Imagine if you had better information on your inventory and a much clearer idea of how your employees are managing their time. Having accurate critical information at your fingertips could help you grow your business at a much faster rate. You’d be making fewer mistakes, spending less money, and getting far better results. Your business success would increase exponentially if you had a better handle on controlling operations and managing processes?
Your business would flourish if you matched your understanding of how to run your company with the right information. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by big data, you would be able to mine it for insights. You would be able to use this data to help you make decisions on everything that matters.
Although it might sound utopian to imagine running a business without relying on guesswork, business intelligence (BI) software analyzes your data and presents information you can act on. If you’re an executive, a manager, or an end user, you will be able to make better-informed business decisions.
What is BI?
BI is not a singular piece of software. Instead, business intelligence is an umbrella term for a wide range of apps used to gather data, create reports, and analyze a company’s data.
BI is used in many different ways. It is used to find new business opportunities in emerging markets. It is used to reduce expenses from redundant processes. It is used to make more accurate decisions rather than speculation. And it is used to recognize inefficient business processes that need to be re-engineered. It can also be used to assist the flow of project management.
Using BI’s tools, apps, and methodologies, a company can collect data from both internal and external sources. Once this data has been collected, it can be sorted and prepared for easier analysis. The data can be queried and reports generated to visualize the data. These data-based reports forwarded to decision makers or operational workers will make it much easier for everyone to do a better job.
Benefits of BI
Using a BI program provides numerous benefits, and here is a short list of some outstanding ones:
- make faster, more accurate decisions.
- optimize all mission-critical internal business processes.
- reduce costs and increase revenues.
- notice potential business problems.
- spot emerging market trends.
- outperform other businesses in the same industry, which can lead to enjoying a larger market share.
All this is possible because BI is equally facile at reviewing historical data from internal data sources and forecasting probabilities from external data sources. Consequently, it’s the best way to develop business strategies and roll out tactics.
An Example of BI Success
While BI sounds phenomenal from a theoretical point-of-view, does it work in the real world?
Bob Russo describes how some companies use BI: “Providing targeted information at the right place and time is central to improving the decision-making process. This would allow us to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace as well as increase retail customer, shopper and shareholder value. We want to make sure that we are able to deliver ‘one version of the truth’ and deliver information that is actionable. We do not want to just deliver data.”
BI and Cloud Computing
While BI works remarkably well to deliver results, it works even better when combined with cloud computing. It’s almost a perfect match between a robust software system and a light-weight platform. BI delivers the right information to the right people at the right time while cloud computing is a cost-effective, agile way for all end users to access all BI apps.
Here are 4 advantages of combining BI with cloud computing:
- 1. It’s easier to use. BI applications are easier in every possible way for end-users to use. They are easier to set up and operate while at the same time reducing IT staffing and infrastructure costs.
- 2. Faster deployment. BI applications are easier to deploy because they don’t require the use of more hardware or specific software installations.
- 3. Scalability. BI applications can be quickly scaled to manage an increased number of company users.
- 4. Accessibility. BI applications can be accessed from anywhere in the world and from any web browser or any mobile device.
A Data-Driven Future
As we approach the end of the second decade of the new century, it’s becoming increasingly obvious to everyone involved in business that our reliance on data is growing at an exponential rate. BI serves as an effective way to gather data, extract meaning, and make the information actionable. Already, business intelligence, cloud computing, and big data are beginning to work in synthesis.