According to BARC research, only 36% of business leaders use KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) extensively across their organisation.
Most business leaders have KPIs in place to clarify targets and measure success.
However, they often have no standardised way of measuring them and struggle to keep up with advances in data analytics.
Most are dealing with multiple data sources to support KPI monitoring and decision-making, but very few businesses have one source of truth for their data.
Step forward, Business Intelligence (BI).
Wouldn't it be great to have complete confidence in your data?
With Business Intelligence, you can.
So let's take a look at BI, how it can help, and it's benefits in more detail:
What is Business Intelligence?
Business intelligence (BI) is a technology-driven process for analysing data that provides actionable information for business owners to make informed decisions. It’s an umbrella term that includes business analytics, data mining, data visualisation, data tools, infrastructure, best practices, and more.
BI tools bring together multiple data sources, enabling businesses to gain deeper insights and actionable intelligence.
How does Business Intelligence work?
Business intelligence is used as a foundation for strategic decision-making.
It aims to eliminate as much of the guesswork from the decision-making process as possible.
To put it simply, as a business, you will have:
- Goals you want to achieve
- Questions you want to answer to achieve your goals
To get the answers you want, you will need to:
- Gather the necessary data
- Analyse the data
- Decide on the best course of action
So what’s the process for Business Intelligence?
Well, let’s take a look at the following 5 step process:
- Data sources are integrated into your cloud
- Data sets are organised and prepared for analysis
- Your business users run analytical queries against the data
- Results are displayed into data visualisations, dashboards or reports
- Your business can plan and make decisions based on the data
Ultimately, it should be interactive and approachable.
Example data sources used to build business intelligence can include:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems
- Supply chain information
- Sales performance dashboards
- Marketing analytics
- Call centre data
According to TrustRadius,
Microsoft Power BI is the leading BI software in 2021, commanding 36% of the market share.
What are the types of Business Intelligence?
The list of BI technologies that are available to organisations includes the following:
- Operational Intelligence (OI)
- SaaS BI
- Open Source BI (OSBI)
- Embedded BI
- Collaborative BI
- Mobile BI
- Location Intelligence (LI)
- Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)
- Ad-hoc Analysis
Operational Intelligence (OI)
Operational Intelligence (OI) is an approach to data analysis that allows decisions and actions in business operations to be based on real-time data, as it's generated or collected.
Real-time analytics often involves streaming data and supports decision analytics uses.
You should generally target it towards customer facing employees, such as:
- Sales reps
- Digital marketers
- Logistics planners
- Call centre agents
Software as a Service Business Intelligence (SaaS BI) is a cloud-based software deployment solution hosted by a third-party, where it can be accessed by the end user via a web browser.
SaaS BI can be a good choice when there’s little budget available.
However, the overall SaaS BI costs will depend on the amount of usage the tools get.
There are issues that you should be aware of with this option, which includes:
- Limited functionality
- Data protection
Open Source BI (OSBI)
Open Source Business Intelligence (OSBI) is free Business Intelligence software.
Open source BI vendors usually charge for support, documentation and code, instead of selling traditional software licenses.
Some Open Source BI tools include:
Embedded BI is the integration of reports, dashboards, and data visualisations inside commonly used business applications.
It includes some of the following capabilities:
- Interactive dashboards
- Clear reports
- Native integration with local apps
- Big data connectivity
- Multi-tenant BI
Collaborative BI is the merging of traditional business intelligence software with collaboration tools to support improved data-driven decision making.
You can use it to display dashboards, visual analysis tools or reports to departmental decision-makers.
This approach focuses on creating greater alignment between departments across the business, fostering communication.
Collaborative BI can be used by marketing and sales departments for content marketing during each phase of the customer journey.
Engagement throughout the customer journey requires tight alignment between marketing, sales, and other key stakeholders.
Each department can use key data from the other to make a decision about when and how to approach a particular customer with the right content.
Creating an ideal environment for digital marketing.
Mobile Business Intelligence refers to the ability to provide business and data analysis on mobile devices by extending desktop BI applications.
A variety of mobile devices can be used to display BI information.
As you can imagine, screen size plays a significant role for Mobile BI.
You’ll also need to consider the amount of data you pull through.
Page speed loading times make a big difference for mobile users.
Location Intelligence (LI)
Location Intelligence (LI) is the process of gaining meaningful insight from geospatial data relationships to solve a particular problem.
By adding layers of geographic data to a dashboard, businesses can use intelligence tools to:
- Identify where an event has taken place
- Understand why it happened
- Gain insight into causation
Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)
Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) is an approach that organises large business databases and supports complex analysis.
OLAP extracts data from multiple relational data sets and reorganises it into a multidimensional format that enables very fast processing and insightful analysis.
Ad-hoc Analysis is a process designed to answer a specific business question by utilising data from various sources.
It is a business report or analysis of data generated by the employees.
