Business Intelligence is a way to look at and interact with your data using software that automatically uses sophisticated analytical techniques to answer, and even ask, important questions about what your data implies.
What does that mean?
It’s no longer the age of the spreadsheet. Modern businesses want their data to be useful to them in advanced ways so they can stay ahead of competition, market uncertainty, and changes within their own company. They want to be able to:
- Look at the “big picture” and see measurements of elements within it, such as whether sales are meeting goals, or what proportion of the customer base is using which product, and so forth (a “top-down, metrics-driven” approach).
- Create reports and dashboards that visualise current data in real time for monitoring purposes, and reflect how things might change in different projected scenarios.
- Generate powerful insights using a bottom-up approach that alerts users to unexpected implications based on correlations between different facets of the data.
In short, business intelligence is a data-focused way to understand the past, stay in touch with the present, and confidently plan for the future. This is done through low-cost, smart reporting software that effectively makes the process transparent, immediate, and flexible so that you can focus on what to do with the data instead of on the data itself. You no longer have to request reports from IT that may not exactly show what you intend, or may be nearly obsolete by the time you receive and present them.
“The proper term for interacting with information at the speed of business, analyzing and discovering and following through with the appropriate action, is ‘analytics’”.
—Neil Raden, Hired Brains (market research and management consulting)
All businesses produce and collect data—customer, vendor, internal, market, performance, productivity, etc.—but many SMBs have no clear idea of what to do with it. A database isn’t a magic success talisman. You have to know how to understand it. Companies like Google and Facebook have become household names because they knew how to gather and analyse data.
The following chart shows some ways in which companies are accustomed to thinking about their data, and new ways to actually understand data so it becomes a tool for productivity and profitability:
Rock Gnatovich at CIO.com reports, “Analytics is enabling more proactive, high-frequency planning cycles. Planners are better able to refine and iterate the plan, shifting resources to higher performing areas with the goal of being first-to-market and never having a warehouse full of trendy goods once the trend is over. Secondly, the analytically savvy organization is more agile—able to adapt and respond—whether that’s to a competitor that releases a new product, a change to the pricing structure in the marketplace or the success of its own marketing campaign.”
Wow, that sounds interesting! Is it difficult?
Not at all! No matter what your company size or resources, there is a solution for you to become a business that quickly sees, adapts, and responds to critical trends in market and company data with easy-to-use and cost-effective Business Intelligence tools.
Caldere can put these tools into your hands, helping you use BI software in conjunction with your already existing data systems, and demonstrating how you can quickly generate insights that drive accelerated success, using your valuable data to its fullest potential.