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Enhance Reporting and Gain Insight about Performance Using Business Intelligence MeasuresOver the past decade, powerful business intelligence (BI) applications have been developed that allow business leaders to build new levels of insight into performance. These capabilities promise to speed our identification of performance issues and generate improved results. Let’s take a look at the practical challenges inherent in expanding and realizing the value of these capabilities.

To begin, making the decision to acquire or expand the BI tools at your disposal does not cause insight or capability to automatically spring to life. There is a technical side to these efforts, one that involves housing data and learning to work with the technology. The breadth of reporting in these environments evolves over time as data and functionality are incrementally added. It is common to have traditional methods for acquiring and analyzing information coexist with new functionality for a long time. In fact, the need for specialized skill sets to bring together data and manipulate it in familiar tools like spreadsheets does not go away, although the dependence on these approaches can be reduced.

There is, more importantly, a strategic side to this effort. This side requires business leaders to decide what information is important, why it is important, and how it will be used. The range of possibilities in highlighting performance hot spots, slicing data, and drilling to potential problem areas is enticing. It is easy to be seduced by the possibilities. Remember, though, that having more insight doesn’t make your organization more capable of acting on that.

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