BI and EPM Keep Projects on Track and Profitable

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business intelligence and analytics

General Dynamics' Business Intelligence Collaborative acts as a hub to help the entire company uncover and implement best practices in BI and data warehousing.

Improved Executive Visibility

While desktop-based solutions have been the staple for most of the analytics in our organization, we’ve experienced recent pushes for mobility at every level, especially from the executive team. With the dynamic nature of our business and projects, our workforce is often on the go, travelling to remote regions and project sites. In fact, our executives are just as likely to be on a plane or in the boardroom as they are to be at their desks.

As mobile BI solutions have become more readily available, the tablet has become a perfect candidate to enhance analysis capabilities and reduce the need for paper reports. The real value to the corporate office is the ability of senior leaders to interact with the data anytime, anywhere.

Our executives can now pull up important documents such as forecasts, charts and delivery schedules right on their tablets wherever they are. It’s all self-service and near-real-time—so they can make and model changes to dashboards during a planning meeting, for instance. This level of collaboration and insight hadn’t been possible when they were receiving paper printouts of outdated data.

Additionally, recent improvements in the release of Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite provided the necessary framework for mobility at our company. With security a top priority, the use of HTML 5 to support browser-based rendering through Apple device browsers enabled integration with SSL/VPN vendors to bring secure mobility over the Web. The release of an unsigned Oracle BI Mobile Application, with a software development kit for mobile containerization and mobile device management vendors, provided the framework to run the Oracle Mobile BI application inside the organization.

While Oracle BI provides the platform and visual appeal to our end users, having an appropriate data strategy ensures the success of our mobility initiatives. Executive dashboards require extremely strong performance, and designing a caching and rapid query approach is essential when delivering to the executive community. Our strong data warehouse delivers solid application performance, so executives can harness the power of mobile BI.

Increased Efficiencies

General Dynamics runs a tight ship so that we can deliver the best value for our clients. Every efficiency we uncover helps us conduct business faster and more accurately, enabling us to drive costs out of our organization.

Our new BI and EPM infrastructure transformation has had a significant impact on the speed and agility of our operations. For example, we reduced reporting cycle time by at least 30 percent, with up to 60 percent in some cases.

The automated data-gathering methods, powered by Oracle Essbase and Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite, allow analysts to spend less time gathering data and more time on analysis. And with a single, validated source of information, the data itself is cleaner and more consistent. The high-quality data builds trust in the system and also saves analysts’ time when they don’t have to triple-check results.

With this technology backbone, we’ve created repeatable processes and deeper integrations between our solutions. For instance, leveraging Essbase for reporting has become an advantage when working with business units that want to report using their planning and budgeting models. The new release of Oracle BI provides the desired flexibility to build dashboards against Essbase. This reduces the time to market and the development cost of our reporting efforts without any negative impact on performance.

Analytics can deliver a competitive advantage when it's scoped, launched and used correctly. With the recent developments in mobility and the ongoing integration with the Oracle BI and EPM suite, our commitment to an enterprise analytics strategy and our ability to deliver world-class analytics should continue to evolve well into the future.

John Monczewski, Edward J. Cody and Ajay Yelne are the management team for the Business Intelligence Collaborative, an award-winning enterprise BI/EPM Center of Excellence at General Dynamics.

This article was originally published on 2013-07-02
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