The Importance of Business Intelligence for Small Organizations
The benefits are clear
by Anthony Leshinsky | Jan, 2018
Small & Medium Business
In the current digital-first and customer-centric world, investors and business managers are overwhelmed by data. As a result, they are seeking ways of gaining full control of information to improve their operations. Business intelligence (BI) is the best way to seek understanding and gain control of your organizations. In reality, only a relatively small number of businesses have adopted Business Intelligence strategies because they lack knowledge of how beneficial it is, where to start, how long it takes, and what exactly it is. The reason for this is simple: most businesses are experts in their business, and business intelligence is something else altogether.
What is Business Intelligence exactly?
Well, it is not as complicated as you might assume, but certainly more complex than copy/pasting some information into Excel. BI refers to the applications, tools, and staff that enable an organization to get and analyze information so as to optimize or improve business outcomes. Essentially – more revenue and less cost via smart, informed, decisions. Most people think that BI is only reserved for Fortune 500 companies with massive budgets. No! Small businesses can and should use technology to understand relevant business information and respond accordingly. It may sound intimidating but it’s achievable and important. Below are just some of the benefits of BI to small businesses.
We are currently living in a world of hyper-connectivity. This means that you should shift your businesses operations in such a way that they best connect with consumers, as it is something they now expect. It is also critical that internally every team member is on the same page about organizational goals, performance and customer needs. Business Intelligence serves the role of unearthing insights about your customers’ needs and keeping everyone on your team informed and up to date. It additionally reduces guess-work, puts of a clear focus on decisions that need to be made and contributes to a positive, constructive culture.
The goal of Business Intelligence is not running complex queries, it is about seamless access to key business information throughout an organization. Effective access to information helps empower workers, managers and produces better outcomes for the business and its clients.
Smarter Decision Making
It is important for a business owner to have a good understanding of the organizations’ data. Making decisions without proper analysis may lead to undesirable outcomes. Effective managers understand the benefits of data-driven decision making. With the aid of good information, a leader can chart the best path for their organization by minimizing risk, maximizing potential reward and seizing on new opportunities.
Do you want to make great decisions? BI will help you accomplish that. By enabling convenient access to critical information, you spend less time wrangling data, you do less guessing and every decision you make is more informed. Data-driven intelligence plays a great role in all aspects of your organizational outcomes, from financial performance to customer satisfaction.
A real business intelligence practice is THE great competitive advantage for both small and medium-sized organizations. An organization that is utilizing business intelligence well is able to manage its inventories, budget, and staff better than the less informed competition. It is more efficient with its resources, it is able to better plan and even innovate.
A data-driven mindset is one of the most valuable things an organization can develop. Not that every enterprise should be experts at data work, far from it. They need to be experts in their specific domain and understand how to effectively leverage and apply data within that domain expertise. If you operate a restaurant, you don’t need to learn how to write SQL code. You do need to learn how to meaningfully think about trends like seasonality, holidays and big local events that will impact your demand, inventory, staff, advertising, and pricing. BI gives you the tools to do just that.
Better customer experience
For your business to grow and thrive, you need to retain your customers. If you cannot retain customers, what do you expect in future? You have to maintain customer loyalty and anticipate their actions. That is how BI reporting and analytics works. Unlike traditional market strategies, BI practices are deeper than mere product recommendation and brand promotion. A mature business intelligence capability helps you to analyze consumer information, evaluate their habits, and summarize the findings. Utilizing BI in this manner to analyze the market, you will be in a good position to:
• Offer competitive prices and discounts
• Predict market demand shifts
• Keep up with industry trends, and catch them early
• Develop personalized relationships with customers
• Optimally manage your inventory and costs by anticipating demand
Stronger Compliance And Accuracy
Recent research conducted by Forbes indicates that some of the most complicated components of implementing BI are who should gain access to it, choosing what is important, and location for your data. If you do not address these concerns, your business may fail terribly due to inaccurate data and poor decision making.
Holding correct data in the proper location helps to improve consistency and accuracy of data. This will, in the long run, have positive impacts on your business. Know how to address the integrity of data to ensure that it does not get distorted at any point. You will also realize that good data governance is key to ensuring efficient operations.
Centralizing data plays a significant role in exposing inaccuracies and improving transparency. As a result, you will be able to avoid brand damage and wasted marketing spending. Being on top of your data in this manner also helps with regulatory compliance, thus avoiding unnecessary fines and reducing costs of ensuring and proving compliance.
Above are just some of the benefits that your small business can realize if you implement a BI system. You don’t have to wait for your organization to become global to use BI, nor should you be intimidated by the cost and complexity. With the right approach, you can start small and build your way up with your BI paying for itself each step of the way. Business Intelligence can be tricky, but when done right it is an invaluable investment in the future of your organization.