Information Systems Index
- Alternative to Costly CRM Solutions on MarketIs there an alternative for costly CRM solutions that have poor implementation success rate?
- Automation is important, or notsome automation faking can happen if management pushes to hard and unreasonably asks that everything should be like they think should be, not what expert say.
At the end to show that something is automated like report IT expert could do manual work between data import, processing and data publishing.
This is automation faking...
- Benchmarking Information FeedThe benchmarking is done once a year or even once in two years. It is a rare process, and aim of it is to compare performance of many companies. Comparison is made according to defined standard of benchmarking experts and very thoroughly.Since many companies are compared and analyzed, essence of comparisons are naturally performance indicators from their Information Reporting Systems. Each company has its own unique environment, its own unique Information Systems landscape, and mostly its own decisions and methodology of performance indicators. It is an illusion to expect prepared and standardized data from different companies.
- Bridle changesCompanies are boiling pots of changes: new products, new processes, new organizations... It is more than hard to include all emerging changes in Information Systems simply because they happen too often and are not predictable. But off course it is not company fault trying to survive on very dynamic market that causes all the changes.
- Brutal standardisation of information systemsUgly side of medal of standardization and centralization is that daughter companies stay very dependable about one central system and loose on its market value. Company cannot be sold for same amount money without independent Information systems as with fully autonomic information systems. Beside IS as independent solution corresponding processes and organization are missing too. IS can not work alone and need environment too work properly, environment that "takes care" about it. In case of selling company, information systems, processes and expert teams have to be build once again after they were shut down :). Perhaps centralization is cyclic process, shutting down and then building up from the beginning just to satisfy certain management appetites.
- Building Parallel Business Intelligence ReportsCorporate information environment is full of reporting solutions - reporting universes. It is tempting thing to make parallel reporting solutions that have most of the information base same but not complete. Building parallel reporting solutions is easier but also makes huge information and knowledge problems in the future.
- Bundled and Un-bundled ProductsRecent strategies of many marketers include now combinations of many products into one, as one package. That means placing subscriptions, gifts, coupons, services, gadgets and much more for one price. This is actually wrapping different products as one product toward customers. I think that pretty soon they'll create targeted bundled products for John Smith and it will include gallons of gasoline, dentist coupon for several tooth, excursion to nearby state, 10 kWh of electricity monthly, if you sign for their product... just kidding. But it is getting in many industries like this.
- Business Intelligence Example of Reporting Errors - Duplication of FiguresData Warehouse is not imune to changes on source systems, actually it is very vulnarable to them. If source systems have duplicate figures, Data Warehouse will also report duplicates. Here is an example from practice where guys made patch on CRM system to handle "urgent" marketing product without making any kind of communication toward reporting - DWH and Business Intelligence. Duplicated figures were in official reports for three months and caused significant deviations of core Key Performance Indicators. Unfortunatelly, reporting mistake was presented to the board members as Data Warehouse error.
- Business Intelligence PredatorsWhat is the main characteristic of pack of wolves. They hunt together as a team and chase prey continously in predfined roles. While one pair of wolves chases prey after a while second pair will change exhausted pair. It is the most intelligent animal behavior.
Have you ever spotted team of managers, experts and consultants going in a group from company to company. Support each other, work on different levels like executive directors, board members, experts and consultants. Highly educated, with extraordinary presentations. Well that is nothing weird. Highly interested in big capital business intelligence projects and for major upgrades of production systems at the same time! They strongly encourage implementation of new solutions. This is also not strange.
- Business Intelligence Testing Acceptance FearBusiness Intelligence Testing period can be very stressful for users who are not skilled with information. They can suffer from various types of doubts.
- Choosing Business Intelligence SoftwareExtremely important fact to consider is roadmap of business intelligence tool. There were many tools that were simply "abandond" buy their owners. Place yourself on vendors position, would you keep in your portfolio competing products? SAP for example has this dilemma. Which product shall be integrated into vertical products platform as complete solution and which shall be abandoned... If company implements product that will soon terminate deployment and development simply due too business intelligence market processes - acquistions or mergers...their implemented business intelligence tool is vaste of investment.
- Code Re-usageHabit of code re-usage in Information Systems affects reporting consistency and makes significant impact on data quality. It is so easy to recycle code, but is it really necessary...
- Complex Information System Environment
- Complex ReportingComplex reporting raises with information environment complexity, market dynamics, and product portfolio. It is important to understand signs of reporting complexity.
