How a Business Intelligence Platform Empowers Decisions
By: Alan Seal on November 5, 2019
The digital transformation of the global economy has made technology central to almost every industry’s business strategy. Organizations depend upon their IT infrastructure to build, deliver, and market products and services more than ever before. The ability to make quick, well-informed decisions regarding that infrastructure is essential to business success. Without good information, however, companies are taking a stab in the dark when it comes to developing their IT strategy. Fortunately, business intelligence platforms can provide them with easily accessible data and the control they need to manage their technology assets effectively.
What is a Business Intelligence Platform?
Broadly speaking, a business intelligence platform is a type of customer service portal and analytics platform that provides real-time, actionable information that allows organizations to make better decisions informed by data. While not strictly an analytics platform, business intelligence tools provide both raw data and processed information that highlights specific details relevant to business operations.
Business intelligence platforms perform three specific functions for organizations that implement them:
Analysis: At their core, business intelligence platforms are all about data. They collect data from a variety of inputs and analyze it according to a customer’s needs. Much of this analysis is built into the platform’s functionality. Users don’t need to do any coding or development themselves to generate the data they need.
Information Delivery: As a customer service portal, business intelligence tools excel at delivering information to users. After data has been analyzed, it can then be delivered through a variety of easily accessible formats. Usability is a core feature of any BI platform. Users can customize what data they want to see and how they see it.
Platform Integration: When it comes to technology platforms, many organizations are already juggling multiple systems on a day-to-day basis. Business intelligence platforms are designed for ease of use, allowing them to integrate seamlessly into existing systems and functions. Rather than forcing people to master an entirely new system, BI platforms allow users to get the information they need to make strategic decisions with minimal friction.
Business Intelligence Tools in the Data Center
While data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools provide many of the same benefits of a business intelligence platform, they are often far less user-friendly. That’s because they’re designed for the benefit of data center operations, not for customers using the data center. As a customer-facing approach to DCIM, however, business intelligence platforms can provide a number of benefits to colocation customers.
One of the biggest concerns facing organizations moving from an on-premises data solution is how much visibility they will have over their colocated infrastructure. Many data center providers make it difficult to obtain reports on power and bandwidth utilization, forcing customers to put in a formal request for a report that may not tell them everything they need to know. If colocated assets are using less power and bandwidth than they’re paying for, they may have no way of knowing that they’re spending more money than they need to.
With a business intelligence platform that provides real-time data, colocation customers can finally get the visibility they need to make decisions regarding their hardware assets. Monitoring power usage over time down to the circuit level allows customers to see what’s happening in their IT environment first hand rather than having to parse through a needlessly complex report after the fact. In many cases, a BI platform can provide greater visibility as to what’s happening in the data center than companies could get from their own on-premises facility.
For all the challenges associated with on-premises data solutions, companies like knowing that they have total control over assets in a private data center. Placing hardware in a colocation facility, however, can sometimes feel like hiding away assets and throwing away the key. Retaining control over that infrastructure is critical to business flexibility and maintaining high levels of data availability. When something goes wrong, organizations want to take steps to address the problem immediately rather than working through potentially unreliable or inefficient intermediaries.
With a business intelligence platform in place, organizations can retain extensive control over colocated infrastructure. Paired with the high visibility functions of a BI platform, customer service portals allow users to manage their assets directly, controlling who has access to them at any given time and using automated systems to issue support tickets. Since ticketing requests are issued directly through the BI platform, there is less opportunity for confusion, miscommunication, or human error when it comes to reporting and addressing problems.
Any organization dealing with customer data needs to be keenly aware of compliance requirements. In fact, the pressure of maintaining compliance is one of the main reasons why organizations are moving away from on-premises solutions. However, many providers make it difficult to be fully transparent about compliance. Compliance reports can be difficult to obtain, usually involving a long back and forth process with the provider’s legal team. This can be a challenge when a customer needs a compliance or attestation report for their own auditing purposes or to satisfy the needs of a vendor.
Customers can deal with compliance-related issues far more easily with a business intelligence platform at their disposal. Reports can be made available directly through the customer service portal, allowing them to obtain copies within seconds at the click of a button rather than waiting weeks or even months for a provider’s legal team to produce a report. This provides customers with much greater flexibility, allowing them to prove to potential customers and third-party contractors that their data solution is fully compliant with whatever standards are required for a particular industry (such as HIPAA for healthcare or PCI DSS for companies accepting credit card payments).
Business intelligence platforms have the potential to fundamentally transform the way companies view colocation. The information needs of today’s organizations require much more than the traditional space, power, and cooling services of colocation data centers. By using business intelligence tools, such as vXchnge’s award-winning in\site, colocation customers can get all the information they need to make better decisions regarding their technology solutions and IT infrastructure.
About Alan Seal
Alan Seal is the VP of Engineering at vXchnge. Alan is responsible for managing teams in IT support and infrastructure, app development, QA, and ERP business systems.
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