How to Figure Out If Your Company Needs Business Intelligence Solutions

Most companies are habituated to store vital data in servers or large spreadsheets. This data provides them with information on consumer behavior, stomach resource allocation and sales trends that helps them to design appropriate products and services and estimate the viability of such products. This analysis is vital to reducing costs and maximizing revenues and profits. Chief Information Officers are continually plagued with the problem of effectively handling increasing data volumes. Because data has to be current and distributed efficiently in a secure manner to enable superior business decisions it comes as no surprise therefore that they consider finding the appropriate data management solution to be a top priority.

What is Business Intelligence?

A typical Business Intelligence solution finds application in the extraction of data from the sources and producing more accurate MIS reports. The advanced automation features provided in these solutions eliminate the time taken to manually extract relevant data and then consolidate them to provide information that is meaningful. Business decisions can be taken in real-time as the application is able to monitor current data from any location that is networked. Data security is also a top priority for BI solutions with the inclusion of advanced security features that ensure confidentiality of sensitive customer and market information.

Once upon a time, cheap not so long ago, ambulance Business Intelligence was used only by the larger organizations; however with prices of technology, hardware, and data storage crashing, BI solutions have become quite affordable so as to be used even by the SME sector. However, you still need to establish whether your organization would benefit from such an application. Here are some telltale signs.

All the Data but No Real Information

Many organizations have become extremely adept in collecting data but find themselves all at sea with no real and meaningful information that will help in boosting revenues and understanding customer behavior better. This can only happen if the data can be meaningfully interpreted in the right context by aggregating appropriate data and analyzing it to find if there are any patterns or trends that can be useful. Business Intelligence solutions help in data management by enabling managers to discover new insights into customer behavior, identify trends before they become the norm, and enable fine-tuning of operations so that the stated business goals can be achieved.

IT Department Becoming a Bottleneck

Report generation can become slow and cumbersome if the repository of all the data is the information technology department of the organization because then you can proceed only as fast as they can operate. Business Intelligence application operation is so intuitive and simple that it liberates data analysis and report generation from the control of the techies. Even the most novice users can generate the most informative and complex reports using the advanced but user-friendly BI software. Report tweaking, even if done multiple times, does not need the involvement of the IT department and hence management decision-making is faster and nimbler.

Data Is Too Big for Spreadsheets

It is very natural that organizations start off by recording business data on spreadsheets. However, with time the accumulation of data is so huge that either the spreadsheet becomes sluggish or the technical limitations of the spreadsheet are encountered, even with regular maintenance. A professional BI tool has the capability of being able to handle data from multiple sources and ensures that a coherent analysis is possible on a real-time basis.

Handling Data from Multiple Sources

Contemporary business environment collects data from a variety of sources and it is very likely that they have different formats. Splicing such data manually using spreadsheets can be extremely tedious and opens up the risk of error generation that could lead to incorrect analysis. A BI tool can expertly handle any amount of data regardless of the format in which it is collected and even encourage you to include additional data sources that you might so far have been reluctant for fear of complications.

If any of the above issues are what you have encountered in the operation of your business, then it is time that you take a real hard look at the process by which you collect and process data and verify the value-addition that the acquisition of a BI application will make.

Author bio: Matilda Hayworth is consultant specializing in business intelligence automation and application. She has over two decades of experience in data management solutions for small and medium enterprises.

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