Guest post by: Danielle Canstello
A wealth of information is generated every single day in today’s digital-first landscape. It goes without saying that all of this data is critical to the growth of any business. The question now is: how can entrepreneurs and managers make better sense of their organization’s data without being overwhelmed by it?
It gives organizations a competitive edge in this ever-changing landscape of business by providing them with a better understanding of the factors that influence market trends. Business Intelligence (BI) solutions include:
- Data warehouses
- Ad hoc reporting
- Data discovery tools
- Cloud data services
A BI solution can aid your organization in several ways. However, companies have been slow to embrace such an approach. That’s mainly because there’s still a lot of confusion about business intelligence and how it should be applied to your organization.
In this guide, we hope to illuminate some areas that you might find confusing.
Why Is Business Intelligence Critical to Success?
No matter what industry you’re in, a well-implemented BI solution will empower you to derive actionable insights and critical business opportunities from big data.
Here are some of the benefits of implementing a BI system:
Gives you quick access to critical information
Entrepreneurs constantly have to make critical business decisions to stay ahead. For you to make well-informed and timely decisions, your data needs to be accessible and easy to discern. That’s what BI solutions do for your company, allowing you to gain a competitive edge.
Minimizes need for manual data entries and manipulation
In reducing the need for manual data entries, companies can minimize human error. Reporting and visualizations can be processed sooner, which means you can make smarter decisions faster as well.
Aligns your key performance indicators with your strategies
Investing your time and resources into activities that are aligned with your business strategies will help you take your business to the next level. To avoid wasting resources, you must establish the metrics with the necessary KPIs that are aligned with your business strategies. By implementing BI solutions, you can improve the performance in areas that matter most.
Measuring and tracking sales performance
Monitoring sales performance is easier with a BI solution, especially when you have several sales partners. It gives your team full visibility of their performance. In turn, it lets you know which partner needs a bit more effort.
Illuminates areas where you can cut costs or allocate your budget
BI solutions can also help you identify areas where you can cut costs. Once you determine these critical areas, you can take immediate action and save resources.
Business intelligence solutions can have a positive influence on all aspects of the organization—your people, performance, and projects. In a study, researchers found that companies that have used big data have seen an 8% to 10% increase in profits, as well as a 10% reduction in overall costs.
How Is Business Intelligence Used?
There are several ways to use business intelligence in your organization. Here are a few:
Analyzing customer behavior
Customers are at the heart of your business. To thrive in this ever-changing world, you need to keep up with their needs and interests. The best way to do that is by analyzing customer habits, the bread crumbs they leave whenever they interact with your brand online.
Using business intelligence software, you can determine which products customers are into and which ones they aren’t. Analyzing purchase patterns, for instance, helps you make an informed decision about expanding a product line or scaling it back. Not only that, BI solutions enable you to determine cross-selling and up-selling opportunities in different customer touchpoints.
Enhancing inventory management efficiency
Having too much or too little stock can hurt your bottom line. With a solid BI solution, you can identify how much you have left, how much isn’t selling, as well as the potential risks of understocking. In other words, it improves the visibility of your supply chain and allows you to maintain ideal inventory levels all year long. Not to mention, it keeps you informed of seasonal changes, as well as changes in customer demands.
In this customer-centric landscape of business, effective stock management is key to improving business performance. Research shows that 89% of consumers have turned to the competition following terrible customer experiences. By improving inventory management, you can drive more sales and improve the customer experience.
Improving employee engagement
According to Gallup, around 34% of US workers are engaged, which is the highest record in the publication’s history. Inversely, the rate of actively disengaged employees is at an all-time low at 13%.
To keep up with the needs of a modern workforce, you need as much information as you can get on how employees are performing on the job. By implementing business intelligence, you can figure out how to approach disengaged employees and take immediate action. BI solutions also empower employees to work smarter and faster.
Improving financial management
Embracing the right BI solution will let you simplify your financial data. It allows you to combine these financial statements with real-time analytics. In doing so, you can manage expenditures well and improve revenue.
Using BI solutions, you can analyze cash flows and balance sheets using visual content such as graphs, charts, and dashboards. These systems will make it easier for you to manage your finances and rebates.
Increasing productivity of the IT department
It’s not unusual for IT departments to be swamped with work, especially now that companies have more data to gather and analyze. Without a sound BI solution, many IT departments have the responsibility of performing complex reports. Since they are often required to run several of these, errors are inevitable.
If you have a BI solution, you can assess your own reports and present them in a way that everyone can understand, even if you aren’t tech-savvy. This also presents you with several opportunities to acquire new skills and try out new strategies.
What Are the Signs Your Company Needs Business Intelligence?
Every company benefits from using a business intelligence solution. However, if you aren’t quite sure you should adopt one, you might want to pay attention to the signs.
Here are a few clear indicators that your company needs a BI solution:
Lack of visibility into your business operations
Seeing rapid business growth or a pending acquisition
An increase in the volume of users accessing information
The need to access relevant business data more efficiently
Having new products
Implementing upgrades within your IT environment
It’s the perfect time to invest in business intelligence solutions. Since consumers are producing massive volumes of data now more than ever, you ought to put that to good use. Implementing a sound BI system will help you improve your business performance and profitability.
Business intelligence solutions can be implemented in companies of all sizes from any industry. They give entrepreneurs the capabilities required for gathering and organizing critical data. It then allows them to process the information and present it in a way that makes it easier for everyone to come up with an actionable plan that will move the business forward.