Business intelligence is the practice of leveraging both technology and the data available in your business to facilitate business decisions. There are numerous technologies available today to facilitate data extraction and analysis. Also, thanks to the internet, cloud software and other technologies, data has never been more plentiful. Effective business intelligence allows stakeholders to make strategic decisions based on pertinent and timely information. Are you getting the most out of your business’s data? Here are 5 signs you need better business intelligence:
1) The information you’re tracking isn’t real-time, or close to it
This speaks to the timeliness of information. If the information you are using to make strategic decisions is stale, then you can’t be sure that you’re taking the appropriate action. Is the current situation the same as the data point(s) we have? Has anything changed? If things have changed, how would that impact our decision? These are all points of indecision that can be introduced when working with stale or outdated data points.
2) The information isn’t available remotely 24/7
I touched on this in a previous blog post, but it bears repeating. Everybody is always on the go in today’s day and age, and with the proliferation of remote work, everything needs to be available remotely. Wherever you go, your data must go too. Just because you’re not sitting at your desk should not mean you aren’t able to make effective strategic decisions about your business. The world is mobile, your data and ability to make decisions should be too.
3) Your data is siloed
Can you crosswalk the data across your business? Does your financial data talk to your customer (CRM) data? Does the financial data talk to the operational data? If you can’t measure how these sorts of things impact each other and ultimately drive outcomes, then your data may be siloed. An effective business intelligence strategy will seek to marry the various sources of data within your business to turn it into next-level insights.
4) The presentation of your data isn’t in graphical form
Having your data in graphical format allows for easier ingestion and faster decision-making. An effective KPI (Key Predictive Indicator) dashboard will allow you to ingest all of the important information at a glance. Once the information has been ingested, then you can make decisions to effect change in the business, and thereby move the metrics in a positive direction.
5) The metrics you track aren’t forward-looking
There are two types of KPIs: those that belong on a scorecard, and those that belong on a dashboard. A scorecard is a backward-looking tool, and a dashboard is a forward-looking tool. Think about it this way, when you play golf you fill out the scorecard after each hole, right? When you’re in your car, your dashboard is in front of you and gives you information to help you get to your destination, right? The tools in your business need to be designed the same way. The dashboard is a tool populated with KPIs to help you turn the business you have into the business you want.