Business Intelligence is necessary for small business, and doesn’t need to be confusing.
When I started my career in Business Intelligence, only big companies with big IT budgets and large IT departments dared an implementation. Nearly twenty years later, lots of technological changes and advancements have transpired. Everyone knows about these changes, they’re relatively obvious; from low cost high power computers to mobilization, to social media and more... tech is broad reaching and prolific.
Much like the realization of the mid 1990’s that a business must be on the web, to be taken seriously and compete, the same realization is being made by small businesses with respect to Business Intelligence. Although technology and marketing has made it possible for small business to seriously consider a Business Intelligence solution, the sheer number of options and confusing buzzwords and claims can confound even the most tech-savvy CEO or CFO.
I have witnessed more misdirected, misguided, and botched Business Intelligence initiatives than I care to recount. Most of this wasted effort, time, and money can be attributed to two things; first is the endless tech jargon and alphabet soup of IT. I personally believe this first element is an intentional attempt at making things confusing to obscure how things are actually working in the physical world. The second reason is pride and protection of one’s own solution, or the solution of the company they happen to be working for is the only solution. These are the reasons I decided to start my own consulting company (Univant) five years ago. We work at eliminating these two killers of a good IT solution.
Unique challenges of Business Intelligence in a small to medium sized business.
The first challenge faced by small to medium sized businesses attempting to implement a Business Intelligence solution is a lack of skilled IT staff on-hand. Most of the big players in the Business Intelligence space, like Oracle (Hyperion), IBM (Cognos), and Microsoft (Sharepoint) assume that a full-time team of IT Database Administrators, and Developers are on hand to implement and maintain the system.
This first challenge is part of my personal assertion that a one-size-fits-all mentality exists within the big Business Intelligence companies. Simply put, they just can’t think in terms of a small business and expect that you just implement their solution their way. When working on a solution with Univant, the first order of business is to get to know you and your business. Only then, can we assume to know which solution is best and how it should be implemented. If you contact Oracle or IBM, I’m pretty sure they each have a different opinion on which solution will work for you.
The marketing departments of these big Business Intelligence companies will have you believe that the smaller / lower-end and open source solutions are impractical to implement. In some cases they’re right, open source can be difficult and usually requires specialized knowledge of programming. However times are changing and many of these companies have been leveraging the open source community in their own products.
The next big challenge for small business, especially at the smaller end of the spectrum is that time is at a premium and implementing a Business Intelligence solution (especially when using a solution from the big guys) takes time and money. The reality of making a costly mistake is very real.
Taking a phased approach to implementing a Business Intelligence solution.
Using a blended and phased approach is the best way to approach Business Intelligence at smaller businesses. Beginning with a hybrid Open-Source commercial product with a Hybrid cloud implementation provides the most immediate ROI, as well as the room to grow in any direction. Add to this that the pricing structure is also very small at the outset and can be managed as you grow your solution.
Univant is not only uniquely qualified to understand the struggles of small business, we are also users of Open Source Business Intelligence, as well as partners with more than one Business Intelligence companies. We also have experience in implementing commercial and open source projects in a variety of industries.
Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions are not always the best in the long run.
Sometimes the quickest is not always the best, sometimes it is… However, rather than simply making that assumption, and signing on for a subscription based one-size-fits-all solution a quick evaluation of your needs can save you big.
For a quick no cost, no obligation evaluation visit our page and fill out our Business Intelligence Interest Form.
Univant’s extensive project experience helps you design and build a business intelligence solution molded to the requirements of your project, whether you are a new small business owner or a fortune 500 company. We save you time and money by delivering a solid business intelligence platform that allows for easy report, dashboard and analytics development now and powerful growth in the future. We have experience with many commercial and open source business intelligence platforms and provide your team the expertise to jump start their business intelligence initiative.
We typically work with a project team to identify BI needs, select the appropriate BI platform, and then help them to design and deliver the appropriate solution for their project. We focus on providing BI that integrates with your project, so that users find their BI and reporting to be seamless with the rest of the project application.
Univant's design services are focused on the creation of compelling information, rich reports, and analytics that your users can take full advantage of with minimum effort. Rather than sit back and wait for requirements to be passed to us, we actively work with your business analysts, data administrators and users to discover the stories that your project users need to compliment your application.
Our strategy services work with the business, system architects and technical leads to ensure the solution we present integrates with your overall business intelligence systems. Sometimes this means that the solution integrates or grows into an enterprise business intelligence system. Other times we craft a solution that is focused on your project infrastructure. We focus on the solution that matches your projects budget and goals, which will save you time and money.
Univant's training services will teach your developers to use their business intelligence assets the right way. Our instructor led training provides a great mixture of explanation, demonstration and practice. Univant's data management services will help your team to fully capitalize both on the data assets that your users need, whether they are owned by your project or are incorporated from some other source. Finally, Univant's support services provides access to experts that can help you with development, deployment or production issues.
At Univant we find the Eclipse Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) to be one of the premier BI tools. One of the greatest strengths of this product is its flexibility. It can be utilized by any sized business in any industry, as long as the right people are working on it for you.
The BIRT project is an open source project that is focused on the design, generation and delivery of reports and charts. BIRT is a full-feature open source project that matches or exceeds the functionality of many commercial BI tools. Designed from the ground up to support web based, multi-lingual reporting, BIRT is appropriate for Projects, Enterprises, or Embedded/Product solutions.
Univant can help your team design and build the BIRT platform they desire in a cost effective manner, using either open source BIRT or a commercial application of the technology from Actuate/OpenText. Our experience with all aspects of BIRT combined with our expertise in building business intelligence solutions will accelerate your teams' adoption of BIRT.
Univant delivers services that cover the entire range of BIRT technology and product development lifecycle including:
We have been seeing lots of blog posts, and articles on the question of "BI on Premises or in the Cloud"? I personally remember the days when it was a simple choice, with the exception of one solution everyone using DSS / BI were using the systems in a Client - Server architecture. Almost every product was limited to installing servers and installing a BI Client on their users desktops. Then along came the push to make it all available through any browser.
This meant the server now needed to have a webserver implemented and didn't rely on proprietary application servers, rather a Tomcat or any other web application server would do. This of course meant that you had to deploy your BI solution as a full fledged web application, with security and all the rules imposed by good web deployment practices to make sure the appropriate user had access to the appropriate level of information no matter which browser they happen to be using.
Eventually this evolved into the discussion here and now; "do we host or do we use cloud?" is the question of the day in 2017.
as I said, lots of resources are out there, but our question is "Why not a blended solution"? We are able to deliver an application which uses the latest in API utilization to minimize the need to make the decision at all.
even so, here is a nice write-up for those who might want another perspective: Data Pipeline Blog
This offer is for new clients only, and includes 4 hours evaluation and setup. Additional hours, if needed will be discounted if you purchase the system.