Business Intelligence Solutions Is a Necessity for Quick Analysis

The overall purpose of the business intelligence (BI) software is to make discovery and analysis of processes easier for end users or decision-makers at every level of an organization. Business Intelligence solutions allow decision makers to make decisions quickly since data is interpreted in a simpler format. Hours of analysis can be done within minutes now.

Analyzing and understanding spread sheets at times can get complex. Your boss tells you that the meeting has been rescheduled to an earlier date. How do you interpret and come up with relevant conclusions quickly? There is a simple solution, find yourself an appropriate BI suite. This suite usually includes business intelligence applications that enable users to easily analyze information, plan ahead, report and manage dashboards.

Every organization large or small has large quantities of data which needs to be simplified. A good business intelligence open source software helps users to analyze the data by making sense of it all. Make sure you install a central BI server that supports GPU processing technology. This server instantly integrates data from every source for instance financial accounting products like SAP, SAP BW, SQL Server Oracle and more. End users can write comfortably from their web browser, mobile device or excel sheet and prepare documents as done by them earlier.

There are several categories of BI tools such as spreadsheets (excel sheets), OLAP, Digital Dashboards, Data mining, Data warehousing and local information systems among other. OLAP or Online Analytical Processing refers to swiftly solving multi-dimensional analytical queries. This module is a high performance data server application that enables workers in a firm to access, change and collaborate on BI data immediately.

As for digital dashboards they help to track down the inherent flow of processes. It begins with complex high-level processes into simpler low-level data. These days three kinds of digital dashboards are popular – web browser based applications, stand-alone software applications and desktop applications.

Staying ahead of your competitors is the first step. With BI software know the latest trends, how to generate more revenue and other crucial steps being carried out by your competition. Without this knowledge you are not in a position to make the relevant changes. Data mining helps decision-makers gather information in a timelier manner. The software will check with newspapers and trade journals for the latest happenings in a particular field that keeps you updated and informed. BI system allows decision makers to face the most difficult financial times with greater confidence.

Back to Basics: Understand the Full Cycle of Business Development to Get More Contracts

My 7-year-old daughter, when working on a puzzle, knows to glance at the whole picture first, before starting to assemble the pieces. So, her process is to study the picture, and then find a corner piece to which she then starts adding pieces.

We, as adults, sometimes forget to take a step back and look at the whole picture first when we solve our own puzzles: how to grow our company, how to get a contract, or how to bring in revenue. This is why an important tip for winning government contracts is to step back and take a few minutes to ponder the full life-cycle of business development. This way we can be better at putting the pieces together.

The several steps below shows a typical business development life-cycle for a government contracting company.

Step 1: Strategic business development planning is the corner piece of the puzzle. It is necessary because it becomes your beacon when you start looking at a universe of opportunities. Businesses often fall into a trap of working without a plan, or writing the plan once, and then leaving it to collect virtual (and physical) dust while they are engaged in the routine day-to-day operations. The trick here is to stick to the plan that you keep up to date, and avoid jumping at every opportunity that may have nothing to do with the plan but seems attractive at the moment.

Step 2: Market research is the next step. It goes hand-in-hand with your strategic business development plan and makes the whole planning process somewhat iterative. In order for you to plan, you need to know which vertical markets you are going to go into, and who are your ideal customers. This leads you to more detailed research, which then feeds your planning process.

Step 3: Pipeline development is the natural outcome of your market research. Now that you know which agencies and which areas you are going to explore, you will need to zoom in further and develop a list of opportunities that you are then going to narrow down further and further as you learn more about them. These opportunities will be in the near term with a request for proposal coming out in 1-6 months, the mid-term – with an opportunity expected to open up in the next 6 months to 1 year, and long term – 1-5 years out. Some of the large and important opportunities may then make it into your strategic plan – and you may start calling them strategic bids or must-win opportunities. Marketing to the federal government is related to the overall effort of attracting customers to your company, and creating awareness of your brand and offers.

Step 4: Opportunity identification narrows down the list to the select few pursuits that you decide to dedicate a significant effort to pursue. Each of these individual opportunities then enters the capture phase.

Step 5: Capture management. Capture (yes, it’s what it’s called in the professional business development circles) often is the longest step in the business development life-cycle. It has to do with positioning yourself pre-proposal for a specific opportunity. A proposal usually has a short deadline, whereas capture may take years. It doesn’t necessarily mean years of someone doing it full time. It means years of deliberate activities all leading you up to the victory. For example, I once ran a capture effort for 2.5 years for a billion dollar plus pursuit, but only spent $50,000 on my time and the time of an entire team of specialists during the first two years. It was not until the last 6 months of the capture effort that we had to focus a lot and start spending more money.

Step 6: Proposal management. Proposal management (or proposal preparation) is essentially just that: managing the development of a winning proposal document to deliver it by the deadline. It is an iterative process that usually involves multiple contributors and a set of reviews to check quality and progress. Here are some of the most important characteristics of a winning proposal, majority of which stem from a well-run capture effort:

– Matching the solution with the customer’s wishes and vision through a solid capture effort.
– Great process that gets you to the deadline without undue stress and allows you sufficient time to polish your document.
– Targeted features and benefits, with a clear value proposition.

Step 7: BD during implementation. The reason contract delivery is part of the business development life cycle is simple: once you have a government contract, the ground is ripe for adding scope (what is called “an up-sell” in sales).

