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May 2012, Volume 13

Forging a BI strategy in a user-centric, tablet-crazed, big data world

Call it survival of the fittest, but business intelligence (BI) strategies at many companies seem to be mutating at warp speed these days. Take the example of Sonic Automotive Inc., which, with 120 dealerships, is one of the nation's largest automotive retailers. We view the utilization of data and data analytics as our secret sauce. If you're not using analytics to drive business process and decisions, you will be left behind. When Heath R. Byrd became CIO at the company five years ago, its BI strategy was run on spreadsheets. Executives at its Charlotte, N.C., headquarters lugged big binders full of them to their monthly dealership reviews. Moreover, most of the company's mission-critical business applications were outsourced and the data was housed in databases around the country. That made it hard to have an enterprise data-driven BI solution. Today, Sonic's data is consolidated in a data warehouse, which is monitored continuously for data quality. BI reports are issued daily. Now Byrd's team is extending the reach of BI, ...

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