- Corporate GratitudeCompany very often recognizes and rewards great contribution of the team that made custom made solution, but very often, company can show gratitude with additional accumulation of new demands and with expectations to promptly clean information errors.
- Crazy little thing called Business Intelligence ReportBureaucracy is never-ending source of crazy tasks. Here is the case of one small task, business has to generate small report on push the button for the official external reporting purposes. At first glance nothing is wrong with the task coming from certain department that report has to be implemented somewhere in company information systems. Nothing weird...
- Data changes problemsEvery change in source system directly related with reporting systems, specially Business Performance Management Software can cause official external and internal reporting collapse. What seams small change in only one table in source system like change in hierarchy of one larger customer could cause distorted or no data at all if the change is not predicted in company information system (IS). Finding business segments of offices beneath residential customer. Obviously this is a mistake and needs to be cleaned.
- Data ForensicsIf company insists on investigating every aspect of business intelligence reporting errors then we are talking about data forensic. It is mandatory to be aware about reporting mistakes that happened but too big focus on every detail of generated error (who made mistake, who signed, who defined process, was everything under procedure, what is the error impact and etc.)
- Data Model LimitsWhenever strategic management decision making process needs new data from existing company information systems it should be implemented quickly and information provided easily. But is it really so?Problem is that every new requirement for information details might face limitations in data models in production systems or data warehousing.
- Data Warehouse Process Shock Absorber
- Data, Information, Knowledge, WisdomData and Information are very often mixed like it is same synonim. It is not. Data are set of facts describing objects and their relations in space and time. Data can have usage value or not. This is the basic difference between data and information. Data becomes information when it brings news to user and grows his knowledge. Data with usage value is information and data becomes information happens with data processing by organizing and analyzing data. Information is received and understood message. Information is data placed in context while data is out of context.
- DeadlinesIt is weird situation, companies have more software, more systems and more experts but when it comes to achieving the deadlines nothing from mentioned helps. Deadlines are hard to achieve and are always stressful. How is it possible that with so many invested resources it is hard to report, it is still hard to get data and to present them? It is possible to hear statements like: "we are doing manually like we did before. It is much worse now."
- Decision InformationFor every decision quality on time information is essential. Making decisions without analyze of information is a wild guess. Several groupings of decisions information can be defined according to nature, intended purpose and source.There are two basic types of information needed for decisions, let's name them decision information, with different structure - nature: financial and non-financial (business) information. Shown on figure with two parts of information pyramids (black part for financial information and other business information).Another major decision information separation can be considered as source of information, is the information source inside company or from outside: internal and external information. Internal information can be additionally distinguished by Business Units specifics: sales, customer care, marketing, production, logistic, materials, and etc.
- Decision ManipulationI like decision manipulation. Before decision is made I do like to play with possible scenarios, to manipulate with decision, and to fine tune best revenue share. In other words, it is easy to find profitability peak, because costs are more or less fixed for considered decision but revenues are changeable.It is not an empty phrase to say that for certain decisions costs are fixed and revenues are changeable. If changes are made in small steps and if they are directly related with fixed cost categories, they are indeed fixed. On the other hand, revenues can be changeable, depending on price & discount policy, bundled products and services, guarantees, delivery timing, product and services portfolio, and etc. All named factors can be modified without direct influence on cost side. Catch is, these are fine and sensitive steps.
- Detailed Specification DisadvantageMaking detailed requirement - specification for Information System project could have suprising affect on project budget. There is a negative connection between specification production time and project budget.
- Difference between data integration and unificationDifference between data integration and unification is best to consider through Data Warehouse (DWH). It is widely used technology and it quite often being treated to help company with both crucial data quality issues. Data unification is something what Data Warehouse (DWH) does with ease since it is constructed to gather information from many sources with purpose to speed reports and to store data. All data are in same storage place customized for reporting processes.
- Different Ratings for Management Information SystemThere are many stories about same solution. All depends from the point of view.
If you ask...
... a programmer: "Well, system was done in wrong way with to little features. It all could have be done much better."
... data steward:" It is now worse then before, and I have less than before. There is more mapping to do."
... manager responsible for system:"It is a great solution making processes and decision making - piece of cake."
- Discrimination of Big Information SystemsIn many ways big systems are privileged in harvesting additional profit from their market domination. In one particular element big systems are in slave position. It is in area of information systems. Speed and ability to apply change in information systems, to add new dimensions or measures to decision support systems is negative for big systems.
- ERP reporting and DWH/BIIs it reasonable to include ERP reports in Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence or not? It is a thin line between wrong and good decision. Here are few thoughts what is about data transfers.
