Thursday, 04 May 2017 06:55

Business Intelligence Is About More Than Just Reporting

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Solving business problems using insight is nothing new. Data shapes the way we see the world and using it to make effective and efficient business decisions is only logical.

However, many people are still under the misguided perception that business intelligence is just a fancy way of talking about analytics reporting.

Business intelligence and business analytics professionals have been arguing their case now for a long time. While some people still associate them only with numbers and spreadsheets – at the end of the day, they need to be able to turn information into something actionable.

That said, we’ve got nothing against the powerful spreadsheet.

It’s about creating good processes

No matter how pretty your dashboard of data looks, it’s meaningless if it’s not actionable. One of the most important facets of business intelligence is creating meaningful, actionable insights for businesses to use.

Some common uses for business intelligence include accelerating and improving business decision making, increasing efficiency and optimizing internal processes. By including business intelligence as part of a company’s internal processes, decisions are better informed. More than just reporting on how productive teams are or where cash flow is coming from, it’s about understanding how a business is run and providing actionable insights on how to run it better.

It’s about driving new opportunities

Business intelligence data comes in all forms. It can be real-time or historical. Ultimately, it’s there to answer any questions your team may have to drive a business forwards. This could include identifying new revenue streams, identifying market trends as they happen, or using past insights to decide the best way to move forward.

Talented business information professionals recognize the vast amounts of data they possess as having untold potential. By understanding business goals, they’re able to make clever, informed and innovative decisions for the future.

It’s about solving problems

One way to look at business intelligence is the nervous system of an organization. It senses everything and reports back. By delving deep into the insights provided by business intelligence data, it’s possible to spot business problems that need to be addressed quickly. Plus, business intelligence can even provide the intelligent insights necessarily to create an action plan for addressing any problems – current or future.

In today’s world, we always should always plan ahead. Business intelligence gives us the insights we need to both predict the future, and plan for it. Whether that’s managing the impacts of tomorrow’s weather, overseas markets, climate change or seasonal trends.

It’s about better communication

One of the most important components of business intelligence is being able to communicate findings in a way that’s effective and actionable. Business intelligence programs have been designed to clearly communicate data in a way that’s meaningful to people – not just a spreadsheet of numbers.

Yes, reporting is an important part of business intelligence. But it’s not all cut and dried. Business intelligence helps provide actionable and agile solutions to business problems. That requires collecting and interpreting a lot of information – more than most people know what to do with. That’s why finding clever, innovative and accessible ways of communicating the right information at the right time is so integral to business intelligence.

It’s about good ethics

Paying attention to ethics is good business especially in the era of the social enterprise and conscientious consumer. Not only can business intelligence provide insights for unexplored ethical avenues, but it also helps businesses find proactive ways to improve their conduct as an organization. This could be anything from improving supply chain and logistics management to finding new and improved processes for managing human resources.

Plus, in today’s rapidly growing and changing world, business intelligence is at the forefront of modern ethics exploration. Some current ethical concerns facing business intelligence specialists include data security, integrity, and privacy. Business intelligence analytics even has the potential to detect negligence and fraud. It’s an exciting new frontier for modern ethics exploration and something to keep your eye on.

It’s about people

When push comes to shove, people are what matter. Business intelligence can give you insights into how to better manage your team and provide a better, more stable working environment. From reducing employee churn to making employees’ lives easier and more productive, data should ultimately be used to benefit the people. People are the most valuable resources most businesses have and knowing how to treat them better is crucial.

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Silvia Bressan

To learn more about how business intelligence can impact your business – or how you can use it to inform your next project – visit Southern Cross University Online. The online Master of Project Management will give you the tools you need to use business intelligence for a lot more than just reports.

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