Business intelligence no longer an oxymoron

Business intelligence may seem to many of your customers to be an oxymoron but it not only provides a snap shot across the organization, but also gives users the whole picture to make strategic business decisions, says Jeremy Roche, The CODA Group’s vice-president of product strategy.

Business intelligence (BI) is really a new buzzword for what is referred to as MIS (management information systems) or DSS (decision support systems). These older systems often failed to achieve the level of enterprise BI desired because organizations were forced to embark on long, expensive projects that often failed to deliver to their full potential, Roche points out.

The CODA Group, a financial accounting and procurement software developer, hopes its latest release will help organizations banish business and intelligence as an oxymoron forever.

The company has launched a new business intelligence software program called CODA-Intelligence to provide CFOs and other key information consumers with rapid access to up-to-the-minute financial information from anywhere, using any device – from personal digital assistants (PDAs) and mobile phones, to laptops or standard PCs.

Whether comparing investing and leasing costs, tracking key performance indicators or analyzing stock price performance against that of competitors, CODA-Intelligence will provide the information and powerful analysis capability required to make informed strategic business decisions, says Roche.

CODA-Intelligence helps organizations take data from across their applications for manufacturing, supply chain, CRM, HR, sales, accounts and turn the data into accessible and meaningful information. Typical types of financial intelligence required in decision-making are:

    For the CFO – debtor days over a selected time period, trend analysis, Profit and loss summaries, gross margins by product and geography,For the CEO – long term share performance versus competitors, quarterly turnover per share, customer satisfaction and customer lifetime value,For the CIO – comparative hardware purchasing costs versus leasing strategies. The breadth of the solution means that the needs of information consumers from all levels of the organization can be met.

The new BI software is flexible and presents the requested information to the user in the format required, and personalizes the way the information is received – so the user gets the reports, information and analysis they want without having to wade through mountains of data, Roche says.

CODA-Intelligence is what the company calls a “fast track” packaged solution that speeds up implementation and makes the process of collecting the necessary data more cost-effective, eliminating the need to reinvest heavily in data warehousing and maintenance. The company says its packaged approach guarantees a quick, successful implementation that delivers a return on investment in record time. Critically, it removes the need to recruit and retain skill sets, which are increasingly sought after and typically in short supply, adds Roche.

CODA-Intelligence allows for information to be distributed, using industry standard reporting, and analysis and information delivery products such as portals. The new software integrates with the company’s prior release CODA-Financials.

Meanwhile, CODA has launched a new business intelligence (BI) practice to provide global consultancy and implementation services around its new product.

The company says the new initiative is to help customers formulate a comprehensive BI strategy and ensure that they achieve the highest possible return on their investment. CODA will be able to provide increasing support for the growing BI market – expected by market researcher International S+Data Corp., to reach $5.2 billion by 2002 for Business Intelligence tools alone. The company will be launching the BI Practice through its consultancy divisions in the United States, United Kingdom, Holland, Belgium, Singapore and Malaysia.

CODA is currently recruiting and training consultants to provide organizations with a global network of trained and accredited BI consultants. These consultants will combine business and financial experience with technical knowledge, and offer business advice and support of a company’s BI strategy development.

The company sees the development of the practice as a significant milestone moving from a global provider of transactional accounting solutions to an organization supplying strategic financial intelligence solutions to across the customers’ enterprise.

Graham Steinsberg, CODA’s CEO said with the new practice the company is investing in the infrastructure to support its customers in light of current economic conditions that place an increased focus on technologies such as BI to help organizations control their businesses and help them compete in a difficult and fast-changing market.

CODA, in Bedford, N.H., can be reached at

For a detailed story on Business Intelligence see the upcoming issue of IT World Canada: Financial Services.