- Excel and controllingReporting toward external customers like stock, owners, tax, regulators, auditors and others or internal reporting is one of main role of controlling, more in article about controlling. Main task of controlling is to prepare reports out of accounting data for management in understandable and custom formats. Preparation of many types of reports are made in Excel, which is excellent platform for table data preparation and calculation.
- Excel in ControllingExcel loves controlling and controllers (comptrollers) adore Excel mostly due to its superb functionalities. It is love in both way, pure chemical reaction. Therefore Excel is very often used in Controlling processes like planning, reporting and forecasting, budgeting and many more. Yes Excel and Controlling are tightly connected and often wrongly percepted by management and by IT.
- Excel mappings systematic solution
- Fast Information Systems SolutionLet me start with one great Dalmatian proverb..."Nije priša ulovila miša, nego vrebanje i dugo čekanje."paraphrased to English... Pressure did not caught the mouse but lurking and long waiting.
- Financial Information SystemFinancial Information Systems determine quality of financial statements and decision making processes. They are not strictly defined but their importance is too high to be left in grey area of undefined information systems. They are essential for quality business operations.
- Gather all production systems eggs together
- General ConceptIf each marketing product is going to be implemented without general concept and idea of future business logic of products and without cost and revenue details for thorough profitability analysis then Information Systems are going to be caught in trap of impossible functionality and business logic.
- How Not to Measure Business Intelligence PerformanceDo not count jobs and tasks per tables or lists, with semaphore lights, comments, deadlines and etc.These lists can be easily transformed into many smaller tasks. Lists can mislead for example it might look that nothing is happening while there are happening solutions on instances that are not mentioned (not on the list) but do make significant basis of complete reporting later. If there is no true and deep knowledge about what is going on in business intelligence processes it is easy to misinterpret value of ...
- How to integrate Excel and Business Intelligence
- How to make Business Intelligence Masterpiece
- Information flow disturbanceWhenever data or information flow disturbance appears in company inadequate reporting appears and as final result wrong knowledge on strategic level can be created. Information and data flow starts with entering data in transaction systems, production systems. Next step of flow is data export form production systems and data combining from one or more systems and shaping data for reporting purposes. Data in context in report create information. Final stage is making decisions upon properly prepared set of information and making conclusions and actions. It is crucial to recognize where are weak links in data and information flow and to diminish influence from inadequate company data and information flow.
- INFORMATION OVERLOAD - Problems and SolutionsManagement faces serious problems in the decision-making processes due to information overload. With financial and economic crises corporations generate internal information like never before. Information generation is forwarded toward decision makers, strategic decision makers. Management has to deal with hundreds of pages of key performance indicators presented in graphs, tables, projections and similar. It is overwhelming for persons to handle all information. It is almost impossible to correlate all information and to create knowledge of it, because everyday information overload includes thousands of Key Performance Indicators and Financial Ratios.
- Information System and Decision MakingInformation systems and decision making process are very tightly connected. Depending on level/type of information systems feed certain type of decisions can be made. If information from production systems has been taken then it is very likely decisions on operative levels are made. Moving from production systems to information reporting systems more complex decisions can be generated. Best information system for decision making process is definitely
- Information System Functional OverlappingIf somebody makes change somewhere in production system, master data management or data warehouse there is a huge possibility that someone’s information functionality will be changed.We are all part of big information network and we have functional overlapping almost in all segments of business. Our work on information systems as IT developer, business analytics, data steward or decision maker (as methodology expert) affects many Information Systems participants. You can not act as lonely and isolated island
- Information System Paradox
- Information System PartsCompany information system consist of:
Transaction systems and management infromation system,
Decision support system,
Communication and collaboration system.
- Information Systems ComplexityDuring time production systems in company Information System have many customizations to handle all exceptions. Data flow between systems is customized, production systems are customized and reporting systems at the end look far different from implementation status. Everything changes tremendously during time and becomes more complex. With each new marketing product and innovation information systems grows more than planned.
- Information Systems Delivery ProblemsReports are being produced, users have started to test them. Everything seems idealistic... But reports have errors and IT is concentrated on report quantity not quality. Users report errors but IT does not have time to fix them, because reporting quantity needs to be caught.Reports are top of the ice bergs, with their testing many errors will appear that are not made by reporting platform. Their error source could be deeper in production systems or even in the processes.
- Information Systems LandscapeHave you ever seen company Information systems Landscape? It is a detailed map of Information Systems with relations with basic processes and brief descriptions.With this information many non IT employees can get detailed information of how information flows are consisted and related. It is a valuable information for company knowledge management process and that should not be highly secret.
