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Jorgen Heizenberg

Return on Intelligence

I am happy to be part of the BeyeNETWORK team of thought leaders. I have a great interest in all things related to business intelligence, and I hope to blog about ways I see BI providing business value. In fact, I use a term, "return on intelligence," to describe the impact of delivering the right information, gathered from myriad sources, to a wide number of people which empowers them and their decision making.

I truly believe in the value of BI, especially in this economic downturn. If you have examples of positive return on intelligence or have topics you would like me cover, please contact me via this blog or at

About the author >

Jorgen Heizenberg currently acts as the Principal Technology Officer for the Business Intelligence (BI) domain at Capgemini in the Netherlands. He actively monitors the BI market for the impact on Capgemini and its clients. He is the author of many articles and white papers on business intelligence. Jorgen is also actively advising clients on business intelligence. Over the years, he has filled many different roles - all BI related, ranging from reporting specialist to BI strategy consultant. He has more than 10 years of experience on a operational, tactical and strategic level in planning, designing and creating management information solutions for a variety of clients and industries. He is known within the Dutch BI community for his original and often humorous approach toward BI. His ambition is to create a stronger focus on BI functionality and end-user benefits rather than on technique. You may contact him at  

January 2009 Archives

Microsoft Kills PlanningTwo important announcements came from Microsoft recently. One was that Microsoft is firing people. A move that was inevitable after analysts said that Microsoft had to lay off at least 10% op their workforce to remain healthy. Another one was an update of their BI product roadmap. Performance Point Server scorecard, dashboard, and analytical capabilities will be consolidated into Sharepoint Server Enterprise. This means that they will not continue with their Performance Point Planning solution. In their words: after PPS Service Pack 3 (expected mid calendar year 2009) no further investments will be made in planning and stand alone versions of PPS.Are these two facts related? Maybe not but it helps them on their way to this tough 10% target. Is this update of their BI products roadmap unexpected? In my opinion it is not. There are several reasons for this. PPS Planning has never been very successful and I have seen a limited number of implementations. When competing with other planning products (Hyperion(Oracle), Outlooksoft(SAP) or Cognos Plannings(IBM)) they often lost the battle. One could also argue that they are their own biggest competitor with MS Excel as the number 1 planning tool in the world or BI tool for that matter. Also this product does not fit their BI for the masses strategy. Planning has always been the domain of a limited number of (financial) people. But this is not only a defensive move. Integrating PPS with Sharepoint also allows for a "marriage" between structured and unstructured data which is promoted by many BI experts of late. It will be interesting to see if other BI vendors are going to reposition their planning capabilities.

Posted January 28, 2009 9:50 AM
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Supply and Demand Paradox of Business Intelligence

