Data is an unlimited and extremely valuable commodity. The big tech giants spend egregious amounts of money and expend a huge amount of resources to access as much market and consumer data as possible. The reason these companies hanker after this data is that they know that in the right hands, it can be worth more than gold.
A business produces data at every point in its operational chain. While business data is valuable to a third-party, it can be invaluable to the business itself. Business intelligence is the link between a company and the insights that can be gleaned from the raw data it produces.
This information is not solely valuable within large enterprises. A good business intelligence strategy can be helpful to small and large businesses alike. In a data-driven world, it is paramount that a company seeking a competitive advantage makes the most of the wealth of information that is at its fingertips.
Where does this data come from and how is it stored?
The data utilized in Business Intelligence Analysis can come from any business sector ranging from sales and marketing to finance and human resources. It is simply information that is produced and gathered from these business sources.
Examples of business data include employee compensation and productivity analysis, quarterly budgets, sales conversion rates, analysis of total revenue, marketing lead costs, and returns on investments, to name but a few.
If this business intelligence is filtered into the smart operational data store, it can be analyzed and interpreted to provide the company with insights on the business itself and the market it is operating within. An ODS stores a short time window worth of transactional data, which allows for comprehensive reporting in real-time and greater database security.
What can business intelligence tell you?
Broadly speaking, BI can inform on how efficiently and effectively the business is operating. Further BI analysis provides insight into where the company is under or over-performing. Lastly, business intelligence and its correct use will help distinguish what changes in business technology and practices can be made to increase revenue and productivity.
BI provides succinct quantitative information
Any person who has dabbled in data science will know that it is all too easy to get lost in the data. When you are looking at large volumes of seemingly disparate information, it can be hard to tell what is important and what is noise. Business intelligence in a company can dull the clamor.
It can help discern the patterns in the company’s data, which in turn illuminate the performance of a company as a whole and at a sector level. It provides real and understandable numbers that relate to performance and efficiency.
You need to know where, when, and how to act
Having information on the key short falling areas of a company is but the first step when it comes to improving the said company. A person in charge will need to know what actions can be taken to improve the productivity of a company and what impacts these actions will have.
BI can give an enriched view of how changes and modifications may influence a company. Understanding the implications of an alteration in a business is paramount when it comes to making decisions about the future of the business.
What are your customers doing?
Business intelligence does not only inform on the internal workings of the company, it also clarifies what the customers are doing and how they are interacting with the company. This customer information would include the current buying trends in the market, along with the prevalent expectations.
Once a company is aware of what is being expected by their customer base, they are better suited to angle themselves and their product to meet these expectations.
A company needs its customers
Once you understand how customers are thinking and what they are expecting, you can look at what you can do to reach these customers and retain them. The sales and marketing departments have tons of information that is produced from customer interactions. This customer information is usually collected and stored by a Customer Relationship Management application.
Business intelligence uses and interprets this information to understand which sales and marketing strategies are working, where new customers can be found and how current customers can be retained.
Integration breeds efficiency
Business intelligence is not only useful to the decision-makers of a business. A company that has an integrated business intelligence system can also greatly benefit the employees of the business. BI systems provide employees with quick and easy access to a company’s data as well as expediating the share of information across the business.
Integration like this will highlight the redundancy of certain roles and duties. Once these unnecessary roles have been removed, employees can be allowed to get on with more important and profitable work.
BI reduces data latency
Business intelligence systems do not clock-off. These tools are constantly collecting data, looking for patterns, and providing values. BI technology can be automated and scheduled so that management does not have to wait on a person to collect, compile, and report business findings.
They can access a host of analytical results and visualizations in real-time. Not only is business data sourced by BI systems readily accessible, but it is also more accurate and less error-prone than if it had to be done by a deadline besieged employee.
Managers who are in possession of up-to-date information are better equipped to identify key areas where changes can be made to increase productivity and efficiency.
Knowing more than your competitor
Knowledge is power. In the digital and information age, this has never been truer. A successful company does not only need to know what they are doing right, but they also need to know where their competitors are beating them. Business intelligence information and analysis can help clarify what the key differences are between you and your competitors.
These tools can show where you are being outpaced and where you are in the lead. Once this information is on hand, stakeholders can decide on the actions that can and need to be taken to make the company a formidable force.