With the large volume of data generated from business operations and customer interactions, professionals may become overwhelmed and confused by all this information. More than ever, as a business owner or operator, you must learn how to understand and take control of such data to benefit your business.
Business intelligence is a customizable system of tools, technologies, applications, and practices that collects, integrates, organizes, and analyzes data to generate useful insights. It offers a comprehensive, centralized view of company information, and can provide historical, current, and predictive insights that translate raw numbers into action plans.
Whether you implement business intelligence through an in-house team or outsource to a company like BairesDev, you can expect it to benefit your company in the following ways.
The faster and more accurate reporting functions in business intelligence can increase your company’s productivity by enabling you to address problems immediately, before they lead to customer loss or a slowing of operations. Data analytics can pinpoint specific challenges you’re facing, so you can make targeted improvements quickly. Here’s how business intelligence can help in the areas of manufacturing and sales:
With business intelligence, you can monitor manufacturing processes in real-time. If you set up alerts to let workers know immediately when production issues start, they can inspect problem equipment before breakdowns happen. This process prevents production shutdowns, which can significantly lower productivity.
Business intelligence can monitor and analyze customer data to determine buying habits and patterns. By fully understanding your customers’ needs and wants, you can optimize services to increase current sales and promote long-term brand loyalty. Predictive data analytics can also identify new markets and opportunities to add to your customer base.
Dashboards can reveal hidden details about your existing sales strategies so you can make adjustments to improve future results. Business intelligence can also identify where sales are performing well and where they need improvement. If you respond quickly to predicted plateaus or declines, you can maintain high levels of productivity.
Enhance Decision Making
Business intelligence converts data into valuable insights that enable faster and more accurate decision-making related to your company’s finances, marketing, sales, and operations. If you base decisions on high-quality data analysis, rather than assumptions or guesswork, you’re much more likely to achieve success. This approach can help with decisions such as:
- Whether and when to enter new markets.
- How to best mitigate risks.
- Key steps to improve operational processes.
- How and when to restructure departments.
- When to make new hires.
In addition to improving the quality of decisions, the rapid reporting supported by business intelligence helps you shorten the time it takes to make decisions. Because you obtain insights in real-time, you can respond to changes or challenges right away.
Business intelligence helps forecast future trends based on current and historical data. Interactive data visualizations allow your staff to input and adjust different variables to see how they’d impact future business. So, you can better understand the implications of different changes before deciding whether to implement them. The following video explores how business intelligence transforms data into useful information for your decision making:
In some companies, individual departments keep important information isolated from the rest of the company. This siloed approach creates obstacles for the generation of comprehensive, cross-departmental insights, making it difficult for departments to work together toward common goals.
When you use business intelligence, you create a centralized repository that makes all data accessible to the whole company. Data from multiple locations are pooled together, so all departments are working from the same source.
This process promotes inter-departmental collaboration, good communication, and easy information sharing. Various departments can still use graphics and dashboards to understand specific data related to their own operations, but they also maintain a wider view of the whole company.
With business intelligence dashboards, you gain better control over business operations by closely monitoring processes in real-time, identifying what’s not working well, and creating solutions to improve efficiency.
Business intelligence can add automation for functions like recurring reports and repetitive administrative tasks. By using an automated approach, your employees are freed up to focus on their core areas of expertise, which is a more efficient use of staff time. Additionally, automation reduces human error.
Manual data consolidation, interpretation, and report creation are time-consuming, especially when they involve dispersed sources. With the centralized repository and report generation functions enabled by business intelligence, employees can stop tracking down data from multiple places and creating reports from scratch.
Business intelligence provides inventory-based data analysis that can determine how best to store and manage stock. It can analyze historical data and use stock metrics for the warehouse to keep track of products. Forecasting functions can streamline your inventory control to help you avoid bottlenecks, over-stocking, or out-of-stock issues.
Using business intelligence, you can reduce data inaccuracies and inconsistencies, capture the appropriate information, and store data correctly. These features make it easier to maintain compliance with data privacy regulations.
Business intelligence also allows you to analyze cash flow, balance sheets, and profit and loss statements using data visualizations like graphs, dashboards, and charts. You can blend traditional financial statements with real-time analytics to better manage your expenses, improve revenue, and identify patterns and trends.
Decrease IT Involvement
IT teams can become overburdened with requests from multiple departments, resulting in bottlenecks, late reports, and missed opportunities. By the time IT delivers a report, the data are often outdated and no longer useful. When you grant all employees access to automated and customizable reporting and analytic capabilities, they no longer have to wait for IT to get what they need, when they need it.
Business intelligence integrates features — such as data processing, dynamic visualization, and customizable reports — that can simplify data management for non-IT users and boost employee self-sufficiency. Since a centralized system with self-service dashboards requires only minimal IT intervention, business intelligence minimizes support costs.
Increase Employee Performance
Your human resource department can use business intelligence to analyze employee behavior and performance to uncover strengths to encourage and weaknesses to improve. You can track individual or team performance against custom success metrics in real-time. As employees or teams make changes, you can observe and measure the impact.
When teams are working on multiple projects, tracking tasks and deadlines can get in the way of performance. Business intelligence task management analytics helps employees stay on course, avoid bottlenecks, and remain accountable until the project is complete. It can also help with project reviews to lead to future improvements.
Obtain Valuable Insights from Business Data
With business intelligence, you can take full advantage of the valuable insights that come from gathering, organizing, analyzing, and reporting on business data. Acting on those insights can maximize your company’s efficiency and improve your decision making.