It can be generated anytime for some business-related purpose.
Your customer satisfaction is much lower this year than previous years.
This can be answered by combining various sets of data.
We could combine each negative review to look for patterns.
Customer service results could be explored.
Even sets such as social media comments or customer satisfaction surveys can be analysed to establish the reasons “why”.
We can collate these results into a single user-friendly report to help decide what to do next to alleviate this issue.
What are the benefits of Business Intelligence?
#1 Increased revenue
Starting off with an obvious one.
Increasing revenue is probably the most important goal for any business.
BI enables you to establish KPIs that align with the business strategy.
This provides visibility into your business performance and ROI.
When you’re using BI effectively, you are far more likely to see your revenue increase.
#2 Reduced costs
BI can help your business find ways to cut costs down.
It can collate data from all areas of the business and note the ones with the highest outgoings.
Find creative ways to reduce spend.
#3 Competitive advantage
Track the sales and marketing performance of your competitors, creating ways to differentiate your products and services.
Handling a large amount of data effectively will also give you a competitive edge.
Utilising BI tools, you can budget, plan and forecast far more effectively than your competition.
#4 Speed of decision making
As a business, it’s important to make decisions at times.
Failure to address issues with accuracy and speed can have a detrimental impact on your business.
By using BI, you can leverage data to ensure key stakeholders receive the information they need, at the right time.
Ultimately, improving time-to-decision.
#5 Operational efficiency
48% of businesses say creating a centrally-managed BI team is coming in the near future (360Suite 2021).
Measuring and monitoring performance is important for all businesses.
BI tools cover key metrics such as:
- Employee satisfaction
- Employee Performance
- Employee Productivity
This encourages better operational behaviour.
#6 Data-driven business decisions
Accurate data + faster reporting = Better business decisions
You can provide your sales team with real-time data and forecasts prior to customer meetings.
They will now be far more confident going into that meeting knowing that the data is up-to-date.
#7 Data quality
Business that collect, update, and create quality data will be more successful.
With BI, you can combine different data sources to create the “big picture”.
According to Accenture,
49% of employees said analytics were more or much more important than ever.
#8 Boosts productivity
BI can be a critical tool to ensure competitiveness and productivity.
With BI solutions, you can encourage more intelligent responses to trends in material usage, production, supplier information, staff, and more.
#9 Employee satisfaction
Companies lose an average of more than five working days (43 hours) per employee each year when accounting for data-induced procrastination and sick leave due to stress resulting from information, data and technology issues (Accenture 2020).
BI is designed to be scalable, providing data solutions to:
- Departments who need it
- Employees who crave data
It should provide a seamless and intuitive user experience for non-technical users to look at data.
#10 Identifying market trends
50% of teams and customers are more likely to use Business Intelligence tools after the pandemic compared to before (Sisense 2020).
Businesses can develop a competitive advantage by identifying new opportunities and establishing a strategy based on data.
You can leverage external market data with internal data to detect new sales trends by:
- Analysing customer data
- Analysing market conditions
- Raising existing and potential business issues
#11 Increased margins
You can use BI tools to analyse inefficiencies and help expand margins for your business.
Use BI to find bottlenecks in your sales team processes.
Once found, you can develop better strategies to be more cost effective.
Alternatively, you could distribute budgets into the more efficient processes.
BI helps you find these issues, so you can react quickly.
#12 Market leadership
BI reporting speeds up processes and unlocks insights you can turn into actions.
With these insights, you can adopt new technologies before everyone else 😉
Making you a market leader.
#13 Customer behaviour insights
BI tools are key to identifying behaviour patterns from your customers.
BI is great for marketing.
You can optimise your marketing campaigns based on previous customer purchases and responses.
#14 Identify new opportunities
By analysing strategies and marketing campaigns with BI, you can create significant insights and reports to identify sources of high ROI.
Revenue growth is vital to any business.
#15 Foster a data culture
Utilise BI software to manage the data for your business.
Data loss and manipulation is very common for businesses.
It’s important to keep data centralised and under control.
With BI, you can ensure that the right people have access to the right data.
#16 Increase collaboration
86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures (Salesforce).
It’s important for different departments to work together seamlessly.
With BI, departments can share insights and collaborate to encourage growth within the business.
#17 Valuable business insights
Uncover the strengths and weaknesses of your business to help you understand what’s working and what’s not.
Stay on top of the KPIs that matter the most to your business.
#18 Customer experience
Most businesses obtain customer feedback in real time.
This information can help businesses retain customers and reach new ones.
It's also a great way to receive constructive criticism to help the company to grow.
BI tools could help your business to identify trends from your customers, which help employees anticipate and deliver better service for your customers.
We really hope you enjoyed our 18 Key Benefits of Business Intelligence.
Now we’d like to hear from you:
Do you have any further questions about this topic?
Perhaps you’re considering how to implement BI for your business?
Either way, let us know your thoughts.