Leveraging Business Intelligence to Improve Business Operations
by Christian Ofori-Boateng on Sep 2, 2016 8:30:00 AM
All of your business operations can be reduced down to numbers. At their simplest form, everything that your business does is considered a data point and business intelligence are used to collect and analyze these data points, helping your business move forward. Analyzing the past gives insights into why a quarter turned a profit or sank into the red. Looking at the trend of data allows your business to make educated guesses about the future. Leveraging Business Intelligence to improve business operations is both an art and a science. Just as you need great supplies to paint great portraits, you must have great information in order to leverage business intelligence.
Agree on a data source
Your business needs to pull together. Every department should draw its data from the same well. If possible, use the same BI software to catalog everything. If it matches the software used by your clients, suppliers, and so forth, this is even better. In some ways, it’s less important to have the most accurate data than it is to have the same data. While accuracy is ever the goal, look at the data as a whole rather than squabbling about small shifts in numbers between departments. Trends and shifts should be clearly visible whatever the literal numbers are.
If you’re drawing your data from different competitive outlets, it’s important to centralize this data. Have your BI system in place to compile and collect the same kind of data from every source. Storing data in different data warehouses only makes it more complicated to access the most critical information. Wherever possible, simplify. Combine everything into one platform, and set up automation to compile things that cannot be all on one platform.
This goes hand in hand with agreeing on a data source. When you simplify your business intelligence, you’re making sure that there’s a minimal chance for error. If your analysts have to combine data sources it drastically increases the odds that something is going to be lost in translation. The more the data is handled, the more inaccuracies will creep in.
Look for actionable trends and insights
Once you have the data system that makes sense for your business, it’s time to look for actionable goals. With every department working with the same set of numbers, it’s easier to create the kinds of goals that are reasonable and achievable. More importantly, it becomes clearer which of the departments are not improving at the needed rate. Clean, centralized data minimizes the risk of unnecessary flaws in the flow of information. Teams that need work to improve will be clear to see.
The more work you put into your BI system the more function you’ll reap from it. Business intelligence reveals highly actionable trends and up to the minute information on your progress meeting your goals. Efficiency and accuracy are key, but pulling together is also important. Centralize your data, get every department on the same page, and you can see the improvement in business operations.