Alex Geller
My Prediction: Convergence between Business Intelligence and Corporate Performance Management Vendors in the Mid-Market

This article will focus on the demand for convergence of Business Intelligence and Corporate Performance Management tools and why this benefits mid-market companies.

Image taken from Gartner.

The latest release of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence strengthened my conviction that the market will see consolidation between the Business Intelligence/Visualization (BI) and Corporate Performance Management (CPM) vendors. Gartner classifies them in separate quadrants because the respective tools are evaluated differently during the sales process. Furthermore, BI tools usually sell into marketing and sales teams while CPM targets finance and accounting professionals. Consequently, there has been limited Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) in the space. Note that this article assumes readers are familiar with the basic definitions to focus on a narrative explaining the demand for their convergence.

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Hanna Kim
Live ERP Budgeting, What Is It?

This article will touch on the basics of budgeting with your ERP system.

ERPBudgetingBI360

The process of investing in a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software can be a daunting task. Where do you start? Do you find reviews online and hope they are in line with your company’s needs and goals? Let me break it down for you. We’ll explore the basics of ERP from software pricing to ERP utilization with third party budgeting solutions.

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Hanna Kim
Sage BI Versus Third Party Reporting and Budgeting Solutions

This article will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of Sage Business Intelligence and Third Party Solutions.


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Choosing the right Business Intelligence (BI) solution for your company is a lot like choosing what you need to eat for a healthier lifestyle. Is your company lacking nutrition? What does it need to help that problem and make better decisions? BI is an exciting realm to delve into because it does a number of things. It gives insight into consumer behavior, it improves efficiency, it increases productivity, and it turns data into actionable information. According to Gartner, the world’s leading Information Technology (IT) research company, BI is defined as “an umbrella term that include the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.” The objective is to provide organizations the right knowledge in the hands of the right people at the right time to make informed decisions. BI increases the ability to identify trends and challenges, as well as fine-tune operations to meet business goals.

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Hanna Kim
BI and CPM Systems for Beginners

This article will discuss how Business Intelligence and Corporate Performance Management systems differ – and how they overlap.

Many find the word ‘Business Intelligence’ (BI) often ambiguous and confusing. It can simply mean that you know something about the business, but Gartner, the world’s leading IT research company, defines BI as “an umbrella term that include the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.” The objective is to provide the right knowledge to the right people at the right time to make informed decisions.

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Matthew Felzke
Top BI and Corporate Performance Management Trends for 2016

This article will discuss the year ahead of us, specifically in terms of what 2016 holds for Business Intelligence and Corporate Performance Management for modern businesses.

Another year has come and gone, seemingly faster than ever – and we’re already into the second month of 2016.  At the end of 2015 or in early January, some people were writing about Business Intelligence (BI) and Corporate Performance Management (CPM) trends they predicted we would see manifest this year.  However, much like my current approach to New Year’s resolutions, I felt it was important to let the dust settle, work through the workload hangover of the holidays, and have the New Year function as a soft opening.  This way, we can approach 2016 with a rolling start that doesn’t set us up for failure.  This article will discuss some key trends and trajectories that data management and analytics will take in 2016.

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Matthew Felzke
Business Intelligence Trends for the Second Half of 2015 and Beyond

This article will discuss what is trending in terms of Business Intelligence, specifically what you should know about for the rest of 2015 and beyond, so you can continue to make strong, data-driven decisions.

July 1 has come and gone, and we’re flying at full speed in the second half of 2015.  Conferences, summits, business deals, partnerships, and other organizational happenings fill up our days, months, and years, but we have to stay focused on so many things directly related to the success of our company.  One of those things has to be how we access, manage, and analyze our data for stronger, more informed decision-making.  In this article, I’ll discuss what you need to focus on in terms of Business Intelligence (BI) trends for software solutions and how we conduct our analytical processes.

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Matthew Felzke
Top BI and Performance Management Trends for 2015

This article will discuss what to expect, what is up and coming, and what will rule in the business world, with a specific focus on the Business Intelligence processes our finance and executive teams will continue to be charged with improving in 2015.

I don’t know if you feel like this, but the new year came and went so quickly, and here we are in the second half of January.  We’re not only back in the swing of things, but business is racing as usual.  Sometimes, it seems as if we can get lost in the hustle of catching up from the holidays, preparing for the next big event, and/or traveling to visit a customer or partner.  But improving processes and staying competitive and connected to the industry, including trends and trajectories for the business world, is still on your to-do list.  This article will zoom in on the top trends for business and specifically performance management, so your company can be in front of developments and evolutions for financial reporting, budgeting, data visualizing, and data warehousing processes.

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Nils Rasmussen
BI here, there….BI everywhere

