. We’ll talk more about this in a later post.

You may have realized while reading this post that these techniques do more than just save money, they also help your decision makers. We find when we go through this process with clients, they come away with a focus on what they really need to know and the importance of giving decision makers and analysts access to the information.