How to Start Gaining the Benefits of Business Intelligence

Using Data to Stand Out in Today's Market

For businesses across industries, competition can be fierce. So, you should take advantage of any method you can use to win in your market. Strategies may include spending a little more on payroll and benefits to get the best workers, developing innovative marketing campaigns, and investing in research and development to deliver superior products or services.

All these strategies can help you stand out among competitors, but business success requires a whole other layer of making smart strategic decisions. Business intelligence (BI) tools can help you do so by providing the key element needed to make the best choices: accurate information.

This information can be about your market, your competitors, the economy, and much more. Here we explain more about what BI is, describe its benefits, and discuss the steps you need to take to get started with this valuable technique.

outsource software services

What Is Business Intelligence?

BI uses analytics to glean insights from data that you can use to drive meaningful action — that is, an action that will bring a company closer to its goals. BI tools include dashboards, reports, and other visual representations that allow you to better understand these observations and trends.

What Are the Benefits?

When using BI, companies have reported things like faster analysis, more accurate reporting, reduced costs and improved data quality, employee satisfaction, operational efficiency, and customer satisfaction. 

To make these benefits more concrete, let’s consider an example. Say you’re just starting out as a coffee shop owner. You know you use the best quality coffee of all the coffee shops in the area where you’re located. You know you have a comfortable environment and friendly staff. But you’re still an unknown, so you’ll need more than that to draw customers in. 

You can use BI to trace data that shows what people typically do before and after entering a coffee shop in your area. So, if you discover that many customers are coming from a large employer with an office nearby, you could consider giving the company coupons to distribute to employees for 10% off each purchase. Or, if using weather data, you discover that coffee shops get more business on rainy days, you could offer a “rainy day discount” on social media. 

Benefits can be cumulative. For example, with more customers, you get more chances to enhance your reputation, which in turn attracts even more customers and increases revenue. A thriving business improves employee satisfaction, which translates to even more satisfied customers, creating a virtuous cycle that started with data. 

Of course, this is a simple scenario using the example of a small business. But the same principle applies to larger or more complex companies: the right information offers a laser focus on what you need to do to meet your short- and long-term goals. 

How to Start Using Business Intelligence

“Wow, those benefits sound great,” you might be saying. “Where can I sign up?” Don’t rush it! Getting a BI system in place isn’t that simple. You should approach the process with careful thought and planning. Here are some steps to get you started:

  • 1

    Identify goals

    This phase may be the most important one. To get the most out of a BI application, you need to know what you hope to gain. Along with other company leaders, think about what BI could help you do and how it could make your business better.

  • How to Start Gaining the Benefits of Business Intelligence 3

    Set up a budget

    Now that you have your ideal-case scenario, think about what you can realistically afford. You may need to dial back your expectations in terms of the features and scope of what you’ll look for. That’s okay — even a simple BI application can deliver valuable information.

  • How to Start Gaining the Benefits of Business Intelligence 4

    Get stakeholder input

    Making any company initiative a success requires key stakeholders to be on board and BI implementation is no exception. Give your shareholders, employees, and executives the opportunity to weigh in, ask questions, and give their blessing.

  • How to Start Gaining the Benefits of Business Intelligence 5

    Gather requirements

    Now it’s time to think about the reality of having a new BI system as part of your company’s workflow. Who will operate it and what do they need to be successful? What will you and other stakeholders expect in terms of output? And, what data sources do you want to incorporate?

  • How to Start Gaining the Benefits of Business Intelligence 6

    Research providers

    For some businesses, especially smaller ones, a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) application — such as Microsoft Power BI, Qlik, or Tableau — may be sufficient, and this option is a good place to start your search. Based on the steps above, develop a checklist of must-haves and nice-to-haves that you want in your BI application. If COTS solutions don’t fulfill those requirements, expand your search to custom BI system providers.

How Custom Software Development Can Help

BairesDev offers a wide range of BI services. While many COTS BI applications are available, your needs may require something customized to your business. Our services in this area can increase the accuracy of your reports and provide more sophisticated, granular, and multidimensional dashboards and reports based on multiple data sources. 

Our process includes data warehousing, the core of any BI system. This process enables us to extract, transform, and load data from disparate platforms and applications into your customized application. Whereas now you may be able to develop reports from each data source separately, this system allows you to combine sources, making insights that much more powerful. 

Additionally, we can build applications for desktop, mobile, web, so you can access this valuable information in the ways that fit your business best. 

Related Pages

We provide top services for world-class clients, from startups to companies of all sizes.

Clients' Experiences

Ready to work with the Top 1% IT Talent of the market and access a world-class Software Development Team?

Scroll to Top

By continuing to use this site, you agree to our cookie policy.