- Intelligent Decision SystemWith current technology it is possible to make very powerful and intelligent decision system but current technology (software, methods, know-how and hardware, procedures and etc.) is not stuffed with right methodology/concept that can provide best decision system for drilling deep into corporate knowledge and information base without clutter effect. Not being stuffed with right technology means to have built-in methods and concepts in application core. If application is not built on targeted method, application
- Key Performance Indicator ProblemsKPIs are controversial, they do assume that information and data are integrated and are of high quality. With more and more generation of unstructured data in the Information Systems, quality of KPIs is also highly volatile and questionable.
- Killing Information SystemsRequests toward IT information implementation to production source systems and toward data warehouse can make more troubles then benefits. It is important to find out core problems and to find most effective and opportune solution for both sides.
- Knowing Information SystemsRecently I've realised other side of knowledge of IT experts and managers that worked only on one information system.Here is what happened...They were in position of power and asked and forced for additional data. OK, it can be done but we need time and money because we really have complex company information landscape. Getting additional information is not a trivial stuff. Bigger and older organization plus dynamic market is a guarantee of highly complex information systems.
- Knowledge Integration vs. Information IntegrationKnowledge integration means to connect information that are not possible to connect through information systems, at least not without huge efforts. Knowledge integration means to connect information sets with new relations, something that is not connectable with information intelligence but is possible with combination of experience, market knowledge, internal information flow and etc. When you simply just know that information are connectable...
- Knowledge Management and Business Intelligence PictureCombination of all mentioned exports form information systems to knowledge management base with corporate documentation, processes and innovations is essential Decision Intelligence, basis for decision support system. Only adequately stuffed Decision Intelligence can create Competitive Intelligence.
- Major Reduction of IT Investment
- Marketing ProductsWe live in product hyperporduction world. Just name the industry and there are thousands of products. Products are any kind of tangible and intangible asset and it is paradise for marketing experts. They produce like never before, but this post is not to question value of hyperproduction it is to questionmarketeers cretivity vs. programers creation.
- Micro-Macro Information Systems AbsurdityMicro world gets all possible attention, macro revenue world gets superficial attention and effort.Company will loose macro revenue amounts but will assure revenue correctness of dimes.
- Microsoft Analysis Services Performance SpeedWhat ever is not restricted causes hedeaches. It is the love and hate story with Microsoft Analysis Services software. Despite all advantages, level of disadavntages is also significant.Here is the idea,...more users are using OLAP cubes within Excel, different cubes per different sheets, more calculations have to be made. Amount of calculations grow tremendously with many new users attacking production serevrs. Using OLAP cubes with data from Data Warehouse is excellent feature becuse power of two very powerful solutions are combined with ease.
- MS Access and Excel - Worthy Temporary Local ApplicationsDo you appreciate "hand- made" - local applications that jump into Information Systems gaps and support processes? They are made within month/months mostly with MS Access and/or Excel (with VBA) and they greatly ease job to administrators, decision makers or even business analysts. They can be made very quickly but cannot be replaced with professional applications and included in company Information Systems for many months.
- Neglecting IT Project Implementation ProceduresCompanies set up with the time procedures and channels for handling Change Requests upon Information Systems. Procedures serve to standardize changes and to make regulation in IT requests prioritization and handling. Not all requests toward IT are reasonable, they need to be analyzed first before internal IT resources are engaged. Internal resources are limited and budget cannot cover everything. Such IT request standardization processes allow better strategic implementation and resource planning.
- No way backImplementation of new Application like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can be very tricky. Maintenance and operation of old CRM system is demanding and at certain point of development needs to be leaved. Needs to be switched to new CRM that is at certain level of deployment, not completed yet.
- OLAP vs Relational Tables
- Partial Master Data ManagementThroughout recent meetings I've witnessed thrill about upcoming Master Data Management solutions. "They will solve all generated problems".
- Permanent Decision Making ConceptIs it possible to have information place in company where everlasting changes cannot spoil strategic information sets? Further on, what is the sense of permanent change in companies. Why so often companies have to reshuffle and totally replace decision making basis? Software, hardware, vendors, consultants, experts, business analysts... Everything has to be changed from time to time, and does periods are getting shorter and shorter. Actually when one implementation of the particular core information system is made others are already on the way... And so on and so on.How this permanent changes affect strategic decision making systems?
- Pieces of KnowledgeGathering of corporate knowledge was never more demanding then now. New technologies like Business Intelligence did not provided single point of truth as they promised but more insecurity and more frustration to users.
