Business Intelligence is the practice of collecting and analyzing mountains of data to determine current business success, opportunities within the current market, and forecast potential opportunities and options that will benefit the business over the long term.
Collecting data for business intelligence purposes can be time consuming and expensive; however, there are important rules for getting business intelligence that allow you to reduce costs and obtain the most relevant data.
First, determine why your company is considering using business intelligence and how it will benefit your company. Create a team of “data users” that will be interfacing with the information gathered regularly and are capable of creating change. The team will be responsible for determining how the information gathered will align with the overall business plan and the processes that the company has implemented. They will also be tasked with considering what specific information is needed, how the information will be used, who will use the information, and to create action items based on the data that will benefit your company.
Once the team is developed and they have considered how the use of business intelligence will create beneficial change in your company and what data to consider, you need to determine the best avenue for data collection and maintenance. We have introduced mTAB, which allows companies to download data pertinent to their needs and creates visual representations and reports to support the data. With this tool selected, data is quickly interpreted to assist in business development and increase success.
Next, determine how frequently business intelligence will be used. Will data be analyzed and applied on a regular basis or only when your company is considering change? The best practice is to analyze data regularly to make the most informed decisions and determine areas that are showing weakness before they can create a serious negative impact to your company. Consider reviewing business intelligence on a monthly and quarterly cycle.
Finally, determine how change will be measured. The team will need to develop a rubric or standard to assess if progress is being made on the action items they developed. For example, if you want to see an increase in sales, you will need to determine a realistic percentage increase for each benchmark period that the data is being used to determine progress. If the percentage is being met, you are demonstrating progress and the data can be used to create new goals. If not, you can revisit the data to determine what changes can be made to help the company succeed.
Following these important rules for getting business intelligence will ensure that the investment creates benefit.