Real time business intelligence and decision-making : how does a real time business intelligence system enable better and timelier decision-making? An exploratory case study.
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Today’s businesses need support when making decisions. Business intelligence (BI) helps businesses to make decisions based on good pre--‐analysis and documented data, and enables information to be presented when and where the decisions need to be made. Real time business intelligence (RTBI) presents numbers in real time, providing the decision makers at the operational and tactical layers with data as fresh as it can be. Little research has previously been done on how a real time business intelligence solution can benefit an organization in means of changing current decision processes. This thesis aims to show why there is a need for a real time business intelligence solution and how that can change the current decision processes and make them more efficient. Further it indicates that there are challenges to the current decision processes that need to be addressed. This study has been conducted as a qualitative exploratory case study in the Byggma group, with 16 face--‐to--‐face interviews at the three plants of Huntonit AS, Fibo--‐Trespo AS and Uldal AS, and an additional meeting observation at Fibo--‐Trespo AS. The interviews were conducted in two phases. The first phase included 13 interviews that focused on the needs for a decision support system and the knowledge level in the organization. The second phase was conducted by selecting three specific respondents from the first phase that were given different scenarios to describe the current decision processes in detail by using an interview method called the thinking--‐aloud--‐event--‐protocol. This phase also included the meeting observation at Fibo--‐Trespo AS. The results indicate that many decision processes were affected by the lack of fresh and reliable data available to the decision--‐maker. The factor of intuition, especially the use of a “gut--‐feeling” was a contributing factor to the decision processes and a factor that the plant directors would usually approve of. The research showed that there is a need for a real time business intelligence solution because the employees do not have the most reliable and fresh information to make decisions at the operational and tactical layers. Furthermore there were challenges with the current decision processes that would also need to be addressed in order to change the current processes. The study concludes that a real time business intelligence solution would be beneficial for supporting the operational and tactical layers of decision--‐making within an organization. By implementing an RTBI solution, it would provide the decision--‐maker with fresh and reliant data to base the decisions on. Visualization of the current decision processes showed that by adding a real time business intelligence solution it would help eliminate the use of intuition, as there would be more data available and the decisions can be made where the work is performed. Furthermore the results show that there are potential challenges with the current decision processes that need to be addressed in order to achieve the benefits of such an implementation: Processes need to be automated. There needs to be agreement on what should be measured in real time. Employees need to be ensured they will not loose their relationship to the numbers. There is a need for a data warehouse in the current IT architecture. III The case study contributes to research by visualizing how a real time business intelligence solution can shorten a complex decision process by giving the correct information to the right people. It also shows that factors used when there is not sufficient information available, can be eliminated. Further it suggests that organizations need to address potential challenges as part of a pre--‐project of a real time business intelligence implementation.
Masteroppgave i informasjonssystemer- Universitetet i Agder, 2012