Business Intelligence (BI) empowers companies to improve their decision making process by accessing and leveraging their data. The latest technologies are all about accessible data control in real time. This allows businesses of all sizes to drive success.
Once the privilege of large companies only, BI is now accessible across the board thanks to the rise of software as a service (SaaS) on cloud computing platforms.
What Is Business Intelligence?
So what is business intelligence? Well, it’s not one particular software or a specific software suite. It’s a term that defines best business practices, software, process, and any other elements that enhance the decision making process for a company.
You can use it in a number of different ways:
– To track company spend and ensure no money is lost
– To offer real time control of finances
– To safeguard from fraud
– To measure how well sales efforts are going
– To assess the efficiency of your supply chain
– To measure staff performance
How Does BI Work and Why You Need It?
But BI is not just about gathering intelligence. It is about combining a host of different data and metrics and making easily digestible sense of it all through visualisation. The technology will therefore offer clear dashboards, as well as performance scorecards, making valuable data accessible across the business.
Here are a few reasons BI is essential:
– Making data backed business decisions
– Detecting financial loss in real time vs post fact
– Financial loss is stopped and prevented as soon as it happens
– Increased competitive advantage over players still working with legacy tools/software
– Improved efficiency of business operations
– Higher quality of customer service
These are key factors in business success and prosperity. And let us be clear, Business Intelligence is NOT Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. You may be tracking data this way but it is time-consuming and difficult to analyse.
Yes, Microsoft Excel has many excellent uses and has served business well for years. But to really grow your business and understand how far you can go, you will need bigger, smarter, faster, and more efficient tools.
Failure to track data in real time can be the difference between profit and loss.
One thing companies still seem to miss is that everything they do produces data. Unfortunately, even smart CEOs don’t understand the need to make sense of their growing data output. So they stick to what they know and don’t invest in the tools to efficiently collect that data and mine it for insights.
Real time data-driven process can set you apart. Businesses can happily trade along without understanding risks quickly because the data they have access to is inaccurate. As a result, companies fail to make smarter choices and boost their bottom line.
In closing, BI is not a tech fad. According to CIO, “interest in business intelligence (BI) is surging, as big data is expected to explode into a $50 billion market in 2015, nearly doubling its current size. Why not, when BI supports so many business-critical functions, such as analytics, business performance management, text mining and predictive analytics.”
So if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it!