Data is omnipresent — it’s everywhere we look and intertwined in everything we work with. The biggest obstacle that companies face is how to make sense of all this data! If you have mountains of data but aren’t able to decipher what it means, then what’s the point? Data can be an invaluable resource if you know how to harness it.
The best way to get the most out of your data is through business intelligence tools. Choosing the right business intelligence tool is just as important as collecting the data. But how do you find one that fits your business needs? Business intelligence tools help you make informed decisions, allowing you to optimise processes, put in place cost-saving measures and enhance productivity. These changes are all a result of data. Business intelligence tools help interpret and simplify data so you can make well-informed decisions.
Let’s take a look at a few important tips when selecting a business intelligence tool that’s right for you.
Your business intelligence tool needs to make things easier, not harder. That’s why it’s critical that it integrates smoothly with your existing reporting process. Make sure the tool can incorporate information from different sources, such as your backend systems and your inventory management database. You’ll want a comprehensive view of business performance impacts different areas of your business.
2. Clarify what you want to learn
What do you want to get out of your business intelligence tool? Setting parameters will help you to glean the right information. If you want to use your online inventory management data to predict holiday stock levels, then you need to specify some parameters. It won’t help to look at a 12-month trend. Rather, you might need to look at a five-year trend that focuses on the lead-up to the holiday period. It’s crucial to make a connection between your strategy and the criteria you set for your business intelligence tool. It can derive a lot of information from a lot of data, but we need to make sure it’s the right information that’s helpful for the direction of your business.
3. Make sure it’s user-friendly
Nothing is worse than a clunky and unintuitive system. If your interface is hard to use, the chances are that the decision-makers and employees won’t want to use it. It should be easy for virtually everyone. This means old and young, experienced staff and newcomers alike will be able to navigate their way through this system. If they want data from their online inventory management system, it should be easy to extract.
Business intelligence tools should be able to easily retrieve information based on different users’ requirements. For example, a decision-maker would want a high-level overview but an operations manager might benefit from a detailed report on the ins and outs of their team and performance. A good business intelligence tool should be able to display information to different degrees of detail.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.