Your people who work on the project with the customer are your eyes and ears if you train them correctly in the capture process. They can find out about the need for additional work, and inform your business developer. Your business developer will pay a visit to the government representative, learning more about the requirements. They can then use this information to submit a white paper or an unsolicited proposal. This may result in adding scope to your existing contract.

Your staff on the ground can also tell your business developers about other requirements they may be hearing about that may not yield themselves to adding scope. These are new additions to your pipeline – but these additions are infinitely more valuable than others because you get to hear about them early, they are from an existing customer that bought from you before and therefore trusts you more, and you already have a relationship.

During implementation, you also generate past performance track record that you can leverage in your next proposal. On the other hand, if you don’t do well, then you get to tarnish your record with the government very quickly – and this record proliferates from this customer to other government agencies through various past performance databases. It is important that once you have won a contract, you do a great job. Do whatever it takes to deliver and please your customer.

So, now you have the big picture, and know how all the pieces of the business development puzzle are supposed to fit together.

Business VoIP Solutions – Enhancing A Business’ Communication Lines

Communication forms an integral part of any business or a company. During the older days, most offices transactions and business processes relied on the use of folders, couriers, mail and other media for communication. Companies and business during those days have to go through the burden of having to use slow, inefficient, and costly modes of communication. There was no seamless integration between present communication platforms and tools, each of which had a unique function and capability. This has resulted into the inefficiency of the course of offices transactions and other business processes and into a ballooned cost of operations.

Companies and businesses today can now make use of a new and emerging communication technology called business VoIP solutions, which stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP makes it possible for transmitting voice communication services including voice, facsimile, and voice-messaging applications through the use of the Internet rather than the public telephone network. This technology converts analog voice signals to digital format and compresses and translates the signal into Internet protocol (IP) packets for transmissions over the Internet. This process is reversed at the receiving end.

This new technology can provide businesses with an efficient, flexible and cost-effective communication platform which can gradually reduce their operational costs. VoIP technology has helped many businesses in terms of communication efficiency and reducing operational costs. The introduction of this new technology has benefited a lot of businesses by reducing communication response time, which is vital in decision-making and acting upon instructions. The efficiency in communication and its being economical particularly with regards to monthly phone costs has forced a lot of companies to switch to VoIP solutions and abandon their traditional copper-wire telephone systems.

The cost for calls with VoIP solutions is cheaper as compared to regular phone calls. VoIP calls are charged depending on the amount of information or data that was sent over the Internet and not according to the duration when the call was connected to the telephone network. VoIP also provides free 3-way (or more) conferencing, caller id, automatic redialing,, and IVR, call forwarding features which are often being charged extra for by telecommunication companies.

VoIP can also perform tasks and services that a public switched telephone network cannot do. This communication technology is very handy and can be used in any location with a fast and stable Internet connection. It also capable of handling and transmitting numerous telephone calls over a single broadband connection even without the extra lines. The hassles of securing telephone connection using standardized protocols as well as the digitizing and digital transmission of calls which are the usual problems with using traditional phone lines, are being effectively addressed by VoIP. VoIP also enables for the integration of services that are only found through the internet, things like video chatting, messaging, or even sending files through the messenger program.

Business Development Requires a Multitude of Skills

Business development is one of the functions that every company, from inception to exit, performs at one time or another. It’s also one of the most “unbounded” roles within a company. For some companies, business development means acquiring new customers. Others, it means raising capital. And, for yet another set of people, it means to build alliances and partnerships.

Whatever the term ultimately means to anyone, it is a function that clearly requires a multitude of skills. Let’s take for example, raising money. A business development person in a small startup company would be responsible for building relationships to raise venture capital and/or general financing for startup operations. Oftentimes, the reason this function falls under business development is because the business developer is building strategic partner relationships. Some of these strategic partners deem the relationship critical to grow new business opportunities. In that respect, the strategic partner will then invest money in return for an equity stake in the startup company.

In the case of building and managing partnerships, the business development team is often called Alliances. In this example, business development or Alliance is responsible for recruiting, managing, and supporting partner companies. In addition to this, the Alliances organization would also have a responsibility for driving a certain amount of revenue through the partners, as well. This alliance function essentially builds a core ecosystem around the host company. The ecosystem effectively allows the host company to be in more markets, capture certain geographic territories, or even drive more revenue than it could on its own.

Building joint ventures is also a form of business development activity. There are times when a company needs to work together on a specific business opportunity. The opportunity could be related to driving new business in a specific country or perhaps in a particular industry. The two companies would develop an operating agreement under which they will work together. Shared revenue and expenses, team alignment and sales targets are examples of agreements created as part of this joint venture relationship.

Driving sales is another function where business development is often categorized. This is especially true when a company is first starting off in business. Many small companies categorize their sales efforts as business development rather than sales. One of the reasons for this is because the territory is new or perhaps the product line is untested with customers. The business development group is responsible then for selling new business in an uncharted environment.

Corporate development is another function often interrelated with business development. In general, though, a corporate development function handles aspects of mergers and acquisitions for a company. Their role is to identify companies that have synergistic business models and would complement the host company. In many aspects, a corporate development officer for a company has similar skill sets and experience as all of the above organizational roles.

As one can ascertain, business development is a “catch-all” term that can encompass many different roles within an organization. That said, the skill set and experience for a business development executive is fairly broad. He/she must be versed in areas, such as building partnerships, strategy, technology, geographic markets, sales, and, of course, finance. In addition, understanding the specific industry in which the company operates is icing on the proverbial cake.

The business development executive is a key contributor to the success of a company. This individual, if used properly, can help create the very foundation on which a company operates.