On Christmas morning, I sat with my family excitedly unwrapping presents. I must admit that I got everything I wanted and more. My son gave me a handlebar/ski-pole mount for my Drift HD video camera. Getting it made me start thinking about doing more with the camera than the typical user does – here is me going downhill – here is me crashing (take a look) – here is me trying to keep up with my family – etc. That led me too why do companies not do more with their Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting (PBF) applications? I imagined you unwrapping your brand new Oracle Hyperion, IBM Cognos TM1, or SAP BPC software and saying “Now what?” All too often, the answer is more of the same, more manual processes to get the data, more ad hoc reporting, more unneeded detail in the budget, and more off-line spreadsheets to get the data in shape for the PBF application. Like me with my video camera, you need to start thinking about doing something different. Do not do it for the sake of being different; do it for the sake of doing things better. Here are some ideas to get you away from the incessant hunt for data, the everlasting close process, and endless reconciliation.
As 2012 ends, I thought it would be interesting to look at a category of tools that is gaining a significant hold in the Business Intelligence (BI) world. These tools are Personal Analytical Tools. The design of these tools allows users to be self-sufficient, to explore data, and to analyze it without IT involvement. The concept of user self-sufficiency is not new but the new tools are finally allowing users to realize the goal.