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Doing More with Less: BI Lessons from Lebanon

The Ancient inhabitants of Lebanon, the Phoenicians, were known for their trade and commerce and the modern Lebanese continue to be very astute in business.

Despite the country being ravished by wars in the last few decades, the Lebanese have rebuilt and recreated their economy. They take both an optimistic and creative way to doing things and the results are impressive. The rebuilt business district in downtown Beirut is a good example of this. Yet, they have scheduled power and water outages daily, no public transportation system and internet speeds typically in the under 1 MB/sec range for most businesses and consumers.

However, the Lebanese have adapted to all these constraints. Every major building has a generator that kicks in when the power goes out, private water trucking companies refill water tanks when water is out and taxis and private mini-buses fill the public transportation needs.

As for the internet speeds, Lebanese businesses and people have worked within the speed constraints and tend to use on-premise or on-device software and build their applications so as not be too reliant on transmission speeds.

Dashboard Awards Winner

At the IBIS event last June, a Lebanese company, Bankdata, won one of the coveted best dashboard awards with a remarkably visual and powerful business dashboard for the Lebanese banking industry.  The dashboard was designed to look at the major statistics for Small and Medium Enterprises in Lebanon and compare them by a variety of metrics like Line of Business, revenues, employees, demographics and many more. This provides invaluable information to the many banks in Lebanon looking to attract and do business with these companies. Previously this information was buried away in a large annually published book filled with data that the banks subscribed to. Now this information has been literally brought to life through a truly amazing interactive dashboard that is now updated quarterly and soon to be monthly.

Going Offline

With the number of metrics shown, I was convinced this was a connected dashboard but on a recent visit to Lebanon to hand deliver the award, I was stunned to find that it was actually an offline dashboard and that all the data was embedded in the dashboard itself. The person who created this dashboard applied incredible ingenuity to include so many metrics and data in a visually compelling interface with super-fast response times. Of course, given the infrastructure constraints in Lebanon, it makes perfect sense to deliver this dashboard as an offline solution.

This was a great lesson for me too about doing more with less and fitting the BI solution to both satisfy the business need and work effectively with the resources and infrastructure available.

By the way, the Lebanese also apply this doing more with less to their driving. They can turn a car on a dime and park in a space with less than an inch to spare all round. They also follow the rule that the first one who looks, loses which made for an interesting and scary experience for this first time visitor.

About Paul

Paul Grill, Co-Founder and CEO of Infosol Inc., is an information technology guru with more than 40 years’ experience in the IT industry. Recognized as an industry expert, Paul’s vision is to collaborate and develop long-term global relationships, resulting in the successful implementation of business intelligence solutions. Paul believes a company’s success with Business Intelligence is a combination of data and people’s insights and actions. He believes in the coexistence of technologies. With a strong portfolio of clients ranging from fortune 50 companies, start-ups, and middle market, Paul takes pride in his ability to deliver positive transformations impacting company’s productivity and profitability through the application of business intelligence. He is often heard saying that “data holds amazing nuggets that can be used to create limitless BI solutions that make a difference in people’s lives”. Throughout Paul’s career, he has been a speaker, lecturer, and writer sharing his passion for Information Technology and Business Intelligence. On a personal note, Paul is an avid runner, Tai Chi practitioner, and youth soccer coach. Paul’s curiosity for knowledge expands beyond technology with a passion for Ancient Egyptology and Gorillas.

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