Currently, our company is working on several research projects. Independent research is one of the cornerstones of our company. It is the foundation for product innovation, our masterclasses, and our Business Intelligence consulting practice.
Two special research projects
1. New edition of our BI Tools Survey
Since 2004, we’ve been examining all the major reporting tools and dashboard tools available on the market. A list of 103 evaluation criteria was used to score the different reporting tools. All the findings of this research are included in our BI Tools Survey, an in-depth guide for selecting the right reporting tool for your situation. This spring, we decided to investigate three new areas:
- Mobile Business Intelligence
- Business Intelligence in the Cloud
- Big Data
The survey now contains 12 categories, 169 evaluation criteria, and 19 BI & reporting tools. Our aim is to publish the new edition of the Business Intelligence Tools Survey next summer. In this updated edition of the survey, users can also weigh the selection criteria and categories themselves.
2. PDCA research
A fresh research project was set up about eight months ago about the magical Deming circle, PDCA, and other improvement methods like Lean Six Sigma, and so forth. From research performed a few years earlier it became clear that there is a tight link between Business Intelligence and the PDCA circle: the performance of the organization and the success of Business Intelligence depends highly on:
- people using information for analysis and action (do)
- discussing both positive and negative figures (check)
- evaluating and adjusting norms and targets on a regularly basis (act, plan)
More than 100 organizations participated in the PDCA survey. Thorough analysis of the answers showed some really significant correlations between specific characteristics of organizations and their financial performance. What characterizes the top-performing companies, and what sets them apart from the bad performers? The first, and by far most important, correlation: feedback is part of their company culture. Second, they see improvement as an ongoing process. If you are interested in all the research findings, you might want to order the research paper ‘PDCA and performance: the Power of Quality’ (Dutch).
Highlight: Feedback is the breakfast of champions
Earlier in this post I mentioned two recent research projects my company has been working on. One of these projects is been well received in the Netherlands, especially the two biggest findings of the research report. The first finding suggests there is a substantial relationship between the company culture where regular feedback between employees and management is a good (daily) practice and a higher financial performance (R2=0,27). That reminds me of what Kenneth Blanchard said a couple of years ago: “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” We need management who gives feedback to employees on a regular basis, both positive and negative, and also the other way around, to keep the management sharp.
The second finding tells us that improvement of business processes needs to be continuous if it is to have a substantial and sustainable impact on the financial performance. If an organization is only willing to improve when it is almost inevitable, the organization will possibly be too late, and soon be overtaken by the competition. In order to be able to perform continuous improvement, your organization needs to think about good key performance indicators (KPI’s), Business Intelligence tools, and a collaborative platform to discuss the scores on the KPI’s.