The use of BI by India Inc. is becoming quite sophisticated.
As companies come to rely upon BI, they can choose one out of two divergent
routesgo in for a dedicated BI solution from a pure-play vendor who focusses
only on Business Intelligence or add BI tools to an existing ERP system. Priya
Jain interprets the kind of BI requirements that companies have and how
available options fit into their set parameters of cost, functionality, flexibility
and RoI. The decision of these companies is also based on the credibility of
a vendor, the complexity of analytical reporting that is required, heterogeneity
of applications, and enormity of the business.
enterprises have woken up to the need of analytical reporting to make successful
decisions and carry through a profitable and competitive business. Business
Intelligence (BI) solutions have tremendous potential to deliver the right value
and provide the required intelligence to these organisations. A
variety of BI tools in the market serve this purpose. They are either available
through pure-play vendors as pure components of BI or through ERP vendors who
add BI tools to the existing ERP system.
Today companies are turning to BI to derive better return
on investment from ERP and other operational implementations, by unlocking
the wealth of information stored in these systems
Today companies are turning to BI to derive better return
on investment (RoI) from ERP and other operational implementations, by unlocking
the wealth of information stored in these systems. Shoppers Stop uses
its BI platform for CRM analysis and operational performance analysis for some
of its retail formats.
Krishnan T M
Unni Krishnan T M, Customer Care Associate & CTO, Solutions
& Technology Team, Shoppers Stop states, Currently we are in
the second generation of BI evolution. We have always recognised the need for
BI to drive better customer interaction and gain operational efficiencies.
Dewan Housing Finance is presently using a core finance application
on its in-house built ERP for reporting purposes, but has recognised the need
for detailed analysis and ease of reporting. For the same, in the next financial
year it is planning to go in for a BI tool through a pure-play BI vendor.
Centurion Bank of Punjab has gone a step ahead and is implementing
a total solution of Enterprise Data Warehouse, Data Quality, KYC (Know Your
Customer), Analytics, BI and Customer Intelligence. This solution is the SAS
9.x and Banking Intelligence Solution (BIS). It is an enterprise solution and
not a simple BI tool. It integrates with all their 14 main Banking Business
Sanjay Narkar, Chief Technology Officer, Centurion Bank of
Punjab elaborates: Being a private bank with a presence across 160 locations
and 249 branches in India, the need of BI plays a key role in achieving our
business goals. While offering various customer services and 50 plus banking
and financial products to three million customers, it is important for the bank
to do business with a long-term customer relationship benefitting both the bank
and the customer.
The solution is being used in the bank to support all the
decisions, future-planning, monitoring, customer relationship management, budgeting
and planning, marketing, predictive analysis, profitability analysis, new customer
acquisition, campaign management, customer transaction analysis, performance
management and enterprise MIS requirement.
- Sanjay Deshmukh, Country Sales Manager, India / SAARC, Business
When companies implement a number of heterogeneous applications it becomes
a laborious and time-consuming task to collate and analyse data from these
applications for reporting purposes. To fulfil this need the customer
has the option of going either to a pure-play BI vendor or an ERP vendor
to add a BI feature to the existing ERP system. Adding a BI tool is a
good bargain in terms of logical discussion, but not practically helpful.
The fact remains that the core competency of an ERP vendor lies in building
a good ERP product and not in building an efficient BI tool. Moreover
an ERP integrated BI does not provide a user-friendly interface between
heterogeneous applications and does not facilitate the flexibility that
is required to do complex analysis.
Another aspect that should be considered while going in for BI are
parameters, such as the time of implementation, RoI, functionality, flexibility
and cost. A customer opting for a BI tool added to ERP will only be profitable
by 25 percent taking into account the parameter of cost, while the other
parameters can successfully be achieved only through a pure-play BI tool.
- Arun Ramachandran, Head, Presales and Professional Services,
India and Subcontinent, Sybase:
Pure-play tools are generally preferred as they add more in-depth functionality,
and give a rich application framework to the customers such as churn,
credit score etc.
Both the options i.e. BI components and BI tools added to the existing
ERP are equally well positioned for delivering low-cost, ease-of-use as
well as a good RoI. Interoperability is no longer an issue in this space.
