It’s a data-driven world; how you control and manage your data can have significant implications on the way your business works. You might have an endless stream of data; customer records, old purchases, history of complaints, feedback and so much more. But if it’s just lying there in a disorganized manner, to no avail, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity with the potential to transform your enterprise. This is where you need Business Intelligence! Whether you work in an SME or a large enterprise, you would have heard the word ‘Business Intelligence’ floated around at least once. But what exactly does it mean?
Gartner describes Business Intelligence (BI) as a term that includes “the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.” In simpler terms, it involves gaining a comprehensive view of your business data, analyzing it, and deriving meaningful insights that can be used to drive change, identify bottlenecks, eliminate inefficiencies and adapt to dynamic market changes.
How does it work?
Business Intelligence is relatively simple in theory, however, it varies in terms of how it’s deployed and the tools used to achieve the desired outcomes. Data is first extracted from ‘source systems’ which could involve the organization’s applications, spreadsheets or any databases in a periodic manner, and then stored into a data warehouse/repository. Post data collection, analytical applications are used to read and analyze the data. Visualization tools are used to present the analysis visually in the form of easy-to-read charts and infographics that can quickly give a purview of various KPIs and business metrics.
There are several solutions that can help your organization adopt Business Intelligence, such as Tableau, Oracle BI, SAP Business Intelligence, Datapine, among others. One of the widely used business analytics solutions is Power BI that is used to connect to several data sources, visualize data, generate reports and share insights. Microstrategy is a tool that offers powerful data analytics and dashboarding.
So, how would Business Intelligence benefit your enterprise?
Drive decision making capability
It’s estimated that the average adult makes a whopping 35,000 decisions a day. When it comes to business, these decisions are not as simple as choosing between an apple or an orange for breakfast. Business decisions cannot be driven by hunch or tried-and-true methods alone! It’s vital to have a clear idea of what your business data is telling you before making a decision. BI converts information into structured insights, that can help you make calculated decisions
Understand your customers better
One of the key reasons you need Business Intelligence in your organization is to understand how your customers are interacting with your business and how you can best drive your sales and marketing goals. Without this knowledge, you’ll find yourself burning marketing expenses for no reason and are likely to lose out to your competitors. It is crucial to draw data from different departments – sales, customer service, operations, finance and others to get detailed insight on customer behavior, that will allow you to refine your sales and marketing strategies.
Business Intelligence is not all about data and decisions, but it also has a positive impact on performance. It will allow you to weed out inefficacy bottlenecks, optimize business processes and bring in a greater level of organization in work. As a result, the productivity gains can be quite significant. You can considerably cut down on administration time, help monitor product development cycles closely, track marketing campaigns easily and much more. A simple example is a CRM solution, that can allow you to track and quickly respond to customer queries, which can cut down the calls backs received!
Risks are a part and parcel of running a business. They come in various forms; strategic, financial, reputational, or operational. Fortune-telling is neither real nor possible, but what is possible is predicting the future and mitigating the risks involved! And the best way to do that is to look into the past using BI. By identifying patterns, reading numbers, and tracing back history, you might be better equipped to steer your business into the future and deploy tactics that have a better chance of yielding success. While it’s not fail-safe means of ensuring zero risks, it can definitely help you minimize them.
Implementing Business Intelligence can yield considerable ROI, but it’s not always easy to track. But what you can measure and see tangible results is in terms of the costs involved! One of the biggest reductions comes in terms of reduced resource costs. Automated data collection and report generation ensures that you save up significant man-hours that can be directed towards achieving operational excellence. Cleaner, better data allows you to smartly allocate resources while also driving better business decisions, that can ultimately lead to better business outcomes.
Right from increased data accuracy, better insights into future business directions to enhanced transparency in the performance of various organizational departments – in today’s dynamic business world, BI can help you stay a step ahead of the competition by tapping into the power of unused data.
If you want to explore what Business Intelligence can do for you, reach out to Vuram’s Analytics and Business Intelligence consultants, who’ll transform your enterprise and help you make better, data-backed decisions. Or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you.
Related Reading: An inevitable data analytics journey