The best feature of BI360 is the ease with which technical and non-technical users alike can leverage disparate data sources from the centralized data warehouse to develop reports with key metrics to support decision-making. Very simple reports can be written to obtain key information in a matter of seconds, while the reporting capabilities can be expanded for more advanced users to conduct complex analyses. The fact that this is all done within an environment that is very familiar to all (Excel) makes it quick to learn and leverage.
Some reports take longer to generate than is optimal (due to a combination of volume of data and complexity of reports). However, this is as compared to SQL queries versus using the Excel add-in. Understandably, there are tradeoffs to be made, and the access to data and additional reports for all end users is a huge benefit. Additionally, we have the need to extract unique counts from the records within our data warehouse, and there isn't a built-in process to do so. It is possible to aggregate the detailed data then use Excel-based functions to get the counts, but this process is a bit manual and can become slow with larger datasets.
When considering BI360, ensure that your organization has a clear understanding of the data you currently have and you would like to integrated with BI360. If you've thought through this on the front-end, you will ultimately be more successful in determining whether BI360 (or any software) meets your needs and in implementation. It would also be beneficial to include both technical and non-technical users in the conversations when you are considering a solution; bringing perspective and requirements from a wide audience will ensure that you are asking the right questions. Also, ensure that you have designated power users who are committed to using and improving BI360 and the related processes within your organization.
Problems we are trying to solve are:
1. Centralize disparate data sources
2. Eliminate redundancy in data storage and reporting
3. Implement a rolling forecast process
4. Develop key reports and metrics to inform data driven decision making
We have realized benefits related to all of the above:
1. Key data sources now live within the BI360 data warehouse (although we have some work that remains to integrate additional data sources).
2. Reports are now written from a common place (BI360 data warehouse), thus eliminating the need to pull and key data for multiple purposes. Additionally, the reports are written once and are then available for future use.
3. We have built out input forms and a process to implement a rolling forecast and are currently undergoing our third iteration of this process. We do have work left to build upon the logic in some of these forms such that additional calculations and logic can be automated, but the current forms enable us to enter and access more up-to-date information.
4. Because the burden or report generation is less manual with the implementation of BI360, we have been able to implement additional reports that enable us to understand our daily business, as well as future trends. We look forward to continuing to expand on our current report library, while continually reevaluating our reporting practices to ensure decision-makers are provided with information at the right level of detail.