Getting Lost in Enterprise BI Data

Mobile Man / Monday, August 3, 2015

Most modern organizations use a wide variety of applications to do their day-to-day business. For example, SharePoint is used for collaboration and storing documents, CRM systems are in place to manage customer relations, and databases store all relational data.

Every system used will have its own data source and User Interface to analyze it. While this works perfectly well if you only run a couple of applications, anything more will leave you feeling lost without a clear overview of where all your data is and how different sources relate to one another.

There is no all-in-one application for the enterprise

At present, there is simply no single application available that meets all the requirements of an enterprise. Some of them do a very good job in eliminating the need for multiple different apps, yet new tools are constantly emerging which offer opportunities for improving productivity and enhancing efficiency. Some of the most common requirements for enterprise productivity apps include:

  • File storage: Every company produces documents and artifacts. Fileshares can be leveraged for basic functionality - Dropbox or Google Drive may be used to make sharing externally easier, but most organizations use an enterprise product like Microsoft SharePoint. SharePoint makes collaboration much easier with features like metadata tagging, search, co-authoring and retention policies to name a few.
  • CRM: Almost every company makes money by selling services and products to customers. CRM systems have been developed to store all data about customers, such as contact details, possible leads, communication, projects and so on. Microsoft CRM is a very popular CRM system, but Salesforce is also widely used in organizations.
  • Databases: Other applications may be in use to fulfil other requirements, and almost any application has a database to store data. Users in the organization may also maintain their own personal database, for example by using Microsoft Access. Any database in the organization may contain invaluable information.
  • Web analytics tools: Google Analytics may be installed on the public facing web site to analyse its popularity and usage, while a tool like Flurry Analytics is aimed at mobile apps
  • Excel: Every business analyst, power user, or manager most likely uses Microsoft Excel to visualize data. It is still one of the most common data management tools and continues to power many companies’ calculations. For example, financial reports, project status reports, customer information are often held in Excel spreadsheets.

A lot of data silos

Every applications has its own data store. This becomes an issue when many applications are in use at the same time, and some functionality may be repeated between them. For example, a sales report may be created in Excel, and then the queries are copied to Salesforce to generate the same report there. Similarly, a report that analyses how many people buy a product on a website is created in Google Analytics, and then copied to a Microsoft CRM for further analysis.

The key problem here is that all data is stored in different silos, and there is not one overview that combines data and reports stored in all of these applications. This could be solved by integrating different systems. For example, SharePoint allows users to embed Excel Worksheets, meaning there is no need to use Excel anymore - SharePoint can be used instead.

However, the limit of this approach is that it requires a case-by-case implementation which takes up time, resources and a lot of configuration. A much easier alternative is to use a tool like ReportPlus. Available on iOS and Android, ReportPlus is particularly useful for enterprises with a wide variety of data sources, and enables them to combine all of these into a single view. Almost every application mentioned in this post can be imported without any developer knowledge.

ReportPlus stands out because it combines all of the valuable data in an organization - regardless of the application it was built in - and places it on one dashboard. This makes it very easy to create stunning visualizations that will make any manager or executive happy.

Configuring ReportPlus, importing data sources and creating dashboards can be done quickly and easily. The platform allows you to share all of this invaluable information via different channels, including Dropbox, SharePoint, or Google Drive. Furthermore, ReportPlus is invaluable as a mobile experience. With apps available for iOS and Android mobile devices, it allows managers on the move to quickly gain insights on the latest information from their organization and take actions accordingly.

Make use of all your different data sources

Many organisations struggle with the huge list of applications they use and a common problem they face is around building reports from data held in different data silos. ReportPlus makes it simple to combine different data sources from applications as diverse as Excel, SharePoint, Oracle DB, SQL or Google Analytics and lets users gain the smartest insights.