Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Closing the gap between strategy and execution with Oracle Business Intelligence 11g

Wikipedia defines strategy as a plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. An example of this is General Electric’s acquisitions and divestiture strategy (plan) designed to propel GE to number 1 or 2 place (goal) in every business segment that it operated in. Execution on the other hand can be defined as the actions taken to getting things done. In GE’s case execution will be steps followed for mergers/acquisitions or divestiture. Business press has written extensively about the importance of both strategy and execution in achieving desired business objectives. Perhaps the quote from Thomas Edison says it best – “vision without execution is hallucination”. Conversely, it can be said that “execution without vision” is well may be “wishful thinking”.

Research overwhelmingly point towards the wide gap between strategy and execution. According to a published study, 49% of surveyed executives perceive a gap between their organizations’ ability to develop and communicate sound strategies and their ability to implement those strategies. Further, of these respondents, 64% don’t have full confidence that their companies will be able to close the gap.
Having established the severity and importance of the problem let’s talk about the reasons for the strategy-execution gap. The common reasons include:
–        Lack of clearly defined goals
–        Lack of consistent measure of success
–        Lack of ownership
–        Lack of alignment
–        Lack of communication
–        Lack of proper execution
–        Lack of monitoring

There are multiple approaches to solving the problem including organizational development practices, technology enablement etc. In most cases a combination of approaches is required to achieve the desired result. For the purposes of this discussion, I’ll focus on technology. 

Imagine an integrated closed loop technology platform that automates the entire management cycle from defining strategy to assigning ownership to communicating goals to achieving alignment to collaboration to taking actions to monitoring progress and achieving mid course corrections. Besides, for best ROI and lowest TCO such a system should also have characteristics like:
  •  Complete

–        Full functionality
–        Rich end user access
  • Open

–        Any data source
–        Any business application
–        Any technology stack
  •  Integrated

–        Common metadata
–        Common security
–        Common system management

From a capabilities perspective the system should provide the following capabilities:
  • Define
–        Strategy
–        Objectives
–        Ownership
–        KPI’s
  • Communicate
–        Pervasive
–        Collaborative
–        Role based
–        Secure
  • Execute
–        Integrated
–        Intuitive
–        Secure
–        Ubiquitous
  • Monitor
–        Multiple styles and formats
–        Exception based
–        Push & Pull

Having talked about the business problem and outlined the blueprint for a technology solution, let’s talk about how Oracle Business Intelligence 11g can help. Oracle Business Intelligence is a comprehensive business intelligence solution for reporting, ad hoc query and analysis, OLAP, dashboards and scorecards. Oracle’s best in class BI platform is based on an architecturally integrated technology foundation that provides a unified end user experience and features a Common Enterprise Information Model, with common security, query request generation and optimization, and system management. The BI platform is

·         Complete – meaning it delivers all modes and styles of BI including reporting, ad hoc query and analysis, OLAP, dashboards and scorecards with a rich end user experience that includes visualization, collaboration, alerts and notifications, search and mobile access.
·         Open – meaning the BI platform integrates with any data source, ETL tool, business application, application server, security infrastructure, portal technology as well as any ODBC compliant third party analytical tool. The suite accesses data from multiple heterogeneous sources—including popular relational and multidimensional data sources and major ERP and CRM applications from Oracle and SAP.
·         Integrated – meaning the BI platform is based on an architecturally integrated technology foundation built on an open, standards based service oriented architecture.  The platform features a common enterprise information model, common security model and a common configuration, deployment and systems management framework.

To summarize, Oracle Business Intelligence is a comprehensive, integrated BI platform that lets you define strategy, identify objectives, assign ownership, define KPI’s, collaborate, take action, monitor, report and do course corrections all form a single interface and a single system. The platform’s integrated metadata model and task based design ensures that the entire workflow from defining strategy to execution to monitoring is completely integrated delivering end to end visibility, transparency and agility. Click here to learn more about Oracle BI 11g. 

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