it comes to business intelligence (BI), there is a broad end-user continuum.
In your organization there are highly skilled corporate business analysts
who need advanced query functionality and dynamic drill-down capabilities.
Your executives need balanced scorecards and dashboards to monitor business
activities and to ensure alignment between corporate strategies and tactical
execution. Then, there are your information consumers who need
business updates but do not require deep analytic functionality, as well
as your partners and customers who will want to use
your portals and extranets to appropriately access subsets of business
data. This user continuum requires BI that is seamlessly integrated into
the rest of your corporate infrastructure, such as your portals. Across
this expanse are numerous systems and technologies — SAP and non-SAP
For those tasked with responsibility
for a BI infrastructure, this user continuum poses a profound challenge.
How do you guarantee that heterogeneous data gets properly integrated
and converted to business insights while providing consistent information
from one user to the next, from one functional group to the next, and
from one analytic application to the next? In the wake of disconnected,
disparate results, I’ve seen departments at odds with one another,
challenging each other on who has the “real truth.” How can
you even begin to make that determination when analytic functions for
marketing, finance, and logistics applications may utilize different BI
models, measures, and key figures — and might be accessing differing
transactional systems? The answer is, you can’t.
To minimize latency between business
insights and corresponding actions, BI functions must be built into transactional
and analytic applications from the start, so that the underlying BI platform
is pervasive and there can be no debate. This is why analytic functions
are now embedded within all SAP applications. Operating off a common BI
infrastructure, all users — from your customer to your CEO, from
your shipping department to your finance team — interact with consistent
data and common insights.
SAP NetWeaver is the enabling technology
that supports this infrastructure. Our integration and application platform
enables the BI infrastructure to be an integrated, end-to-end, BI solution
— from extraction, data modeling, data warehousing, and reporting
to analytic processes. This integration makes deployments faster and cheaper.
Synchronized release cycles of the various NetWeaver components yield
radically reduced downstream TCO and fast ROI.
But success in today’s business
climate is not just a matter of cost savings. You must utilize your BI
investment to ensure business activities are clearly aligned with corporate
strategies. You need to monitor and improve upon current practices. And
you need to continually identify, evaluate, and act upon new opportunities.
Universal pressure to do to this, and to do it well, has catapulted BI
to one of the leading business priorities. As you address this requirement,
remember that a common, consistent, and pervasive approach for converting
data into insights is the key to your success.