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Business Intelligence Just Got Smarter

Business_IntelligenceFor years, I’ve used the phrase “business intelligence” but never knew really what it meant.

Wikipedia describes “business intelligence solutions” as computer-based techniques used in identifying, extracting, and analyzing business data, such as sales revenue by products, markets, or sales channels. BI technologies provide historical, current and predictive views of business operations.

Still somewhat cryptic, huh?

But the concept of business intelligence becomes clear when thought of in the context of product manufacturing.

Think of the cross-functional insights necessary to build a tangible product, and the potential complications that can arise from not being able to find, aggregate, report and see critical product data trends. Without these insights you can’t design — let alone have — data to make forward-thinking strategic business decisions.

In this complex product design world, companies must be more innovative and efficient in their design processes to remain competitive. They must design and deliver customized products tailored to the specific needs of global markets. Localization is part of this global challenge. To achieve these goals, more companies rely on modern product lifecycle management (PLM) to simplify their bill of materials (BOM) and change management.  This further helps them manage globally dispersed multifaceted supply chain teams involved in the design of intricate products.

But to really maximize your use of a PLM solution requires a BI solution to provide data and key performance indicator (KPI) analytics to measure progress, performance and trends of new product introduction (NPI). The business impact of a BI solution can be wide ranging, especially if your PLM system has been extended to address a broader array of design and supply chain challenges.

BI can significantly improve the value of complete PLM-based product information, enabling companies to make informed strategic decisions. However, it’s not enough that BI solutions be robust. BI tools need to be easy to use, easy to deploy, and easy to extract data. The solution must have definable dashboards that are intuitive, interactive and deployed in a snap with capabilities that are flexible to adopt to business changes.

A cloud-based BI solution helps companies view and analyze data from multiple systems for decision-making, reporting, monitoring, and analysis. A cloud-based BI gives supply chain teams the ability to create multi-dimensional reports, including graphs, and charts, without programming or dependence on additional IT resources.

Think of the total cost of ownership (TCO) for on-premise BI investment, which includes hardware, network, backup and development systems. The TCO also includes the cost of human capital, such as project management, database, server, firewall, security, backup and help desk resources — not to mention the overtime pay for weekend work to install emergency hot fixes, hardware repairs, or security issues. Unfortunately, with on-premise, the BI solution that was supposed to make your life easier is now making your life harder…and some significant multiple more expensive.

A cloud-based BI system is by its very nature a “business intelligent” first step in streamlining your PLM-based business processes.

BI tools integrated in your PLM system are critical for organizing and structuring large amounts of data. Success requires a rapid-BI approach that enables a company to quickly visually see its KPIs for its intellectual property and people. The cloud allows companies to more quickly and easily deploy BI solutions that incorporate multiple information sources.

A cloud-based BI is essential for companies to realize the full potential of PLM. That’s why Arena is launching Arena Analytics, a cloud-based solution that integrates with Arena PLM BOMControl, making the BI solution easy deploy without the traditional legions of resources required for on-premise implementation.