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Board International is a Business Intelligence (BI) and Corporate Performance Management (CPM) software vendor; unlike the majority of tools in the market this is an integrated tool kit, and not two disparate elements. It was founded in 1994, and headquartered in Chiasso, Switzerland. It operates in 15 countries and has over 3,000 customers, including KPMG, the accountants, Volkswagen, the US Department of the Navy, Toyota, Puma and Mitsubishi Electric.
What is it?
The toolkit is a single graphical software environment. It is fully functional in both BI and CPM capability, so it can undertake multi-dimensional analysis, ad-hoc query, dashboard and reporting with equal facility as it handles budgets, planning and forecasting. The tool offers speed, ease of use, self-service capability, and low total cost of ownership. Board encourages the data across the enterprise to be kept aligned, which means that the results from its analytics are more readily matched across the business, more readily interpreted within context, and therefore more readily actioned to achieve positive outcomes.
BEAM is its advanced analytics capability, designed like the whole of the tool kit to be readily used by business users with normal skills training, using a point and click style interface yet sacrificing nothing in the way of capability over less productive delivery mechanisms.
What does it do?
Board BEAM was conceived and developed in conjunction with IDSIA, a Swiss research institute, and a world leader in the field of artificial intelligence. It meets two of the attributes seen to be significant when business discusses analytical capability. Firstly, the ability to embed the capability in the business as usual work flow. If users have to break what they are doing and enter another element of the application, they will resist, and the capability will not be used to its full capability. Secondly the capability should be deliverable and interpretable by business users without the need for pervasive IT support.
BEAM provides a simple means to embed advanced capability, but without the need for the specialist high end high costs skills that are traditionally associated with Data Science. However, BEAM should not be viewed as a lesser offering because of this, it as an alternative and equally valid means of offering predictive and analytical capability.
Why should you care?
BEAM addresses the most required and used techniques, which are predictive analytics, taking the pattern seen and proven in the past and current data and projecting it forward, clustering, taking a mass of data and assigning it to groups that have more in common with each other than they do with the other data, enabling those groups to be treated with behaviours that match their interests. Finally BEAM provides analytical functions, which enable more precise definitions to be given to the trends and patterns seen in the data set to explain more robustly and accurately what is being seen. These three techniques form the basis of the vast majority of analytical techniques and are the most well proven and the most readily understood, this is important because whilst other techniques may the capable of discerning more subtle patterns in complex data, if they require specialists to both create and then to interpret the results the business is not going to accept and use the findings with the same facility.
The Bottom Line
BEAM offers business users with only a reasonable amount of training access to advanced analytics capability to undertake predictive analytics, clustering and analytical functions, the three most important and readily useful and informative techniques of data science. When talking about the democratization of data science and the empowering of citizen data scientists this is one of the few examples of how that can be achieved.