Business intelligence has proven to be effective time after time. However, many small businesses are still asking, “What is the point in having loads of data across your company if you can’t access or interrogate it to get the information you need to make those key business decisions?”
Having business critical information at your fingertips is essential to ensure your business keeps running smoothly. It also gives you the ability to act quickly and make better connections between different areas of your business.
Are you getting the insight you need from your business software?
There are a few key questions you need to ask yourself to identify whether or not you are getting what you need out of your system
- Can you interrogate data easily?
- Can you easily change views and create dashboards?
- Can you quickly and easily customize reports?
- Can you easily drill down into more detailed information with a few clicks (or do you need to re-run reports and start from scratch)?
- Can you automate the regular reports and dashboards you need?
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’ then you need to rethink the system you’re using.
Visibility is essential
Good business intelligence should be at the heart of every business as it can provide increased control – visibility is essential. Do you know who the best performers are? Can you easily identify areas for improvement? Is stock going missing and you can’t identify where it’s going? Is there an error in your accounts and you need to drill down to invoicing or billing quickly to make your P&L balance – can you do this in a few clicks or do you need to re-run a report that takes forever?
Turning data into actionable information
Analytical tools can give you the insight that you need to achieve real business agility as they can provide increased visibility of your financial prospects, help you better understand the implications of an investment, and can make and analyze connections between different areas of your business. Business Intelligence helps you to embrace strategic planning for business growth, by identifying key trends and patterns in your data and gain a better understanding of your business, transforming data into actionable information. You can be more responsive and can support future planning with the ability to identify opportunities to increase revenue or to reduce costs.
The most important reason to have good Business Intelligence is that it can improve efficiency within your business and, as a result, increase productivity. Simple, easy to use tools that can be used by anyone in your business can help you share information across different departments, enabling you to save time on reporting and analytics. This is particularly essential if you have regular reports you need to run (such as monthly executive reports where you need the same information each month). Sharing information reduces duplication of data and means all of your figures match up. It allows you to get on with the more important things like the running of your business.