Many organizations make business decisions based on conclusions drawn from inadequate data analytics tools because they’re unsure how or why business intelligence (BI) solutions deliver value.
This blog post will help you identify if you’re one of those organizations, and look at the ways BI can help your business. Let’s start off with explaining what BI is.
What is Business Intelligence?
Gartner defines BI as an umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance. Simply put, BI is the transformation of your raw (unstructured) data into something meaningful and is achieved using BI software.
Why Business Intelligence?
Consumers are producing terabytes of data from customer transactions, how people behave online, to financial and HR data. And organizations are sitting on top of this ‘gold mine’ of data.
The great news is, business intelligence is no longer just for large enterprises with deep pockets.
Here are 5 signs your organization is in need of BI
- You have lots of data – but you’re not fully using it to its power
It’s easy to collect data – there’s a digital footprint in every key stroke that your customers make, and every online interaction that they engage in – data is all around us. But what’s the point of stockpiling data if you’re not gaining any value from it?
When you’re talking about business analytics, information and data are very different things and cannot be used interchangeably. Data in its raw form must be converted into meaning and useful information for users to confidently report and make business decisions upon.
If you’re lacking information, you most likely need help with data aggregation and converting this data into usable analytical insight. The key here is finding actual insightful information from the stockpiled data.
This is a situation where a BI tool is helpful.
BI tools such as Modemetric helps to increase your ability to identify trends and issues, uncover new insights, and fine-tune operations to meet business goals. Data is the gateway but BI helps to unlock the value in all that data.
- You are not in control of your own analysis
If one single department (such as IT) controls all company data, getting reports can become lengthy and often render you with dated reports.
Creating reports without BI software, especially complex reports or dashboards, requires someone with a technical background and therefore forces non-technical users to be reliant on IT.
If you’re constantly waiting on IT to update your report requests, this is a clear sign that it’s time to bring the data to the people who actually benefit from analyzing data to meet business goals – the business users.
Any solid, self-service BI tool with a clean, intuitive UI will allow business users the flexibility to build and tweak their own reports or BI dashboards.
- Your Excel workbooks have become too complex to manage
This is a situation that many organizations encounter as they grow in size and complexity. Excel is a great personal productivity tool, but it wasn’t designed to be used to report on the growing organizations business performance. An Excel workbook that worked well with 10 tabs rolling up to a “master tab”, that has grown to over 100 tabs can become unwieldy to manage. If it’s taking minutes vs seconds just to open the Excel workbook, that’s a sign you may need to get a BI software solution. With that many tabs rolling up to one master tab, there’s a greater risk of undetected errors in calculations. And if your organization is reliant on one person who is the Excel workbook “guru”, and no one else is capable of managing or updating the workbook, that’s a single point of failure that needs to be addressed.
- Joining data from different sources is a nightmare
In today’s business environment, data comes from a variety of sources and different formats. From Twitter feeds, to CRM data, organizations need to be able to bring all these different data sources together into a single coherent location.
If you’re still running reports in different systems and trying to make sense of all the connections between the different sources of data, you’re looking at your data through a straw and probably gaining just a fraction of the insight you could be gaining by using a BI tool to cross data sources.
Owning a BI tool that works with multiple sources of data will easily allow you to add additional data sources to the mix, the only limitation to insight at this point is what you want to do with the data. Getting a unified, accurate view of the bigger picture like creating organizational plans, distributing and collecting information from different managers, consolidating multiple spreadsheets, and debugging broken macros and formulas, is now a problem of the past.
- You’re not sure the insights you’ve reported is accurate.
If you’re finding too many errors in your spreadsheets and reports, or worse, your manager does, it’s time to consider a BI tool.
Let’s say you’ve spent all weekend pulling together an awesome report for your manager, and in the first 5 minutes of the meeting, he or she finds an error, or worse, a number of errors in your report – this can be what we call a CLM – a “career limiting move.”
If your data can’t tell you which of your business areas are doing well or struggling, or deliver clear, actionable data, then you’re missing out on why business intelligence is important. If you want the real advantages business analytics can provide, it’s time to evaluate a BI software solution. In this case, a BI tool will not only save you time, but also sleepless nights of not trusting that your data is the final and single source of truth.
So if any of these 5 scenarios sounds even remotely familiar to you, it’s time to consider looking at a BI solution.