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Business intelligence is all about providing people within your organization the information they need instantly whenever they need it. The goal of all business intelligence platforms is to help people improve and streamline their decision-making process.
Business intelligence software does this through specific and tailored methods of gathering and structuring data. The software then analyzes all the data and converts it into easy-to-comprehend knowledgebase where users can quickly find meaningful, digestible, and actionable information. Therefore, business intelligence speeds up users' access to reliable information, allowing them to make better business decisions and realize their goals.
But how does business intelligence puts your business in an advantageous position over the competition? Here are some ways:
1. Improve Data Quality
As emphasized earlier, businesses and organizations require data for their decision-making process. In organizations that don't utilize modern business intelligence systems, the common practice is to manually collect data from various sources and put them all in a database that is "hacked together.”
While such a method can be effective in a small scale setting, it can be problematic when implemented in an enterprise environment. The risks of data inaccuracies, discrepancies, and outdated information are too great.
Comprehensive BI solutions, on the other hand, can harvest tons of data from multiple sources, automatically update and replace old and irrelevant data. This ensures information, insights, and opportunities are based on reliable and recent data. Thus, enabling business leaders and decision-makers to take decisive and strategic actions with utmost confidence.
2. Generate Accurate Reports Fast
Business intelligence systems allow users to generate custom reports that are unique to their needs. In a few clicks and swipes, users can create tailored reports on their finances, accounting, inventory, marketing, and sales based on the most relevant and updated data.
This capability helps businesses quickly see the big picture and dive into the minutest of details in a flash, providing them a clear view of their business health, financial status, resource allocation, and more.
Most business intelligence platforms can also create data visualizations such as bars, charts, tables, and graphs along with the reports. The most popular business intelligence software solutions are dynamic and interactive that users can enter different variables to discover insights and trends as well as playout specific scenarios.
With business intelligence, business owners, decision-makers, and even employees are able to see what's working, what needs to be done, which areas require more attention, and so on. Since reports are accurate, management can quickly find and implement solutions and improvements to boost overall productivity, efficiency, and profitability.
3. Grow Your Customer Base
Business intelligence software solutions are not just built to speed up internal decision-making but also boost sales, attract more customers, and drive business growth.
BI systems help sales managers recognize hot-selling items and products in decline. They are able to create unique sales reports to identify and visualize spending trends by customers and discover opportunities that can increase sales based on actionable insights they get from these reports.
By having access to valuable and actionable sales insights, your sales managers are able to able to formulate and execute effective sales outreach and strategies to increase sales. They have a clear understanding of what the customers want and need and activate triggers that drive customers to make or strongly consider the purchase.
Also, business intelligence can help spot customers whom your company risks losing or clients who are making negative comments about your products and brand. Equipped with actionable insights and other relevant information, your sales team can reach out to them before it's too late.
4. Improve Sales Forecast Accuracy
There is no such thing as a 100%-accurate sales forecast. But with the right data and the right tools to analyze it, you can definitely improve the accuracy of your forecasts so much that you will have significantly more hits than misses and generate more predictable revenues.
A 2019 article by the Harvard Business Review examined how one particular global manufacturer struggled to meet clients' demands because of their volatility. Forecasts were based on managers' estimates and calculations were done manually.
To address this, the manufacturer resorted to building a data lake that collects data from various internal sources and uses machine learning to determine sales patterns. Pretty much what a business intelligence system is. As a result, that particular global manufacturer improved its forecast accuracy to 80%, which then translates to impressive sales all year round.
An Investment Worth Considering
The value of the business intelligence market is steadily growing. A November 2019 forecast by Research and Markets sees the BI software industry making a huge jump from $14.3 billion in 2018 to as high as $28.77 billion by 2022, a prediction that will make a lot of business intelligence software vendors happy.
There is no denying business BI systems are a huge investment, one that requires careful and thorough consideration. But taking into account the advantages a BI solution brings to the table, it can be a game-changer your enterprise need to not just remain in the game, but get ahead of the competition and be more effective and profitable for long stretches.