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When two become one: BOARD unifies Business Intelligence and Performance Management
The Future of Business Intelligence and Corporate Performance Management

by Barb Kotlyar, Board.comThursday, May 17, 2007

(This article kindly provided by Board.com)

“Why are BI and CPM the top priorities worldwide for CIOs?” asks Giovanni Grossi, CEO of BOARD International SA. “Because they are technologies that bring genuine added value to the company, as well as guaranteeing an immediate return — if implemented correctly — in terms of profitability and growth. Information has always been a fundamental asset for businesses, and those that leverage it to its full capabilities should be rewarded with better results.”

A single integrated solution for Business Intelligence and Performance Management

The role of Business Intelligence is about to undergo enormous change, precisely as a result of this readiness to take advantage of the full potential of information. There is a movement away from the traditional model based on reporting, historical analysis and dashboards for a limited number of decision-makers, towards wider-ranging initiatives focused on corporate performance management. The more organizationally advanced companies are looking for full integration of traditional BI tools with those generally associated with Corporate Performance Management, namely Budgeting, Forecasting, Planning, Profitability Analysis, Scorecarding and Consolidation. The goal is to attain a seamless alignment of planned objectives with the activities deployed to achieve them, and a shared vision of the company.
“In this context, BOARD is uniquely positioned: since 1994, the concept has been one of Management Intelligence”, says Grossi “and our product has been created to provide a broad response to the information needs of companies, with monitoring, measurement and optimization of the decision-making process — from strategic planning through implementation — brought into a single environment.

In recent years, our Toolkit approach has given clients an integrated platform on which information imported from different sources can be standardized, analyzed and utilized both for building a Corporate Performance Management environment, and for operating traditional Business Intelligence solutions.

The Toolkit involves no programming at any stage, and is very simple both for end users and during implementation, giving high added value while minimizing organizational disruption. Grossi also adds, “At a time when everyone is beginning to understand the great benefits derived from the unification of BI and CPM and their pervasive influence within organizations, the fact that we have always pursued this strategy gives us a considerable head start. Unlike our main competitors, BOARD is not faced with the problem of having to integrate different products and technologies, as we already have a single integrated platform based on just one technology, which we have been improving over time on the basis of experience gained from over 1800 worldwide implementations.”

Avoiding the “make or buy” dilemma: Toolkit Applications

To improve its offering, BOARD is expanding the traditional Toolkit approach with packaged solutions capable of providing a comprehensive and swift response to a particular functional problem, or to the application needs of specific vertically structured sectors.

These new solutions combine all the functionalities typical of traditional applications with the inherent flexibility of the Toolkit. They are developed entirely with BOARD’s programming-free technology — not so much as a single line of code needs to be written. In short, these applications provide unparalleled effectiveness for those situations where the approach of CPM suites cannot guarantee sufficient adaptability to processes, and traditional BI offerings fail to give the necessary efficiency and functional coverage.

“With Toolkit Applications," remarks Grossi, “our clients will have at their disposal a functional model built on a solid base of know-how provided by subject matter experts and highly specialized consultants, yet be adaptable to business processes without any programming required: a revolutionary blend of best practices and application flexibility.”

BOARD Financial Consolidation: all the functionalities of an application, all the flexibility of the Toolkit

The first Toolkit Application built by BOARD streamlines the process of preparing consolidated financial statements. This is an area of growing importance not due to more stringent regulations now governing the publication of accounts, and also because consolidated statements provide the "ultimate measure" of CPM — the one used by management to communicate with shareholders, auditors and the market. BOARD Financial Consolidation addresses all of the problems relating to the legal and management consolidation process; reconciling data received from other systems and accounting sources, performing conversions between different currencies, allowing the creation of notes to the accounts and of directors’ reports, and responding in full to traceability and validation criteria specified by the main international regulations.

“What makes our solution unique,” states Grossi, “is the possibility of incorporating a complete set of application functionalities into a single integrated environment, with the very latest Business Intelligence and Performance Management capabilities provided by BOARD technology. This ensures an unmatched ability to adapt the application to the consolidation process as well as to the business needs of clients and their constantly changing processes.
The release of BOARD Financial Consolidation is a key step in protecting the investments made by our clients in the BOARD product, in terms both of capabilities and of application development.

In addition, because it can also function as a single application, BOARD FC gives us the ideal calling card to present to companies interested purely in the process of consolidating their financial statements: an opportunity to familiarize them with the flexibility and ease of use guaranteed by our technology.”

BOARD in the Hall of Fame for Performance Management solutions

BOARD was the only new entry in the Gartner Magic Quadrant 2006 for CPM suites, securing a position in the elite circle of internationally prominent Software Vendors.

“But if recognition by the world’s most prestigious IT analyst is a significant achievement,” says Grossi, “it is not the most important as far as we are concerned. Most important to us is the esteem of our clients, and in the OLAP Survey 6, the biggest and most reputable survey conducted globally among users of Business Intelligence, we have made an exceptionally good showing. On certain key criteria — in particular business benefits, quality of customer service, and the lowest number of problems encountered with the product — BOARD is placed ahead of its main competitors in the sector (Business Object, Cognos, Hyperion, SAP…) The achievement of these highly prestigious objectives has provided BOARD with extraordinary momentum as we pursue a more assertive policy of internationalization. Having opened direct branches in France and Singapore during 2006 and providing BOARD with a firm foothold in the south-east Asian market, 2007 will see us pressing forward with expansion into China, India, South America and the Middle East.

The glowing results we achieve are the best proof we have of our success: buoyed by the satisfaction of clients across Europe, BOARD has established itself as a vendor of world renown in the market for BI and CPM solutions.”

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