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"Offerings from the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio provide a
comprehensive set of business intelligence (BI) and performance management functionality,
offering reports, dashboards, ad hoc analysis, and data management. Designed, packaged, and
priced to meet the unique needs of small businesses and midsize companies, these solutions
enable you to start and grow at your own pace – with minimal IT support."
Business Intelligence Standardization
Business Intelligence Standardization
is also known as :
Importance of BI Standardization
Standardizing on Business Intelligence Software
Business Intelligence Criteria
Business Intelligence from Business Objects,
Comprehensive Enterprise BI Strategy,
Enterprise BI Standard,
Business Intelligence Implementations,
Consolidate BI Tools,
Standardization Case Study,
Benefits of Enterprise BI,
Cross-organization Business Intelligence Infrastructure,
Practical Implementation of BI Standards,
Different BI Products,
Advantages of Implementing BI Standards,
Implementing a BI Competency Center,
Better Alignment with Your Business Users,
Long-Term BI Strategy,
Clearly Defined BI Standards,
Choosing Business Objects as a Standard,
Business Intelligence is one of the top technology spending priorities in today's
organizations.Why? Because BI projects:
- Leverage existing information investments
- Are relatively low cost and low risk
- Deliver proven high return on investment
Because of this, the BI market continues to show continued strong growth.2 This, in turn,
means that most large organizations are in the process of initiating new BI projects.
However, few organizations today have a comprehensive enterprise BI strategy or clearly
defined BI standards. Therefore they face a growing patchwork of disparate BI
technologies. As projects continue to proliferate, the consequences are becoming
- Rising redundant costs in deployment, maintenance,
- Increased information inconsistencies
- Frustrated end users who cannot get timely answers
to their business questions
Reducing the number of BI standards in your
organization can result in significant cost savings, greater
control over information, and better alignment with your
business users. This all leads to increased competitive
advantage by fully exploiting the benefits of enterprise BI.
"Starting an active program to
standardize on BI tools in your
company is critical, if you are to achieve
strategic deployment and associated cost
savings in the next three years."
"Organizations Must Standardize and
Consolidate BI Tools," Howard Dresner,
Gartner Inc,. April 2005
But implementing BI standards requires a pragmatic, phased approach that takes into
account the organizational realities of large organizations, and the business value of
existing BI applications.
This paper gives an overview of the advantages of implementing BI standards, and takes
a look at some of the real-life, best practice techniques used by industry leaders. Read on
to learn how successful organizations have standardized on, and benefited from, business
intelligence from Business Objects-and why you should join them.
The Importance of BI Standardization
Today's organizations struggle with wasteful duplication across different BI products, data
inconsistencies, and frustrated end users. And the problem is getting worse each day as
new uncoordinated BI projects sprout up across the organization.
Most large organizations have already implemented IT standards-for everything from
databases and transaction automation systems to data integration and data warehouses.
BI standardization is the next big opportunity for organizations to streamline costs and
get a greater return on their information assets.
Standardizing on business intelligence software will deliver similar economies of scale as
other standardization efforts. But in addition, a cross-organization business intelligence
infrastructure can provide exponential returns through better business insights that
traverse your entire organization.
Implementing standards allows organizations to focus their energies on how to better use
BI and capture best practices, rather than focusing on redundant skill sets, integration
points, and project requirement analyses. The results are new revenue opportunities,
improved cost visibility, and better risk management.
Reducing the number of supported BI tools in your organization results in:
- Lower software costs through more coordinated purchasing and contracts
- Lower support and administration costs
- Less time and money spent on BI evaluations
- Lower user training costs
- Faster return on investment for BI projects
More Control and Fewer Data Inconsistencies
Having fewer standard systems for accessing business information results in:
- More reliable data for decision makers
- Easier comparison of information across different departments, to get "one view of the truth"
- Easier sharing of consistent information between different user groups, and with
customers, partners, and suppliers
- More coordinated security, which helps minimize unauthorized data access
Better Alignment with Business Users
BI is often an area of friction between IT (who provide information) and the business
users (who need it to do their jobs). By allowing you to connect goals, metrics, and people
across the enterprise, an enterprise BI standard helps organizations manage and optimize
information flows like other business processes, leading to improved alignment,
transparency, and performance.
In particular, a standard interface for information access gives:
- More timely answers to users' business questions
- Easier cross-data analysis to reveal new revenue opportunities
- Improved cost visibility
- Better risk management
- Increased competitive advantage by better exploitation of the benefits of enterprise BI
For more detailed information about the benefits of BI standardization, please refer to the
Business Objects white paper: "The benefits of Business Intelligence Standardization."
