Business Intelligence–Why Not?

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Business intelligence provides insights that impact your bottom line.  With high-value information that is timely, accurate, and actionable, decision makers can steer the company to higher profits.  So why doesn’t every company use some sort of business intelligence?

One reason is the perceived cost and complexity of BI.  In the past, business intelligence may have been beyond the means of many small and mid-sized organizations, but with ever improving technology and increased competition, there is a now BI solution to fit most any company’s budget.

Some companies rely on spreadsheet software to provide business insight.  However, a spreadsheet is not a business intelligence application, but merely a tool to build one.  Someone in the organization then has to be a spreadsheet expert, a mathematician, a statistician, an SQL guru, a GUI master, and more to provide an application that turns data into information accessible to end users in a user friendly form.

But the vast majority of organizations that don’t have any business intelligence strategy simply do not know exactly what BI is or how it can help them.  BI allows the user to manipulate data to reveal trends, similarities, and outliers through pre-designed reports or through ad hoc analysis.  BI can provide insights for every area in the organization, from finance to marketing to operations. 

Let’s look at an example:  A company with lots of products will want to carefully track the success of each product in terms of unit sales and revenue.  In addition, a product or category manager may want to look at sales trends and characteristics of successful and unsuccessful products.  One analysis might include looking at the sales level by the number of weeks since introduction of the product.  Looking at the trend of sales in week 1 since the introduction, week 2, week 3, etc. for a new product and comparing it to the trend line for existing high performing products may help predict how the new product will perform.  Maybe more important, comparing the new product against the poor performing products could reveal a problem before the sales numbers do—hopefully, in time to make a correction.  We’ll take a closer look at this example in a future post. 

All kinds of analyses can be done at the speed of thought using BIO business intelligence

By Sandi Richards Forman with BIO Analytics Corporation, a leading Business Intelligence Microsoft Dynamics ISV Partner

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