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TIBCO Spotfire's Business Intelligence Blog


SaaS Business Intelligence Solves the Data Silo Problem

200px Zipcar DC 4996 03 2009 150x133  SaaS Business Intelligence Solves the Data Silo Problem Business Intelligence is recognized for its business value. But according to a recent survey from Deloitte Consulting, about 30 percent of executives say either their companies don’t have data analytics capabilities or they don’t use what they already have.

Bureaucracy Still Rules
The survey, originally reported by Ericka Chickowski in this article, points to distributed data as the lead problem in either no solution or no use of a BI product. Fifty-two percent of the survey respondents said they couldn’t get the data needed to make information-backed decisions because the data is trapped in siloed departments and these groups have limited interaction.

Bureaucracy No Longer Has to Matter
It goes back to that traditional business objection to many large IT functions “we just don’t have the resources to get onboard.”  We can point fingers at this age-old problem, but as Chickowski reports, technology providers may be the solution to the silo problem.

When a BI solution can reach across the organization and either pull the data from multiple systems or give data handlers the power to simplify data collection, this excuse for not instituting BI-driven decisions falls short.

Let Technology Providers Do Their Jobs
Forty percent of the survey respondents want to improve operational efficiency, while another 17 want to segment customers and create targeted marketing programs.  John Lucker, a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, tells Chickowski that the demand is there for business analytics to make a huge splash in these organizations. However, it’s going to take partnering with the tech experts to overcome the silo issues.

How One Company Overcame the Silo Problem
A previous blog post described how ZipCar went with a flexible SaaS BI solution to overcome the data silo problem. Their business growth depended on it. The tool they implemented offered them the solution they needed to overcome the data hurdles – flexibility in data sources and analysis. That’s the secret. If your BI solution has the capability to pull from multiple sources and all users can analyze and present data in multiple visual formats, operational efficiency and targeted decisions are possible. ZipCar streamlined business processes and pulled the silos into a single solution to give users in marketing, finance and operations access to critical data.

Amanda Brandon
Spotfire Blogging Team

Image Credit:Flickr by jm3

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Joseph A. di Paolantonio

Not likely. When small groups within an organization can afford to get SaaS Analytics for THEIR data, that is data which they control or for which they have access, new silos are created.

This is just my opinion. However, in my experience, regardless of tools, leaders [not necessarily executives] break down silos while figuring out compliance issues caused by SOx, HIPAA, PCI, etc.

I’ve worked with several SaaS vendors in specialized verticals; helping them bring in OEM’d open source BI and Analytics as new offerings. In only one case did a customer leader, a project manager representing the business, successfully win the issue of not only replacing the targeted legacy systems with the new SaaS offering, but incorporating the SaaS Analytics that was part of the package with the EDW and traditional, on-site BI tools. In every other case, the SaaS offerings wound-up creating new data silos for the customers of those vendors.

Regardless, I am very much in favor of SaaS BI, EII and Analytics. I do believe that part of the professional services sales pitch should be in helping SaaS’ customers avoid creating new silos.

Spotfire Blogging Team

If the SaaS vendor is selling the product as a solution and strategically, this problem can break down. The goal of a BI solution is to be across the board, not siloed. It goes back to the vendor needing to educate and investigate their account before making the final sale. Great feedback on how it is now. But, it could be so much better.

- Amanda


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