One of the core roles of an IT organization is to deliver timely, accurate, and customized information to business decision makers — but the volume and flow of business intelligence (BI) information continues to increase rapidly. At Intel IT, for example, we currently manage and store 18 petabytes of data, and data storage requirements are growing at a rate of 35% per year.
At the same time, rapidly changing business requirements make it imperative that users can quickly access, analyze, and make decisions based on this information. These requirements mandate increasing collaboration and interaction between business units, streamlining and improving interaction with customers and partners, and enabling employees to become more productive and efficient. Intel IT was able to successfully meet these needs by setting and fulfilling four key goals, all rooted in online BI; we encourage other IT organizations to set their sights on these goals as well.
#1: Facilitate Growth with Online Solutions
Working in close partnership with internal business stakeholders, Intel IT created several innovative online solutions that are helping to facilitate business growth and forge closer links with customers, business partners, and employees while increasing productivity and efficiency:
- A new consumer website provides customers with an interactive, personalized way to learn about and share their experiences with Intel products.
- A business-to-business portal makes it easier for business partners to work with Intel by providing faster, customized access to all the online business applications they need.
- A salesforce portal saves sales employees two hours per week on average, while business dashboards simplify executive decision making.
Each of these unique solutions uses web-based technology to intelligently deliver custom information to meet specific users’ needs — providing more intuitive access to multiple applications and content integrated from multiple sources, and enabling users to rapidly access, assimilate, and use the information to make better decisions and create efficiencies for the business.
These new IT solutions for BI have been rapidly adopted by both external and internal users, and are already delivering benefits to Intel’s business.
#2: Grow Online Consumer Business
Consumers and business professionals are increasingly researching and buying products online, while sharing information about these products through social media. To better serve a changing customer base, Intel needed to transform its online presence.
Intel’s existing consumer website was limited in several ways. For example, it used static pages and lacked support for social media capabilities, such as support forums, blogs, and communities. In 2007, Intel IT and Intel’s Sales and Marketing Group (SMG) initiated a joint project to define the business requirements and necessary IT capabilities for the website. The goal was to facilitate Intel’s growth while cost-effectively supporting customers online.
The new consumer-facing site went online in early 2008 and transformed Intel’s online presence with dynamic, interactive content, including social media capabilities that provide a variety of user experiences using a common infrastructure.
Users have rapidly adopted these new capabilities and can now interact with Intel and each other, providing feedback, rating existing content, and posting their own content, including videos. These capabilities further enhance the user experience, encouraging collaboration and information sharing. Plus, they are also helping Intel bring new product information to more regions of the world sooner.
#3: Satisfy the Needs of Business Partners
Intel’s ability to satisfy the needs of our business partners — to make it easy and efficient for them to work with us — is extremely important. To do business with Intel, our partners were originally using legacy capabilities that had grown organically over the years, were hard to use, and did not offer a consistent user experience across applications.
Our goal was to develop new capabilities that provide partners with simple, consistent, and secure access to all the applications and information they need and to achieve a successful deployment by balancing performance, security, and user experience needs.
To facilitate a streamlined information flow and faster resolution of customer concerns, we developed a new B2B portal, the Intel Business Portal, using portal technology from our ERP software provider. The portal — launched in late 2009 within five weeks — currently provides 10,000 business partners with streamlined, role-based, single sign-on access to 14 business applications, including web order management, secure design content, and partner marketing content.
Because the portal is based on technology from our ERP supplier, other ERP applications can be quickly made accessible from the portal. With this faster access, we anticipate improved user productivity, as well as savings of approximately $700,000 due to the removal of the older servers used to run the previous solution.
#4: Provide Employees with BI Solutions
Every day, Intel employees make decisions that impact Intel’s revenue and profitability. Yet, in a climate where the Internet, wireless voice and data, and growing global markets have created a 24/7 working environment, there is less and less time for analysis, action, and reaction. At the same time, there is also more and more information sharing.
The increased information flow means that employees need better tools to help them more quickly find and analyze the information they need to make informed decisions. For example, our salespeople need access to a wide variety of sales, product, and other information; previously, obtaining a comparison of business performance and key indicators often required time-consuming, manual information gathering from multiple sources. To speed information access, employees wanted a single location that delivered all data and applications.
In response to this need, Intel IT developed dashboards to provide executives and salespeople with up-to-date information and the ability to analyze the data to make decisions. Also, we created the My SMG portal, an internal line-of-business portal that streamlines information access by consolidating over 50 line-of-business tools and content for SMG employees. Each of these tools provides information collected from multiple sources and customizes delivery based on different employees’ needs.
The My SMG portal was initially launched in 2007 as a standalone solution, consolidating all the SMG tools, content repositories, and resources. In 2009, we integrated My SMG into Intel’s employee portal — an impressively large implementation supporting more than 80,000 users. The integration provided salespeople with a single portal and a common user experience for all corporate, line-of-business, career, and benefit-related information.
It’s Your Turn: Establish Your Own BI Program
To help ensure that your business effectively takes advantage of its enterprise data as an asset, you need to establish a solid, reliable, and secure enterprise data foundation. This will provide a single trusted source of data and definitions, while eliminating inconsistencies caused by multiple data sources and a variety of business definitions.
Your business also should deliver a set of cross-enterprise business performance management solutions, built on top of the enterprise data foundation, that align with key business strategies, provide well-defined business performance metrics, and provide a set of BI tools to measure ongoing performance against those metrics.
Intel IT’s experiences in developing our BI solutions have provided a clearer vision that we can apply to future Intel IT initiatives. For more straight talk on current topics from Intel’s IT leaders, visit www.intel.com/it.
Matthew Geller, Arakere Ramesh, Arun Sagiraju, Alexander White, and Chris Peters work for Intel IT. IT@Intel is a resource that enables IT professionals, managers, and executives to engage with peers in the Intel IT organization — and with thousands of other industry IT leaders — so you can gain insights into the tools, methods, strategies, and best practices that are proving most successful in addressing today’s tough IT challenges. Visit us today at www.intel.com/IT or contact your local Intel representative if you’d like to learn more.