Business intelligence (BI) is one of the most popular and significant ways to provide insights and solutions for business performance, strategy and the whole operation. BI is a tool that allows different departments to collect and analyze data, reveal major takeaways, evaluate business operations, improve business flow, help identify problems and find solutions, evaluate real time gains, etc. Only business decisions driven by data and not by assumptions are worth recognizing and realizing. What are the main purposes of BI?
- Data Connections. No analysis is possible without data. Data collection is the first usage for a BI. Instead of logging into multiple data sources to do an analysis a BI tool will allow you to view all your sources in one spot. This is extremely helpful especially when wanting to pull insights from multiple sources or compare one channel to another. For example, when running social media campaigns you may have Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads and Twitter Ads, by using a BI tool you can combine all data to provide a full social media view for your executives but also compare the cost per acquisition of Twitter to Facebook in order to maximize your marketing ROI.
- Data Visualization. Not everyone is numbers driven, it is also impossible to view trends without doing a line graph. BI tools allow us to visualize and present numbers in a way that the most number scared person can understand, analyze and act! BI tools allow you to show cool graphics such as sales on a map for regional analysis, bars/line graphs for trends, pie charts for market share or % of sales, and bubble charts can help with strategy of top and worst performing products. These are just some of the example of how you can use BI visualization to your advantage.
- Generating reports. Reporting is the way of data assembling. Business intelligence tools save time by generating automatic reports without having the need for repetitive work of your team. You still need analysts to interpret the results and do ad-hoc reporting, but dashboards and automated reports can help with providing insightful information on an ongoing basis to the right individual without any additional work.
- Alerts. Finally it is impossible to monitor and control all data that is being collected today, which is why a lot of BI tools will allow you to set up alerts. Alerts will notify you if there is a spike or decline and will require your attention, if set-up correctly they can really help speed up the time it takes to establish an issue!
There are many different types of dashboards and reporting that you can set-up using your BI tool:
- Historical and Ongoing Dashboard: One of the most common visualized reports refer to historical data that generates data summarization by certain time frame. It allows to see the trends and understand changes through periods of time. Usually it includes daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and year over year results. It helps to see seasonality and other trends that may have an impact on business flow. It enables to enhance business approach and empower marketing strategies. This type of reporting is called descriptive analytics since it is based on the historical evidence.
- Drill Down and Root Cause Analysis: The other type of reporting relates to the root cause analysis. The descriptive analytics discloses ups and downs triggering deeper analysis. It is goal is to find out why this or that problem emerged. Understanding the root cause helps make business decisions and, therefore, change and improve the performance. It is like getting the diagnosis to select the proper treatment.
- Forecasting: BI findings are crucial not only for understanding where your business is steering, they create a platform for forecasting. Only correct and proper BI can initiate accurate predictions. It also allows to see if your forecast is right and stimulates prediction adjustments for future error free evaluations.
When you see the results and you know the reason for successes or failures you can not only predict but actually manage your business based on real takeaways. Your solutions are backed up by numbers, findings and proofs.
There are different business intelligence tools on the market today. And only organizations that integrate BI tools have the advantage of making timely, data driven decisions. They are well informed and have a competitive dominance. Decisions that are based on clean data collected and processed by BI tools ensure: less errors in understanding business flow, precise CRM, well tuned marketing campaigns, better return on investments, greater revenue, workforce productivity and customer loyalty. All these gains define overall business health and stimulate success and prosperity.
For help in choosing the right business intelligence tool for your organization or setting up reports/dashboards with your existing tool, contact StrategicDB a data analytics company at firstname.lastname@example.org