This article will focus on Cloud-based Business Intelligence Solutions for Banking.

bank dashboardWhy do I love my iPod Classic? – I got my 80GB iPod Classic around 2007.  I was able to load all 14,000 songs from my library onto it.  I created several playlists that helped me organize the songs.  One playlist consisted of heavy metal that got me amped up before going to the gym.  Another playlist contained acoustic folk songs that were for the morning after a late night of fun.
The coolest feature at the time was the cover flow.  To pick out songs the old fashioned way, I had to go through boxes of vinyl albums and find the record I was interested in.  I would then load it on a turntable and try to manually find the song by sight and gently lower the diamond stylus to listen.  With cover flow, I just flipped through the covers with a flip of a thumb and then point and click on the song.
Cloud-based Business Intelligence (BI) Solutions for Banks should be as simple as using the iPod Classic.  Banks are sitting on thousands (if not millions) of data points that need to be categorized into groups of reports that are relevant for the user.  For example, a CFO needs a group of reports that focus on the bank’s overall performance while a branch manager is much more interested in the performance of their specific branch.
Sample Playlists of Reports for Bankers – There are a variety of positions at a bank that would benefit greatly from a catalogue of reports that were customized to suit their needs.  Below is a sampling of what some of those report listings might include.

  • CFO playlist – Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for the Bank, Financial Statements for the Bank, Executive Dashboard, Regulatory Reports, Peer Analysis of Similar Banks


  • Branch Manager playlistBalanced Scorecard for Branch, Loan and Deposit Production for Branch, Stack Ranking of Branch KPI’s, Financial Reports for Branch


  • Product Manager playlistProduct Profitability, Loan and Deposit Production, Interest Rate Forecast by Product, Funds Transfer Pricing and Activity Based Costing Rate Tables


  • Marketing Manager playlist – Household Retention, Customer Cross-Sell, Campaign Tracking, Customer Visits to Website, Lead Lists for Customer Cross-Sell and New Customer Acquisition


  • Human Resources Manager playlist – Insurance Carrier Tracking, Employee Survey Tracking, Employee Education Statistics, Salary Planning for Bank, Vacant Position Tracking

Without organizing the reports into meaningful groups, a CFO would have to wade through dozens and dozens of reports to find the information they need to help run the bank.  What a waste of time!
Let’s start with a Web Portal – It was not long ago that we were printing off reams of paper reports and mailing them to recipients.  E-mailing the reports greatly sped up the flow of information.  But these days, many people receive over a hundred e-mails a day.  There is no way you can run your bank on reports that are e-mailed because you will lose track of them.
Publishing dynamic, refreshable reports to a Web Portal is the way to go.  Your executives do not need to mess with software that has to be installed and updated on their machines.  They just login into a URL with their favorite and pull up their reports on demand.
You need to have a Data Warehouse –  Tracking general ledger, loan, deposit, customer, and human resource data can be quite messy as they all come from different data sources.  Having a data warehouse allows you to load the data from all the disparate sources into a common location.  While there are a few good tools out on the market that allow you to report direct against a data source, this typically presents some data version issues.
For example, the CEO may pull up an Income Statement on the first workday of the month before taxes and depreciation have posted.  They might be excited and sending out congratulatory notes before accounting has had a chance to post the additional expenses.  Using a data warehouse will allow everyone to be on the same page as far as the data goes.
Simple-to-use report writer is a must – With so many reporting requirements, you will need an easy to use report writer.  It seems like everyone from the sixth grade and up has been exposed to Microsoft Excel.  Whether you are in accounting, marketing, or human resources, you are probably using Excel on a daily basis.
So why implement a solution where you need to know SQL Server programming?  While it might be powerful, no one will use it.  Having a tool that uses Excel as a report writer will have the best adoption rate.
Cloud-based Solutions for Banking – To summarize, bankers need a Web Portal to organize and access their reports easily.  They need a data warehouse to hold all the data needed for the reports.  And they also benefit with more report functionality if they have an Excel-based report writer.  Well that basically defines what some Cloud-based Solutions for Banking is are offering.  Let’s review some of the more popular solutions out on the market.
SAP BusinessObjects ( – BusinessObjects (acquired by SAP in 2007) provides performance management, planning, reporting, query and analysis, and enterprise information management.  It can be deployed on-premise or Cloud.
Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition ( – OBIEE (comprised of Siebel Systems and Hyperion Solutions that were both purchased by Oracle) delivers reporting, ad-hoc query and analysis, OLAP, dashboard, and scorecard functionality with a rich end-user experience that includes visualization, collaboration, alerts, and more. It can be deployed on-premise or Cloud.
IBM Cognos ( – Cognos (acquired by IBM in 2009) provides a toolset for reporting, analysis, scorecarding, and monitoring of events and metrics. The software consists of several components to meet the different information requirements in a company.  It too comes on-premise or Cloud forms.
BI360 from Solver ( is a complete Business Intelligence (BI) and Corporate Performance Management (CPM) suite with reporting, budgeting and dashboard modules. The BI360 suite also offers a data warehouse to combine your data sources and to empower all business users with self-service analytics critical to fast and efficient decision-making.  In addition to on-premise and Cloud offering, you can create a list of favorites for each executive using cover flow as a way to quickly browse.
All of these tools use Excel front-end report writers in some capacity, have very scalable OLAP Cubes or data warehouses, and utilize Web Portals to display their content.  Some of the solutions typically take months before you see any valuable results while a solution like BI360 can in certain cases be up and running in just a couple of weeks.  Create favorite lists of reports for your executives on a Cloud-based Solution for Banking today and they will get as much playtime as their favorite Indy Rock playlist!