In the current environment of big data, many business owners are finding themselves overwhelmed by large volumes of information. They are constantly seeking ways to gain a better understanding and control of this information to derive the best value for their organisation.
Business intelligence (BI) is a combination of the tools, technologies, applications and best practices that help businesses collect, integrate, analyse and present raw data into easy to understand, insightful and actionable business information to improve and optimise decision-making and performance.
The value of business intelligence
With the ongoing growth of eCommerce that has saturated every market, BI is more important now than ever. Anything a consumer wants is merely a click away and for business owners, this means making smart decisions and knowing where to put their marketing spend. Business intelligence helps to guide those decisions.
Some of the benefits of business intelligence are that it improves performance, sales, marketing and long-term customer relationships which are built through better customer experiences. In practical terms, BI delivers value for your organisation in the following ways:
The key purpose of any BI implementation is to convert company data into well-structured, analysable insights or real business intelligence that informs strategic decision-making. At the heart of intelligent decision-making is having a single, centralised depository that pulls together data from all your business activities and customer interactions.
Great BI is having access to all your business data in a single unified place with a dashboard that includes data from different areas such as sales, finance and inventory control to provide a holistic view of the business, its customers and their interactions with the business. This means that business decisions are based on facts rather than assumptions or conjecture.
Sales and marketing
BI technology delivers in-depth data to boost sales and support the performance of marketing activities. It provides sales staff with tools to measure sales activity and identify consumer trends and behaviour through improved visibility of sales information. Specialised features also track, and measure marketing campaigns and promotions and this information can then be used to ensure future marketing initiatives are effective and profitable.
Another key benefit of BI tools is that they deliver important information to help companies understand how customers are interacting with their business. Having access to all customer information in a single location, from anywhere, at any time, helps to improve data accuracy and customer relationship management. Enabling the business to substantially improve customer engagement, support and experience.
Customer insights improve segmentation and targeting of your various customer groups, helping to identify where resources should be appropriately applied and if the business is attracting the right customers to meet and sustain business growth targets.
BI tools have the potential to improve inventory control, reduce inefficient bottlenecks and refine operational processes through the automation of routine tasks. Centralised data that is accessible from anywhere, on any device cuts down on administration time and significantly boosts productivity and data integrity.
Considerable gains can be made in productivity through more efficient use of sales staff’s time, more responsive customer service and faster measurement of product development cycles and marketing campaigns.
Data accuracy and compliance
Keeping data in siloes makes it nearly impossible to achieve a holistic 360-degree view of your business, your customers, your processes and operations. The centralised nature of BI data helps to improve transparency and to expose errors that lead to downtime and wasted resources.
With global data protection regulations governing the way businesses capture, store and use personal data, it is critical that your data is up to date and accurate. By implementing BI tools businesses can address data integrity and improve data governance.
BI is crucial to retail and eCommerce enterprises because of the speed in which customers demand order fulfilment. Retailers need to have optimal inventory control to know where inventory stock is located and how quickly it is moving.
BI tools include forecasting functionality to improve inventory control to avoid bottlenecks, stockouts and over-stocking. Easy to read dashboards can be reviewed daily or weekly to keep managers informed in real-time of what is happening in the organisation.
Good business intelligence should be a critical strategic goal of any organisation. The valuable information that BI tools provide, enables managers and business owners to optimise planning and to react quickly and efficiently across all decision-making processes.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.