- Sudipta Sen, CEO and Managing Director,
SAS Institute India:
By the SAS definition, a platform doesnt offer true business intelligence
unless it satisfies the following criteria:
Breadth: It integrates functions and technologies from across the
Depth: It reaches all in a way that is relevant to them
Completeness: It is a comprehensive, end-to-end
Advanced analytics: It delivers predictive insights, not just hindsight
Data quality: It gives applications a validated and verified version
Intelligent storage: It meets the information needs of intelligence
It is important for an organisation to consider and evaluate BI solutions
based on the above attributes for achieving the desired business objectives.
- Nagaraj Bhargava, Director, Marketing and
Earlier, organisations were leveraging ERP for standardisation and improvement
in organisational efficiencies.
Today, we observe companies using ERP to address an extending set of
business requirements and improve the competitiveness and performance.
ERP is no longer being used for only financial or cost accounting. It
is being used for financial management processes and enables CFOs to improve
insight, strengthen internal controls for financial reporting and provide
transparency to all operations and manage and expose risks to the enterprise.
In the area of human capital management, ERP is now used to recruit and
engage new employees, train and deploy talent accordingly, and support
new business models that involve shared-services and outsourcing. Therefore
Business Intelligence is an important tool in this mix and organisations
are leveraging BI to seamlessly integrate business information across
their organisations, improve transparency, speed up decision-making and
better target their specific markets.
This or that?
The choice between going in for BI components and adding
a BI tool to the existing ERP depends on the volume of data, complexity of analysis,
type of industry, business processes to be analysed, company maturity and most
importantly the budget available. Moreover the maturity of both these versions
in the market, and the core competencies of the vendors also play a major role
in the goodwill of the product in the market and its acceptance by the customer.
Satish Kotian, Head, IT, Dewan Housing Finance informs, With
BI our organisation will have the capability to do business with absolute flexibility.
All users and customers will have the privilege to deal with the right set of
Krishnan points out, ERP applications are increasingly
moving into this space, but it will take time for them to attain the expertise
that pure-play ones have gained over a period of time. There are certain inherent
challenges that arise from the architecture of an ERP application, which will
have a limiting effect on delivering what BI pure-play companies deliver today.
When one is looking at complex stimulatory, what-if, predictive modelling and
high-end mathematical analysis one would still need pure-play solutions when
the base data runs into several terabytes.
Narkar says, Adding the tools to the existing core
solution will always have limitations, because core systems are never expected
to work for lengthy analysis. It will affect the performance of the application.
Further, getting the BI requirements done through the core solution never satisfies
the BI needs of the analytics users. If you have more than one major business
solution, then getting the right BI results becomes difficult. Therefore in
our view, it is always a better option to have the BI solution separate from
the core solutions, which gives the advantage of management, maintenance and
Giving a perspective of the banking industry, Narkar explains,
There is not a single solution, which will support all the businesses
done by the bank and therefore the existence of multiple business solutions
is a reality. Thus in the banking business the BI solution needs to sit outside
the core solution, since it requires to consolidate the data from different
source systems to produce the expected BI results.
Matter of choice
The Indian market has become competitive with a number of
players in a given industry segment. The customer is being presented with far
greater number of choices and in such a scenario it is important to get closer
to understand the demands of the customer.
If you are a small organisation which is on the lower
end of the technology adoption curve, it makes sense to go in for built-in BI
modules provided by the ERP vendor, opines Krishnan.
Kotian makes it clear, Price is not an issue for us
while going in for BI components, the need for analytical information for decision-making
has overpowered the price issue. Moreover a BI tool added to our existing ERP
would not give us the flexibility and features provided by the pure-play vendors.
Narkar states, We took a decision to deploy an enterprise
solution based on our requirements and did not consider a BI tool approach.
The criteria for selection were as follows; industry proven solution, open architecture,
future roadmap, stability and credibility of the solution provider, reference
and site visit of the installations, implementation partners domain knowledge
and required skill-sets. The successful completion of a Proof-of- Concept with
our existing core solutions is also a decision-making factor.
Nonetheless, in the near future the decision of choosing what
is better in BI will depend on the management of new business dynamics, time-to-market,
customer service and internal process improvement. Most importantly it will
catch the attention of companies that want to increase marketshare with an accurate
and factual database of customers and trend analysis of their past transactions.