Business Intelligence in Lisbon: IT Operations Dashboards

lisbon belem tower

imageSAP Portugal put on a great business intelligence event last week at the Oriental Museum in Lisbon (just up the road from the Belém Tower shown in my photo above). The sold-out event featured a series of great presentations from customers and partners – and a long (long!) networking lunch.

I was nursing a cold from the previous presentation in Zurich, but managed to get through the keynote presentation and journalist interviews before my voice degenerated into a strangled squeak.

Sadly, my Portuguese language skills are more or less non-existent (“bom dia! obrigado!”), so I wasn’t able to follow most of the presentations, but one of them, with slides in English, really grabbed my attention.

I’ve long been an advocate of IT organizations using business intelligence to optimize their own operations – because it’s a good idea (who could argue that IT isn’t an essential business function, or that it doesn’t need improving?), but also in order to provide a showcase to other organizations on how to use information effectively.

Ricardo Guerra of Volkswagen AutoEuropa gave a wonderful example of this. He explained how his organization uses a series of Xcelsius dashboards (soon to be renamed “SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards”) to track every aspect of their IT operations, gathered across many different systems.

The beautifully-crafted dashboards (created by SAP partner Novabase) are displayed on monitors at key locations throughout the organization. The goals of the project were to give an overview of the health of the IT systems, highlight and anticipate problems, facilitate communication and service quality, and manage IT contracts.


Each team (IT coordination, helpdesk, infrastructure, network, etc.) has a customized dashboard adapted to their key metrics, and an overall dashboard gives a side-by-side comparison of the performance of different teams.

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The benefits quoted by Ricardo are very impressive:

  • Help desk: 22% reduction in abandoned calls and 95% reduction in the average wait time (for the same number of average staff)
  • Incidents: 38% reduction in the incident queue, 25% increase in resolution time, more often fixed on first attempt
  • Systems: 4.1% increase in systems availability (from 95.8% to 99.9%), identification of pre-failure conditions
  • Viruses: 35% fewer virus incidents
  • Average 25% increase in performance across all the different teams (in part through increased visibility and competition)

So impressive, in fact, that the solution has been chosen as a new Volkswagen standard, and is apparently being rolled out throughout the group.

Finally, I gave my keynote on some of the key trends in the future of business intelligence




3 responses to “Business Intelligence in Lisbon: IT Operations Dashboards”

  1. Pedro Avatar

    HI Elliot,
    Another perspective about this BI portuguese event.
    The feedback was amazing! Keep up your very good work!

  2. João Sá Rodrigues Avatar

    Excellent presentation.

    One of the best regarding SAP Business Objects and real time decision making.

    I thank to you in the name of Risa (one of SAP Var Partners in Portugal).


  3. Even Avatar

    Very interesting (and impressive) results. I think BI for IT has great potential, as many of the metrics in Ops lend themselves quite easily to dashboard style reporting. A factor I haven’t given much thought so far is that this is also an excellent way of showcasing what BI can do for other departments, so thanks for the eye opener 🙂