Business Intelligence: The Key to Unlocking Your Company’s Data


It’s no secret that businesses use data to make better informed decisions and get a competitive edge. But there’s so much more data out there than ever before, and says it’s not easy for traditional analysts to keep tabs on everything.

You see, this is where business intelligence and analytics come in: They provide the tools and skills for people to extract insights from all of the information that might be swirling around your company, increasing what you can do with your data but only if you use them correctly.

A lot of companies are using these new technologies to get data out of their systems, but not all of them are using the right tools for the job. And, unfortunately, heaps of companies are still struggling to get started on their BI journeys. You see, there’s a lot more to it than just loading your data into a BI solution and hoping that the right insights come out in the end. It is in fact about putting in place an approach that supports you throughout this transformation journey. Your BI implementation should be driven by your goals and goals should be driven by your business strategy (and supported by value chain).

So, what are the key insights that BI can give you, and how can you use them? 

Businessman, Tablet, Steering, City, Man

Let’s start with one of the most important: Uncovering trends.

Trends are revealed when you merge all of your data in a single place so that you can track them over time. For example, if you have sales data for your products A, B, C in each month for the last five years, when you store this information in a single place it gives an indication on how much your products have grown or declined. You can also use trends to see what’s happening in specific areas of the business by looking at the figures against time.

By tracking trends over time, you can see which products are losing sales and why they do so. You can also look at how investment is impacting your business and the right areas to invest in. There are even software packages that allow you to draw trend lines and spot changes in market activity that reflect events such as the expiration of deals or seasonality.

Another thing you might want to monitor is customer satisfaction. As we know, customer service really matters especially for high-end products where dissatisfied customers are more likely to tell friends about their bad experience, resulting in lost sales.

Customers’ overall satisfaction

This is why it’s important to measure customers’ overall satisfaction with your products and services. You can then look at the scores in comparison to factors like prices, features, delivery times, delivery costs, etc. You can even use these scores to predict when you should contact customers again (for example by sending them offers) to prevent them from becoming completely dissatisfied with your company.

Using BI solutions, you can also see the same figures in different ways. For example, if you want to know how satisfied users are with different products or services offered by your company, you can filter your data accordingly and get a clear picture of what’s happening to your business. Because of the vast amount of data, companies are also increasingly turning to machine learning to automate insights extraction.

Here’s how it works: 

BI tools can search through your data and create new metrics, benchmarks, or predictions without you needing to specify the logic behind them. This way you don’t have to worry about labor-intensive manual oversight, making it easier for you to keep an eye on trends and predict what might happen next.

Another insight that BI can give you is by showing the relationships between different elements of your business. For example, if you’re looking at sales figures for different products or departments in different areas of the world, some seemingly unrelated factors could be having a big impact on your figures.

Scanning through your data

Scanning through your data can help you to identify what you should be keeping an eye on. For example, if several products are seeing drops in sales in the US, but not in other areas of the world, it may be worth taking a look at your US marketing strategy to see what’s out of place. Or if sales are increasing above expectations in Asia, you might want to send more products to that market.

Business analysts use this information about relationships between elements of business to tell them which data points are most important for them to look at. By observing relationships between variables, you can determine where your business is heading and make better decisions about what to do next.

Important insight

Maybe the most important insight that BI solutions give you is how your business is performing overall. Since BI tools gather data from a variety of sources, they can give a broad overview of your business that might not be available to people looking at the figures in different departments.

This means that they don’t just allow you to have a better picture of what’s happening with your business as a whole they also allow you to see how individual teams or departments are doing relative to each other or against their own previous performance. This way, you can identify problems quicker and fix them before they cause major issues for your company.


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