The Practical Implementation of BI Standards
Many organizations are already convinced of the benefits of standardization-but are
unsure how to turn that conviction into reality. After all, simply declaring a particular BI
vendor as "the standard, "or signing a volume purchasing agreement, is unlikely to bring
the benefits that you're looking for. Based on customer and analyst research, there are a
number of recommended steps in order to introduce effective BI standards within your
Decide If You Are Ready for BI Standardization
Successful implementation of BI standards depends on far more than just the technical
aspects of the project. Here are some of the requirements, which can be grouped under
the notion of the "BI maturity "of your organization:
- A track record of successful departmental BI implementations
- A minimum level of trust and respect between IT and the business units
- A history of other successful standardization efforts within the organization
- A prevailing culture of information sharing, rather than hoarding
A careful review of these factors may indicate steps that
have to be taken before the standardization project
should be launched.
Through 2008, companies resisting the
need to consolidate BI tools will be
unable to strategically deploy BI and
will incur 50 percent more cost for each
redundant tool (0.8 probability)
"Organizations Must Standardize and
Consolidate BI Tools," Howard Dresner,
Gartner Inc,. April 2005
Aggregate Existing BI Deployment
Changing the information culture of your organization
may be an unrealistic goal in the short term. But there are
a number of immediate and pragmatic steps that any IT
organization can take to prevent increasing costs of BI
- Perform an audit of existing BI projects. The first step is to calculate the costs and benefits
of each existing BI project. In the case of large organizations, with decentralized BI, your
vendors may be a useful resource to help you find existing deployments around the globe.
- Build a case for standardization. Based on your research, you can then build a strong
business case for BI standardization, in order to ensure adequate project resources.
- Develop unambiguous criteria. A key step is to define a standard set of non-overlapping
tools for the BI needs of the organization. These criteria used to make the choices
should be explicit, firmly grounded in the business needs of the organization, and
agreed upon by the key users of BI.
- Start enforcing the standard. Your choice of standards should be enforceable, using
mechanisms such as formal project reviews or budget incentives.
Build a Long-Term Business Intelligence Strategy
To ensure that you receive the full benefit of BI, and to avoid the slow degeneration of
your chosen standards, it is essential to have a long-term BI strategy:
- Build trust between IT and business users. BI stands at the intersection of business and IT.
Often these teams have a history of mistrust that can prevent the successful
implementation of any new BI strategy.
- Implement a BI competency center. A BI competency
center is recommended in order to develop and share BI
best practices throughout an organization. Ideally, a
businessperson should head the center, and it should
report to the core business departments in a collaborative
environment with IT and the other departments.
- Align BI initiatives around a framework. One of the tasks
of the competency center is to take a step back from the
existing BI deployments, and take a more global look at
how BI should map to the technical, functional,
organizational, and business needs of the organization.
- Implement a BI methodology. A formal BI implementation methodology ensures that BI
projects bring the promised benefits. It should detail the roles of different groups (IT,
business users, technical support, etc.), and cover both the technical and user-oriented
phases of the project.
- Create an acquisition/deployment process. The competency center must be financed. Care
should be taken so that it does so in a way that does not disincent business use of BI.
Most Global 2,000 companies have
between five and 15 separate reporting and
analysis solutions in use, placing a strain
on IT resources and calling into question
the integrity of the data in any one report.
Forrester, Keith Gile, Business Intelligence
Driven By Compliance, Standardization,
And Performance Initiatives, April 2005
Sell the Strategy
Poor or inadequate communications is the biggest cause of failure in implementing
BI standards. This can be avoided with the following steps:
- Monitor and communicate the implementation plan. Organizations should constantly
evangelize the benefits of BI and of having BI standards.
- Avoid common BI project challenges. Many project problems are predictable in advance,
and can be instead be turned into communication opportunities.
- Conduct formal reviews. Organizations should audit the BI center on a regular basis to
ensure that it has been able to maintain the trust of the business organization, and that
the processes and methodologies put in place still meet the needs of the end users
For more detailed information on how real-life organizations have implemented BI
standards, please refer to the Business Objects white paper: "Implementing BI Standards
-a Field Guide."
Standardization Case Study
This case study concerns France Telecom, one of the world's leading telecom operators,
with over 91 million customers in 220 countries on five continents. It has 190,000
employees and offers a full range of telecommunication services: local, international, and
mobile telephony; internet and multimedia; data transport; and cable TV broadcasting.
Over the last few years, the organization has used information systems as a major
strategic weapon in the battle between telecommunications operators. One of their major
initiatives was to reduce data inconsistency and share information more effectively across
business areas by implementing corporate-wide standards for information management
After an extensive evaluation, the selected software
included BusinessObjects, for retrieving and analyzing
data, Oracle Applications for finance, PeopleSoft CRM
and Genesys for CRM, PeopleSoft HR for human
resources, WebMethods for enterprise application
integration, and Documentum for document
The two most important factors that influenced the
decision to choose Business Objects products were the
high level of penetration within the company and high
end-user satisfaction. More than 140 BusinessObjectsbased
projects were already up and running and most
users in the company were already familiar with the
software. The company selected Business Objects as its corporate BI standard and signed
a corporate contract for 70,000 licenses to be deployed across all business areas: human
resources, finance management, marketing, sales, and networks.
