By now, the importance of data analysis is old news. Providing integrated insight across all business functions can have a massive impact on your bottom line. But with the abundance of data available, how do you collect, sort, and analyze it to make real business decisions?
Effective Business Intelligence (BI) tools not only collect relevant data from internal and external sources, but also present them in a way that stakeholders can understand. This actionable insight is what allows BI to push your organization forward.
Set Benchmarks And Clear Goals
A successful Business Intelligence strategy uses historical, current, and predictive data to inform process improvements and achieve business goals. In order to track true change, it’s important to take benchmark data from your current state. Understanding your starting point should then inform the goals you’re looking to achieve through enhanced data analysis.
Most organizations break down their goals and Business Intelligence efforts into two categories – customer focused and process oriented.
Business Intelligence that is consumer-focused involves everything from purchase habits to marketing and sales efficiency. Imagine the impact that understanding your customer’s spending history and lifetime value would have on your bottom line.
Work with your internal marketing team to identify key indicators of success for each marketing campaign. Then, use analysis of market share, brand awareness, and sales to improve effectiveness. Organizations with several categories of products or inconsistent sales seasons can also benefit from category performance analysis and sales seasonality reports.
Ultimately, understanding conversion rates, cart abandonment, and online engagement will help your marketing and sales teams optimize their performance and drive business growth.
While Business Intelligence can have a tremendous impact on the revenue-generating functions of your business, it can also impact your bottom line through increased efficiency and process improvements.
For example, what is the benefit of setting targets if you’re unable to effectively monitor the progress towards them? Business Intelligence allows you to analyze department and employee performance and measure the KPI status versus targets.
In specific industrial organizations, BI can offer production forecasts, cost efficiency insights, and manage quality assurance more effectively. For HR teams, the ability to analyze payroll and compensation means you’re able to maximize your resources.
Determine Data Sources
Once you’ve identified the types of data that will most benefit your organization, work with stakeholders across your company to determine how best to collect data. Successful BI solutions analyze data from multiple sources to get a full picture of the company.
The good news is that you may already have several data sources integrated into your business. Website logs (for example, those at Softsys Hosting), Google Analytics, CRM systems, and even social media accounts can inform your Business Intelligence strategy. In addition, warehouse management systems, ecommerce reports, and call center records would be useful to implement. You can even integrate customer survey information and market research into your data sources.
Your journey to a comprehensive Business Intelligence system is not a one-time initiative. A phased approach will allow you to take actionable steps and iterate as you go. Choose a few KPIs, develop a few sample dashboards, and determine what works best for your organization. Gather feedback from key stakeholders throughout the process to continually refine and improve.