- Private Comfort ZoneEach of us has private safety zone build upon routines, information, reports, interfaces… and we do not change them because change is frustrating. Just remember portion of antagonism when we get new software… we need time to get used to it and to get fruitful benefits.In corporate world I’ve seen so many cases of private comfort zone on users side. They do not want to switch to new systems for example. But, I’ve also seen so many cases where IT experts also resist to change Information Systems. How to call untouchable Information systems?Comfort Information Sets?
- Problem types and management decision levelsMid management deals on tactical level with different types of problems and mainly with partly structured problems. Two systems are available for solving structured, partly structured and non structured problems: Management Information System and Decision Support System.
- Process problems in productionWith introduction of DWH and BI lot of dirt below carpet is found, meaning many process errors in production systems are found. Not only dirt is found but also dead mice are found below carpet. When reporting errors are being communicated to production systems owners first reaction is treating the bad messenger as enemy. We do not have errors, why are you attacking us, you have made mistake and similar can be heard from respective owners and this is logical human reaction. After first negative shock they will start to cooperate on cleaning process errors, data quality and data flow improvement but first expect emotional fight.
- Production data errorsOccurrence of production error data for reports is very often since production systems are more process oriented then process-reporting oriented. Productions systems are customized for processes and for plain and simple reports mostly for users in divisions that are owners of system. What is usually forgotten and perhaps is not so obvious is that very aggregated reports are not included into debate during project analysis and later in deployment and implementation. Result is that aggregated KPIs from one source or from several sources are not "consolidated". This is a financial term but fits in this perfectly. KPI A combined with KPI B and KPI C should give logical result, zero. For example if X number of subscribers deactivate subscription, Y number of subscribers purchase subscription, Z number of subscribers are deactivated do to many reasons (nonpayment, technical reasons and
- Project spam Generating internal information overload
- Quality vs Quantity of ReportsMany Information Production Projects require after process and functional setup development of reports for users. Reports can be deployed in updated production system or can be produced in Data Warehouse.Printing reports like on the industrial line. IT likes to produce huge amounts of reports because it is better for their PR. Huge quantity of partly developed reports looks better in presentation comparing to only few reports that are finished and of high quality. Yes, it is tempting situation to developers if it is not strictly prioritized
- Report Testing with Confused Useruser is expecting mind reading application that will prepare report that uses as a source unstructured data out of information systems...that was not specified and that is changing during deployment...
- Reporting and Technical Feasibility of New ProductsProduct launch are always stressful events, especially with following requirement: “We want to launch product and quality reporting for corrective actions and further decision making follow ups.”Well, new products might be tough to implement into information sytsems especially if marketing product is structured radically different then current ones. If it is not radically different then it is a kind of combination of already seen.
- Reporting Business Intelligence ArchitectReporting architect has to take care about all current reporting dimensional requirements are built into company information systems. Has to take care about reporting world: management reporting, expert analysis, internal and official reporting and etc. In addition architect needs to also take care about future reporting scaling and development. In other words, shall current reporting business intelligence system function in future with new reporting features and requirements. Shall current reporting system adopt new requirement easily or with lot of money, human, time effort.
- Reporting Testing Environment for Information System UpgradeThere are many different testing experiences. Some bad, some good but this testing experience of information system is most funny among all testings so far.
- Saturated Information SystemHow we know that company Information System is outdated and that it needs major upgrade or change with advanced systems?
- Scheduling of software implementation mattersPlanning, reporting, consolidation and Master Data Management (MDM)...
What comes first and implementation plan matters?
It does, but also if you're aware of danger can be counted before.
- Set Up Complete Business Intelligence
- Sharing Key Performance Indicators
- Simple Minds
- Single Point of TruthSingle Point of Truth is a concept that misleads company knowledge basis. It used to be worthy but nowadays it is the concept that causes more damage than benefits.
- Trans Siberian RailwayIt is always tempting to implement quick win solution especially for master data management solutions. This means to implement whatever technical solutions can be to save time and money. Later it means to transfer content to other more advanced master data management solutions. There is also dark side of quick implementations and they are very similar to Trans Siberian railway project. Railway was planned to be made quickly without solid basis of stones for rails (rails were placed on soil), with poor iron rails that could not survive extremely low temperatures and similar. Speed has its price but also long implementation has its own price.
- Wonderful Generalization and BanalityIt is so easy to proclaim solution for Information Systems wihtout knowledge about consequences of such decision.
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