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Five Business Intelligence Trends to Help IT Finance Teams Organize, Visualize and Respond

You might have plenty of data, but what are you doing with this data? Moreover, what is the data doing for you and your enterprise?

Data and analytics ultimately the drive spending decisions of future cloud, network, mobility and the overall IT budgets — so it’s imperative your enterprise is up-to-date on the latest capabilities. When used right, business intelligence (BI) can reveal your technology infrastructure’s pain points, illuminate where expenses are occurring and where they might be reduced, support benchmarking, and provide predictive and prescriptive analytics. BI can empower organizations to gain insight into new opportunities, assess demand and measure suitability of different services.

But what BI developments really have a measurable impact in streamlining and improving everyday processes — while also reducing costs? We narrowed it down to five of the most game-changing trends in BI for IT Finance teams.

Dynamic and Visual Reporting

With the ultra-modern capabilities offered by some BI platforms, digesting, analyzing and sharing relevant, real-time business insights is becoming easier and more intuitive. Today’s dynamic dashboard interfaces are able to simplify and display enormous amounts of data with applicable and responsive visual aids, such as:

• At-a-glance, easy-to-digest charts and graphs presenting a quick overview of usage and account activity.
• Map-based visualizations that allow enterprises to keep tabs on services spanning cities and other geographies. If a company is undergoing a major re-organization, this perspective can help your enterprise see where services are still active — and eliminate unnecessary recurring expenses.
• Calendar visualizations that offer visibility in terms of deadlines, contract renewals, invoicing and delivery dates.


Dashboards are increasingly designed with a self-service mentality, allowing users to build reports to display the data exactly how they want. IT teams can adjust the dashboard to fit their preferences — aesthetically and functionally. Personalization saves time, as users won’t need to sift through piles of irrelevant data to extract the information they need.

Without self-service capabilities, users need to export raw data into Excel spreadsheets so they can manually manipulate the data and distribute it to others. This a time-consuming, non-reproductible process that slows decision-making. Further, some BI vendors charge additional fees to create specified reports time-consuming and non-reproductible, slowing down decision-making.

Role-based Visibility

Each employee should be able to access the information they need, when they need, to perform at their highest potential. Unnecessary data may confuse or hinder an individual’s ability to respond to real-time updates that affect their everyday responsibilities. With modernized dashboards that offer role-based visibility, each professional — whether they’re at the CIO level or a front-line business manager — is able to quickly collect and digest the data that matters most to their position. This doesn’t only support each employee in their role, but also promotes the overall goals of the enterprise. With these capabilities, business leaders are able to:

• Build personalized queries and calculators
• Ensure sensitive data is protected and only accessible to those with the proper credentials
• Access broad overviews for a “big picture” approach or develop sophisticated reports for a narrow but precise view
• Provide macro-level reporting to support enterprise-wide discussion and direction
• Utilize sharing capabilities to communicate information at all levels of an enterprise or with accounts — without worrying about data discrepancies

Easy Access to Key Metrics

The most effective business intelligence systems deliver actionable and current key performance indicators (KPIs), across any data element. KPIs are a valuable metric to measure performance, helping high-level employees keep track of the overall estate, identify saving opportunities and inform enterprise-wide decisions. Illustrative KPIs within a reoccurring technology expense environment may include:

Zero Usage – Devices that show zero activity but continue to incur an expense.
Leaver Devices – Lines that are still being used by employees who are no longer with the company.
Net Cost per User – A dollar amount indicating how much each user is costing the enterprise.
Net Cost per Site – A dollar amount indicating how much each site is costing the enterprise.
Network Capacity – The amount of traffic an enterprise’s network can handle at a given time.
Underutilized Assets – Services that are over-subscribed and should be downgraded or consolidated to optimize cost.

Embracing Artificial Intelligence

BI platforms should always evolve with time — adhering to the latest advancements in technology and organizational structures. Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the biggest promises in the tech world, suggesting that machine learning will amplify enterprise capabilities through advanced pattern recognition and automated decision-making. While AI is still in its infancy, there is the possibility for it to revolutionize the industry landscape in the not-so-far future.

For AI to be fully embraced by the IT Finance community, it must be trusted by data scientists to make logical and data-driven decisions. When AI consistently fulfills its promise as an accurate and trustworthy tool, BI platforms need to be able to integrate accordingly.

Enterprise-level expectations and demand are changing rapidly — and they need BI platforms to keep pace with user base, changing priorities and constant developments in technology. While having clear and accessible business insights are imperative for any company’s success, the capability to illustrate, collaborate and share valuable reports is even more important.

This is especially true for those overseeing broad reoccurring technology expenses with perpetually changing inventories. Employees at each level of your enterprise need to have quick and seamless access to the kind of data they need, when they need it, to appropriately respond. A clear and comprehensive view on real-time changes in data augment your company’s ability to compete within the market, mitigate unnecessary costs and remain nimble in an ever-evolving industry.

MDSL’s cutting-edge BI platform offers technology professionals modernized, unique data reporting capabilities to drive swift and evidence-based decision making. Learn more.