These days, it is pretty hard not to notice all the buzz around Business Intelligence (“BI”). If you go to the trade show floor at conferences such as Microsoft Convergence or World Wide Partner Conference, you will see more BI products than ever. While popular media have moved on to focus on Big Data to find the latest scoop about what the world thinks about your products, or mobile BI that lets you carry with you analytical information everywhere, most Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, Intacct, Netsuite, etc. customers are still trying to figure out more down-to-earth topics, such as whether to use the out-of-the box report writer that came with their ERP system or to invest in a best-of-breed Excel- or web-based reporting solution.
Every employee in the company will use a BI tool by 2020
Whether it is an accountant producing a profitability report with trend analysis, or one of the company’s truck drivers using his smart phone to review if he has hauled more metric tons of cargo this month compared to last month and compared to other drivers, self-service BI is quickly on the rise across the world.
A few months ago, Gartner Group presented in-depth research on where the BI market is going from now to 2020. Here are some key points:
• Of all software categories, BI software was ranked as the #1 investment priority for CIOs.
• While mega vendors like SAP, Oracle, IBM and Microsoft still dominate the BI market with their “machine gun” approach of supplying a large number of tools, smaller best-of-breed players are growing in popularity.
•On the average, BI is today reaching about 25% of a company and the IT department is still heavily involved as an enabler (e.g. helping business users write SSRS reports, manage OLAP cubes, etc.). However, by 2014, BI will reach as many as 50% of users in the company and business users are taking control of the tools required to write reports, perform analysis, etc. By 2020, it is predicted that 100% of employees in an organization will have some sort of access to BI tools.
Now, we can ask ourselves where this tremendous growth in BI interest is coming from and why? Some of the answers lie in legacy reporting tools having survived for so many years as “the BI solution” because prices of high-end BI software and data warehouse projects have been out of reach for small and mid-sized companies. For example, for the typical Dynamics ERP customer, that means that they are still building row and column tables in FRx/Management reporter (MR), they are still calling their IT department or vendor when they need to build or change an SSRS report, or modify a SQL view or an OLAP cube. Meanwhile, almost every single business user of these tools will manually export their FRx/MR financial reports, SSRS reports and custom queries to Excel every day, week and month in order to work with- and analyze the data in an environment where they are comfortable on their own without having to ask for help. Is this process ideal for an organization operating in the competitive environment of 2013? Clearly not! That is why the BI software industry is on fire these days, and ERP and CRM customers are starting to find solutions that enable automation, analysis and self-service far beyond the classic BI solutions that come pre-packaged from their vendor.
A lot of noise and a lot of BI tools!
Once the finance and accounting department have started “smelling” the BI cookies and they follow the scent to the kitchen, they realize that there are a lot of cookies in the jar and that is when a sense of confusion and despair often sets in and they start asking themselves; What does BI really mean to my company? Do I need a report writer or a dashboard? What about automating my manual spreadsheet budgeting process? Do I need a data warehouse or is all the valuable data in the company coming from the ERP database?
There is no simple answer. Sometimes you see posts on Internet forums with questions like: “which BI tool is the best one?”. The answer is: It depends. What can you afford? What do you have time and skills to implement? In addition to your ERP and CRM data, what are your data sources? What type of presentation layer do your users need to perform their analysis and decision-making quickly and without technical assistance.
Summary
As the BI wave rolls forward, a few things are likely to happen:
1. ERP customers will start demanding best-of-breed self-service BI that they can take full ownership of and that will give their employees the information they require in a timely fashion and in a format that is conducive to efficient analysis.
2. ERP resellers and ISVs will increase their own investments in staff training to present and implement BI as part of their value proposition.
3. BI vendors will have to set price points that are affordable for wide-scale roll-outs and build solutions that are pre-integrated across ERP and CRM modules plus that allows for integration with other data sources as well. This will drive the need for affordable data warehousing solutions that can combine valuable data into single data silos for easy reporting, budgeting and analysis.
4. Finally, there is another revolution happening out there and that is the emergence of Enterprise Collaboration Portals, which provides a “social” forum for the whole company to discuss and retain important problems, projects, ideas and opportunities. Over the next few years, this technology will start facilitating the flow of “people communication” that relates to ERP, CRM and BI tools, to create searchable knowledge databases that significantly will improve decision-making and process improvement.
The best way to approach these trends is to get educated on what the available BI solutions have to offer, review internal needs and then sit down and come up with a multi-year BI strategy that starts with the most dire needs and then takes a cohesive but step-wise approach to fulfilling all the key BI requirements of the organization.
To learn more about how Solver is embracing these trends with its BI360 solution, please visit www.solverusa.com.

Mike Applegate
BI360: Aligned with Gartner’s Predictions for the Future of BI

In a “High Tech Tuesday” webinar, Gartner projected its Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics market trends for the future. One of the key projections is that business analytics will be the catalyst for $24 Billion increase in BI-related investments by 2014.
Much of the increase in this area will be in BI services (11% increase), BI platforms (4.2% increase), data integration and quality (1.8% increase), and data warehousing (5.5% increase).
BI services: Solver and its global partner channel offer leading BI services including consulting, training, and responsive, ongoing customer support. Our teams of BI360 consultants starts by understanding your business objectives, then customizes a tailored BI solution to meet your specific needs.
BI platforms: Our BI360 suite is a
powerful web and excel-based BI solution that now includes enterprise collaboration, as well as our industry leading reporting, budgeting, dashboards, and data warehouse solutions.

Data integration and quality: One of the most beautiful things about BI360, is its ease of integration and data preservation. BI360 integrates with all major ERPs, preserving all of your legacy data and delivering it in an easy-to-search, easy-to-use format.
Data warehouse:The need to centralize and consolidate your data will only become more valuable as big data continues to explode. BI360’s data warehouse is a next-generation, pre-configured and customizable solution based on Microsoft SQL Server platform.  All your key data, whether in-house or cloud-based, can be stored and available for consolidated reporting, analysis and dashboards.
Learn more about Solver’s BI360 solution, and how it aligns with Gartner’s predictions for the future of BI.
Source: “High-Tech Tuesday Webinar: BI and Analytics Market Trends, 2020 Vision.” Dec 2012, Gartner, Inc. , Web. 08 May 2013.