"To win new customers and develop
loyalty, we now base our action on a
business intelligence process in which
BI plays the key role of retrieving and
analyzing data in our corporate
resources. Today, the company has
130,000 PCs, nearly half of which will
soon be running BI software."
Director of Operations, Customer
Relations Information Systems,
Implementing a BI Competency Center
Once the decision was made to standardize around a software package, the key to
making that standardization successful lay in the quality of support that was given to
both project managers and end users. A four-person BI competency center was created,
responsible for overseeing business intelligence implementations.
The competency center supports users and maintains the consistency of projects
involving BI, and it ensures that each of the different teams share best
team's tasks include consulting and development, support, negotiations and license
management. As a result, the center gradually built up a complete BI knowledge base,
detected the most common problems, and can now respond promptly by taking
corrective action in the form of further training or calling on the BI vendors.
Benefits and Lessons Learned
Two key lessons were learned during the project: the need for pragmatism and strong
communications. Pragmatically leveraging the existing 140 BI deployments implemented
across the company, and the related high satisfaction rate, dramatically increased the
chance of success of the BI standardization project. And strong communications were
required to convince the business areas that the project
was useful and represented an opportunity for them.
France Telecom now has a standard environment that
covers all its BI needs. Having a global standard enabled
savings on license fees, now accrued at the corporate level
rather than for each project. The choice of a single BI
framework enabled a substantial reduction in user
training and support costs. Professional development
became easier because the tools are the same for all
business areas, and applications became easier to deploy,
upgrade, and maintain, saving time and money.
"We weren't going to force a standard
solution if there was a compelling
reason for not using it. Our BI choice
matched a very genuine business need.
The software penetration rate within
our company was already very high,
and so was the level of user satisfaction,
so the choice was easy."
Director of Decision Support
Information Systems, France Telecom
Choosing Business Objects as a Standard
For over a decade, Business Objects has focused on the needs of organizations
standardizing on enterprisewide business intelligence. Reasons to consider Business
Objects as your BI standardization partner include:
The Number One in the Industry
Business Objects is the number one BI vendor, with over 30,000 customers and over 400
OEM partners. Microsoft, SAP, and your other key enterprise software providers have
chosen our products. More consultants, strategic integrators, and potential employees
know our products better than any other vendor's. All of which means that our products
will integrate better with your existing systems, at a lower cost.
The Widest Set of Products and Data Access
Business Objects has the widest set of products available in the market today, to cover all your:
- Functional needs: from operational reporting all the way to dynamic dashboards
- User needs: from the factory floor, to the financial analyst, to the executive suite
- Data needs: from transactional systems, to data warehouses, to real-time information
feeds, and OLAP servers
The Most Standardization Experience
Business Objects has the most experience in helping organizations around the world
implement BI standards, at companies such as Pfizer, GE Power Systems, France Telecom,
Vodaphone, and Kraft. We have dedicated consulting teams that have helped
organizations like yours successfully implement BI standards, working with you to get
buy-in from the business units and avoid the typical challenges faced by BI projects.
Your Installed User Base
Throughout your organization, you probably have more licenses of our BI products than
any other vendor's, and most of your existing operational and management reports and
dashboards are probably in Business Objects formats. Which means you may be much
closer to realizing the benefits of standardizing on our technology than you realize.
Reducing the number of standard BI tools in your organization can result in cost savings,
more control over information, and better alignment with your business users-and
increased competitive advantage by fully exploiting the benefits of enterprise BI.
Business Objects is well placed to be your partner in implementing BI standards.
For More Information
More detailed information is available about BI standardization:
On the benefits of standardization. A white paper, "The benefits of Business Intelligence
Standardization, "is available that covers in more detail the impact that BI fragmentation
can have on your business, and the benefits of implementing business intelligence
standards. The document specifically addresses the effects of disparate BI projects on
business users, IT, and customers.
On the practical implementation of BI standards. A white paper, "Implementing Business
Intelligence Standards-a Field Guide "is available that illustrates how organizations have
successfully implemented BI standards. Topics covered include:
- How to perform a "BI audit"
- Segmenting user profiles
- Establishing unambiguous criteria for BI choices
- Staffing a BI competency center
- How to avoid common BI project challenges
On choosing a standard. A white paper, "Choosing a Business Intelligence Standard"
outlines a structured approach to choosing a business intelligence standard for your
You can download these white papers from www.businessobjects.com/publications.
Detailed information about the Business Objects standardization products and services
can be found on the world wide web:
For a complete listing of our sales offices, please visit our web site.
Business Objects owns the following U.S. patents, which may cover products that are offered and licensed by Business Objects:
5,555,403; 6,247,008 B1; 6,578,027 B2; 6,490,593; and 6,289,352. Business Objects and the Business Objects logo,
BusinessObjects, Crystal Reports, Crystal Enterprise, Crystal Analysis, WebIntelligence, RapidMarts, and BusinessQuery are
trademarks or registered trademarks of Business Objects SA or its affiliated companies in the United States and other countries.
All other names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners. Copyright © 2005 Business Objects. All rights reserved.