Your business has data in every nook and cranny–in your software, in your mobile devices, and even in your IoT equipment. However, the data that you have means nothing unless you can exploit it to drive your company’s growth. That is why analytics exists and why business intelligence is important.
This aspect of a business enables you to uncover insights that may have gone unnoticed otherwise. It has become strategic. With that, organizations everywhere are now investing in business intelligence software.
What is Business Intelligence?
Before the onset of sophisticated BI and analytics tools in the market, organizations relied on spreadsheets and grunt work to discover sales opportunities and optimization. However, spreadsheets take a lot of time and they require tedious data gathering. It used to be a specialized field as well that only trained data analysts could be in.
Fortunately, technological innovations are replacing manual methods. That is where business intelligence tools come in. These are solutions that draw information from a wide range of data sources to produce reports with graphical information that aid in rapid decision-making.
But business intelligence is more than just integrating databases, third-party applications, and generating reports. It has a broad array of benefits that go beyond quick-fire decision-making, too, and you can read about these below.
1. Cut time spent on data entry and report generation
In any business, data entry is the process that takes up a lot of productive time. And this, in turn, can cost companies money because time better spent on nurturing leads and converting customers is used on a redundant task.
With business intelligence, you can cut down the time spent on inputting information in your system. This is possible because the latest BI solutions are configured to connect with numerous data sources. This means that you only have to integrate your BI application to your databases and third-party applications to consolidate information for comprehensive reporting.
Aside from helping you save time, this also aids you in eliminating errors that could affect your productivity. These factors are among the reasons for the digital business transformation in many companies and organizations.
2. Take an in-depth look into your inventory and sales
An adequate BI solution should be able to analyze your inventory using the data it can access from across the organization. By leveraging this aspect of the software, you can ensure that your stocks are optimal–not too much but also not too little. Because if your inventory status falls at either end of the spectrum, it can spell trouble for your business.
With business intelligence platforms, you can identify the trends in consumer purchasing behavior. This allows you to keep a healthy quantity of items that are always in demand. The same set of features can also assist you in preparing your inventory for seasonal changes so that you can dispose of your products.
Additionally, leveraging BI in your business helps you achieve greater sales. But how can a business data analytics software do this? When you know what your consumers are buying, you can provide accurate information to your sales and marketing team, which they can use for creating appropriate sales and marketing strategies. Thus, they can boost your company’s profits using actionable and verified data.
3. Keep a scorecard of important metrics and monitor performance
To maximize your BI software, you have to list what key performance indicators are important to your business. This way, you can create scorecards and dashboards that enable you to monitor your company’s performance conscientiously. Once your control panel is set up, you can see immediately which metrics are not reaching acceptable levels. Then, you can deploy mitigating actions to prevent any risk a negative development may have on your business.
As you go on, you can also rely on your BI platform for decision-making that is based on hard facts and accurate insights.
4. Empower users to generate ad hoc analyses independently
Employees need reports to make their own decisions that can affect the entire organization, regardless of their rank or position. That is why it is best to empower them with access to real-time data so that they are enlightened before they reach an outcome or resolution. As such, you can ensure that your business takes fortuitous paths even at the rank-and-file levels.
What’s more, providing easy access to data empowers your employees and makes them more productive. It permits them to grow personally and professionally, letting your business become competitive in your arena.
5. Visualize information for easy digestion
Decision-makers do not have the time to go through numerous pages of information before they can make a definite judgment. If they do, opportunities may slip by. That is why one of the most popular features of business intelligence software is visualized data. This means that reports produced by the platform are graphical, wherein critical information is found easily.
This results in quick identification of opportunities that the business can capitalize on and which will enhance its foothold in the market.
6. Simplify financial analyses and management
If you have an accounting software and a business intelligence solution, you can use them in tandem to uncover more information about the financial standing of your company. That is because when you combine the two, you can dig deeper into the financial records of your business, such as who your debtors are, how much they owe you, and when their payments are due. When you know these things with a single click, you can save as much as 15 days a year going after late outstanding accounts settlements, according to a Sage study.
Apart from saving you a lot of time, in-depth financial analyses lead to better financial management because you are now able to reduce debt and keep a healthy cash flow.
But business intelligence works the other way around as well–it enables you to identify your creditors, how much you owe them, and when you need to pay up. When you are armed with such information, you can create a payment plan that helps you stay on good terms with creditors while keeping your business in the black. Therefore, you can keep your doors open for as long as possible.
7. Protect and secure your business from digital threats
When your business is armed with superior intelligence, you can protect yourself from digital threats. Even if you have strong protection around your network, you can still benefit from an equally powerful business intelligence tool. With the two working together, you can find and uproot worms, viruses, and other forms of cyber-threats easily.
On top of that, your security team’s ability to look out for potential dangers is heightened, thereby securing you against malicious attacks stringently further.
Your Future with Business Intelligence
Like any innovation, business intelligence is evolving. The tools you are using today could easily be outdated tomorrow. There are various business intelligence examples with differing features, modules, and solutions. That is why it is imperative that you find a partner, rather than just a vendor, who could offer access to the latest technologies and assist you in using them for your business. By doing so, you can avoid interruptions in your operations brought about by the deployment and implementation of new tools. This research from Finances Online is a good resource if you’re interested in exploring options for business intelligence solutions.
Another thing you also have to consider in choosing your business intelligence provider is the simplicity of the platform. While you can subscribe to a software that requires an understanding of codes, you are making data inaccessible to your ordinary employees. But if you opt for an intuitive and user-friendly solution, you can empower everyone in your organization to do something about the insights they find.