The definition of Business Intelligence (BI) is the empowerment of 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 companies that use business intelligence to grow faster and become profitable in shorter time.
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 BI? 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 fraudulent activity in purchasing
– To protect the business from invoice fraud
– To measure how well sales efforts are progressing
– To assess the efficiency of your supply chain
– To measure staff performance
How Does BI Work and Why You Need It?
BI is not just about gathering intelligence. It is about combining a variety of different data and metrics and making easily digestible sense of it all through intuitive visualisation. Any intelligent technology will then typically offer clear dashboards, as well as performance scorecards, making valuable data accessible across the business.
Here are a few reasons why considering business intelligence software is beneficial:
– 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 Business Intelligence is not a system of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. You may be tracking data this way but it is will be incredibly time-consuming and difficult to analyse.
Yes, Microsoft Excel has many excellent uses and has served business well for years. But to really grow a business and understand just how far you can go, you will need bigger, smarter, faster, and more intelligent tools.
The inability to track data in real time can be the difference between profit and loss.
When Considering Technology
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 tools to efficiently collect that data and mine it for insights.
Businesses will happily trade along without understanding risks as they occur because the data they have access to is inaccurate or dated. As a result, companies fail to make the right choices and avoid invoice fraud, control spend 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 it supports so many business-critical functions, such as analytics, business performance management, text mining and predictive analytics.”
Are you using business intelligence software? How has it changed the way you work? Has it improved your bottom line? Let us know in comments.
Worried lack of transparency is putting you at risk of invoice fraud? Download our eBook and find out if you should be concerned.