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Information Technology  WAITING FOR YOUR ROI?
Institutions Profile  IBA CONVOCATION



Challenges for decision makers

By SAQIB SABAH, Account Director
Teradata, a division of NCR
April 22 - 28, 2002

Whether you have an old or new ERP system, applications in character mode environment or GUI based, you have probably learned that to maximize its value, you have to work hard at getting information from the system that indeed is mostly done by your MIS department. For them is even tougher to write new reports, change the database structuring, find the historical data and what not! In short;

"The data checks in very efficiently, but the information can't check out as effectively and efficiently as it checks in.

IT managers are under immense pressure to deliver information that can be used to perform managerial analysis. Decision makers in companies are no longer content to read the simple reports that are generated by current systems. They need to have access to multi-dimensional information based on transactions generated both inside and outside the company.

The idea is not to hang on to the standard reports that comes out at specified time, instead the real challenge to the business managers is to get hold of the information on "as and when" required basis. It is very important for the organizations to move on from the traditional standardized reporting environment to the Ad Hoc Analysis environment. What it really mean is that the business users should get to the tiny little detail of the real data that is available in the system. Not only that but the system should be ready to obey to the command of the key user who wants to make a quick decision in order to respond to the market dynamics.

The world is changing. Globalization, increasing competition, fleeting loyalty of the customers has really put a real challenge for organizations to respond quickly to these challenges and it is only possible if the decision makers have the information readily available. Organizations over the period of time has realized the importance of a Data warehouse that should contain all the relevant historical data available to do the trend analysis and make the decisions not on the basis of summarized average data rather than base the decision on the actual detailed data available. It is not only the warehouse that is important rather the tools are equally important that enable the managers to play around with the data and get the 360 degree view of any situation. Unfortunately None of the ERP system, GUI mode application, and Web Based application will be able to bring in results until they are properly wrapped up with the effective business intelligent tools.

There are directions in terms of Data warehouse usage evolution where companies slowly want to grow over the period of time. They follow different phases where:

  • Stage 1: What Happened? (Reporting)

  • Stage 2: Why did it happen? (Analyzing)

  • Stage 3: Why will it happen? (Predicting)

  • Stage 4: What is happening? (Operationalizing)

  • Stage 5: Making it happen! (Active Warehousing)

In Pakistan, most of the companies are not even at Stage 1. Quite a lot of companies in Pakistan have already invested in ERP systems and are still waiting for their ROI to be achieved. Since most of the installations done in Pakistan are based on stage 1 basis (OLTP Environment) therefore it does not allow the business managers or key users to effectively synergize their thinking abilities with the available ERP systems. In order to have these ERP runs in an effective manner it has to be grown up to the next stage where it allows the key users to do the analyses (OLAP Environment) of the data. It will not only allow the business user to make effective use of the available system but in the meantime organizations can also be sure of its ROI. It gives an assurance to the ROI because it is based on the decisions that managers objectively make, for example in one instance only one query in a particular organization allowed them to achieve the complete ROI.

Teradata, a division of NCR, has the solution and skills available to take the customer along in the right direction. In Pakistan, Teradata in has successfully implemented the solution at key organizations and these organizations are already reaping the benefit out of it. Teradata in Pakistan has the capability to scope the project properly by grasping the business requirement of organization related to any industry, implement the solution and then service it with the right team of professionals.

To conclude, data warehouse is not a technical solution rather it is a process where by companies slowly and gradually are taken to the point where they cannot only analyze the situation but also to be able to do the predictive analyses. This process can only be successful when organization makes wise decision while choosing the right partner, who can hold the hands of the customer in order to take him along in the right direction.