The economic slowdown will continue to dominate the BI market this year. As BI is still often executed within IT (and not business) it will be affected by the lowering of IT budgets which will result in a decrease of information supply. At the same time the business demand for information will increase as uncertainty grows. Solutions offering cost cutting will be the number 1 objective for both business and IT. We will see the following 9 trends in Business Intelligence this year.[1] Rationalization: Customers will move from best of breed solutions towards BI platform from all major vendors (Oracle, SAP, IBM and Microsoft) and /or a rationalization of their BI products. A reduction of the number of BI tools make sense both from a financial as well as a organizational point of view. There will a danger of the so called vendor lock in - which is hard to prevent anyway. As money is tight more major acquisitions from BI vendors are not to be expected. Small companies with niche technology such as search or visualization can be bought instead of own innovation or development. A further integration of acquired technology in the (BI) infrastructure, applications or processes will be the first objective of these companies. Any remaining budget will be spend on marketing and sales activities.[2] Mastering & Governing Core Data: Due to the economic slowdown more and more companies feel the need to create a single view of all enterprise data. Many customers move from a classical business unit structure towards a more multi dimensional steering model where profit and loss is calculated on region, customer or even process. There will be an increased need for Master Data Management using the technology provided by all major vendors and a revival of OLAP (Multi Dimensional) is to be expected.[3]Architecture The Other Way: There will be an increasing demand for faster answers and decisions as well as more need to connect and share information with other stakeholders. These new requirements will set new standards for BI architecture as it moves away from traditional batch orientated architectures. An increase is expected of different architectures such as Data warehouse appliances & Cloud computing. Also Open Standards and Service Orientation will be the next model of choice for many customers. Finally, cost cutting hardware (Green - less energy consuming) can be expected.[4]Operational Excellence: With the slowdown of the economy comes a reduction of budget and a growing demand for cost cutting. This will raise the need for cheaper delivery of new information products and a more cost effective ways for the maintenance of existing BI environment. IT departments will focus on Operational Excellence which implies faster and cheaper ways to deliver the same type of solutions as before. Innovation will not originate from the IT department as their focus will certainly be on lower cost of delivery and maintenance. Development of new functionality will therefore make use of proven methodology from SI, industry templates and/or outsourcing. For the maintenance of the current BI infrastructure we will see an increased interest in outsourcing like constructions based on a SAAS like model.[5]Customer Centric: In troubled times companies can take any of two basic choices. They can either reduce their services to cut costs or expand their services to attract new or more profitable customers. Companies will therefore try to focus on finding the most profitable customers among their current population. They will also need to know which customer are of less importance so they can decrease their activities to keep them. Finally they will have to find new ways to extract new customer by providing new products, better propositions or better services. Therefore an increased need for Customer Intelligence or analytics is to be expected.[6]Using The Data: Reporting (what has happened?) such as the monthly report is fast becoming a commodity (classical BI) where no competitive edge is realized. Monitoring (right time BI) of operational processes as they happen on the other hand will increase to ensure enterprise agility. Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) and Rules Based Decision Engines will begin to find their way as a result of this. Also we will see that Analysis will revive (OLAP). Much of the (classical) BI infrastructure is already in place. With increased business need for information this is the time to use this. Most added value will be in Analytics combining data mining, statistics and business knowledge to analyze current and historical performance to predict the future. We will see many investment here.[7]Overcoming Differences: In these times no organization can afford to be caught in internal or external disputes. Therefore all classical differences are to be overcome. The first and most obvious one is the cost versus benefit discussion. As the return on intelligence is more and more disputed we will see an increased need for business cases. The second one is the gap between the IT department and the business departments. This will lead to an increased need for alignment such as an BI Competence Center for strategic-, user-, data- & process support. The technical development and maintenance of BI will be done by IT with Operational Excellence as their main driver. The functional development and innovation of BI will be done by the business with Management Excellence as their modus operandi.The third and final one is Finance (controlling) vs the rest. Finance will control the budget and be in the driver seat for all cost cutting programs. They will take the lead in the majority of all BI solutions.The CFO will be the sparring partner for new BI initiatives and the CIO will be the sparring partner for the maintenance of the current solutions.[8]Organizational Transformation: If you do what you always did, you get what you always got. In these times organizations cannot afford to sit back and see what happens. They have to be smarter, faster, cheaper, better ... than their competitors. As a result of that there will be an increasing need for information and organization transformation. This will impact Business Intelligence as right time data transformations are required to quickly access information and make decisions. Therefore we will see an increased interest in solutions providing right or real time information and solutions. Decisions can not only be made on tacit knowledge (numbers and facts). We will see that the decision making process will involve other relevant information (often unstructured) to provide a context. We will see an integration of Business Intelligence and Enterprise Content Management with semantic web or google like solutions. Finally business (and especially finance) will demand fast and easy access to all data and self service architectures will me the model of choice.[9]Need For Cooperation: During difficult times there will be an increase need for people to connect and share. In this economic downfall we can expect the same from knowledge workers connecting with other stakeholders and sharing information with them. We also see that cooperation can work as a strong stimuli for stimulating business innovation. Enablers for cooperation are architectures that allow for open markets of information and self service solutions of (internal) customers. These solutions will be based on services and free flow of information. Data governance and security are obvious spin offs of this trend.Summary: The economic slowdown will dominate the BI market leading to a decrease in information supply (IT) and an increase in information demand (Business) with cost cutting as the #1 objective. We will see customers standardizing on 1 vendor and a rationalization of the BI products. MDM will help create the much needed single view of the enterprise. The increased demand for faster answers and decisions and a need to connect and share will impact BI architecture as we know it, giving rise to datawarehouse appliances and service orientation. IT will look for more cost effective ways for delivery and maintenance of BI solutions while the business will focus on finding and keeping (profitable) customers. There will be more need for faster answers (real time) and more value from data (Analytics). Classical differences have to be overcome as we see an increased need for business cases, IT & Business alignment and a leading role for Finance. Self service and contextual data will be demanded by business to cope with the new tasks at hand. Finally the storm will be challenged by connecting with stakeholders and to share information and to stimulate innovation.

Posted January 12, 2009 10:56 AM
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