Tag Archives: business intelligence

Building business intelligence

Companies implementing information projects tend to be undergoing organizational change as well. Or at least it seems that way to me. In any event, dealing with change is inevitable in an information management career. Understanding you are in a period of change followed by an adjustment of your approaches to various situations can help immensely.
The Challenge of Change

In times of change, organizations face major challenges such as retention and morale issues as well as maintaining high-level work results. Productivity is under assault during change. Information projects need to go forward, but the team members may be confused or, worse, demoralized by the activities going on around them. I’ve found that information projects which ignore the important aspects of organizational change do not produce good results, regardless of the best-laid architecture and technology plans.

Often, change is undermanaged and, therefore, stressful. That is the bad news. The good news is that during these times, there are numerous opportunities to deliver results. Successfully coping with and managing organizational change – and by extension a successful information project – requires awareness, motivation and discipline, resulting in personal excellence that will filter to the rest of the information project team. Here are some tips to manage change in a way that ensures success of your information project.
Tips to Manage Change

The right approach. It is a natural reaction for people and teams to resist change. Create and adopt an empathetic approach to dealing with change and realize that employees who appear to be going with the flow in times of change probably are not. The common reactions resulting from organizational change are most likely being experienced by everyone on the project team, even if they are not on display. Job preservation becomes a major concern. Where people need to live without closure – or at least information – on their personal situation, gossip and rumor fill the void. We see this all the time during business interviews for information projects. Because a company’s issues will take a back seat to personal issues, getting the issues that personally affect people out in the open and dealing with them will clear the way for dealing with company issues.

A healthy pessimism. Maintaining a healthy pessimism about the outcome of projects during change is, well, healthy. Early on, anticipate obstacles from those commonalities that most information projects find challenging. This includes data quality, business participation, query performance, data volume management, getting the specification correct and building to the specification. Expect trouble. To do otherwise is giving yourself false hope. You can only come to grips with problems that you are familiar with. Every employee is an agent in this regard, and each viewpoint should have an outlet. Make the truth welcome.

Focus and discipline. Focus. Focus. Focus. I have to say it – discipline is in short supply in information management. While many programs are addicted to firefights and flavors du jour, those who exercise control and discipline far outdistance their peers in success. The trick is to make yourself do the things that are important, even if it doesn’t feel like fun. We get spread thin with all the roles we play, and often we’re left with little that is tangible to show for our efforts at the end of the day. That’s why a set of daily nonnegotiable “to do’s” will help ensure progression through the tough times that change brings.

Obviously, production presents an easy set of daily nonnegotiable tasks through checking data movement, query performance, data quality and all the things that keep a production environment healthy. Likewise, development has opportunities for daily progress, but often they must be more creatively manufactured.

Deadlines can drive discipline. If I don’t have externally imposed deadlines, I create them for myself. I’m grateful for deadlines because they are the key to staying focused through change.

Self-control and teamwork. Finally, control yourself in the face of change. If you don’t, your focus and discipline problems will be exacerbated. During change, it is easy to forget that teams win together. It is not necessary for someone else to lose or for those around you to feel small for you to win.

Information management and organizational change initiatives often go hand in hand. While it is human nature to resist change, employing a few simple tips and techniques for managing change can make all the difference in any information project. Empathy, healthy pessimism, focus and self-control are key tools to successful change. Your personal excellence in dealing with change will overcome obstacles, inspire others and lead to successful information projects. The result is that information management is fun, the time flies and performance breakthroughs occur.


In search of better business intelligence

The intersection of BI and enterprise Quintum VoIP solutions. The perfect fit for your Enterprise. search is seeing more traffic Find out what Google Checkout can do for your online business. all the time. Already this year, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Latest News about Google, IBM (NYSE: IBM) Latest News about IBM, and X1 have released new products, and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) Latest News about Oracle promises to do so later this year. Here is a short list of solutions from market leaders that should be considered in the evaluation phase.

Cognos (Nasdaq: COGN) Latest News about Cognos 8 Business Intelligence – The combination of EnterpriseService Portal (ESP) from Norwegian firm Fast Search and Transfer (FAST) and Cognos 8 BI with Cognos Go! Search Service enables workers to quickly find reports, analyses, scorecards and other BI assets, along with corporate content and other forms of structured and unstructured business information. The FAST product can also perform analysis of Cognos-generated data during the process of returning search results.

Google Search Appliance – The king of Web search has an enterprise search solution that sells only with bundled hardware. Starting with designs for searching as many as a half-million documents, it can scale to clustered systems with 20 times that capacity. Google passes queries to back-end enterprise applications to search their own databases and return the results to Google; it does not connect to the data directly. However, it can access your company’s structured data if stored in any of the leading DBMS’s. A new feature of the Google Search Appliance, called Google OneBox for Enterprise, delivers information from business intelligence Turn your next prospect into a sale. Free report. systems, such as those from Cognos, Employease, Netsuite, Oracle, Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) Latest News about Salesforce.com and SAS.

IBM OmniFind – IBM WebSphere Latest News about WebSphere Information Integration OmniFind Edition, a component of the WebSphere Content Discovery for Business Intelligence solution, has remarkable scalability and built-in access to numerous BI applications — the latter due to the company’s constant acquisition of firms specializing in enterprise data access tools, such as those from iPhrase, which IBM purchased late last year. Depending on configuration, OmniFind’s search results can be clicked on for further data drilldown. This feature is enabled in part by IBM’s capability to search data warehouses. Access control to the search data is enforced by the OmniFind software.

Oracle secure Enterprise Search – Emphasizing scalability and security, the search index is stored in a secure database and uses Oracle identity management solutions to control access. It offers the capability to search against document management systems, BI apps and portals. Searches can be audited and logged as well. The product is undergoing a significant transition — presumably due to Oracle’s recent acquisitions — and a new version is not expected until late this year at the earliest. The company was unwilling to discuss features of this version at press time.

X1 – The X1 Enterprise Platform from X1 Technologies is an enterprise search engine that federates results from desktop and enterprise search engines — both from X1 and, uniquely, those of other vendors, including Google. X1’s highly regarded desktop search software, considered by many to have the best interface, is available at no cost.

The X1 enterprise engine is the only one on this list that can search through e-mails and other desktop documents and federate them with back-end searches. It is a scalable solution that can be clustered and centralized across multiple locations, or combined with those from the other three vendors on this list. As a result, for compliance and enforcement purposes, X1 is probably the strongest solution currently available.