How to Foster Efficiency in Enterprise Operations with Business Intelligence

By CIOReview | Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A successful business is all about a chain of well-organized operations working in a synchronized manner. Maintaining stability in every aspect of the process is crucial as it directly affects the overall productivity of an organization. The current era of advanced technology consists of several Business Intelligence strategies which serve as a backbone for enterprises across the globe. By implementing these strategies and a variety of software applications, they are now able to analyze raw data; thereby improving decision making, reducing costs and identifying new business opportunities efficiently. It also helps to highlight inefficient business processes that require re-consideration.

Key activities of BI involve online analytical processing, data mining, querying and reporting.

Incorporating a BI solution

While adopting a BI solution, your enterprise should first analyze the decision making process and assess the information needed to make it fast. You should also be able to decide the presentation format which may be a chart, report or a hard copy.

Crucial steps for consideration:

• Ensure whether the data is clean.
• Train the users effectively.
• Adopt an integrated approach towards building the data warehouse from the initial stages.
• Deploy quickly and adjust as you progress further.
• Rapidly deliver reports that offer the maximum value quickly.
• Define ROI (Return On Investment) clearly before deployment.
• Focus on specific business objectives.

Potential issues

• User resistance is considered as one of the hurdles that hinders the success of BI. Other factors include difficulty in handling irrelevant data and poor data quality.
• Data is the most important component of any BI implementation. For enterprises, getting the data stores and warehouses in good working condition is vital before acting on the insights. Ignoring this step will lead to operations based on incorrect information.
• Enterprises are often confused between business intelligence and business analytics, which itself is a potential drawback. Companies fail to understand their business processes well enough to determine the course of action needed to improve them. They need to keep an eye on the processes they choose. The entire BI implementation could turn into a massive failure if the processes are not standardized across the company or do not have a direct impact on the revenue. Organizations need to understand how information and data flows across various processes, how the data is passed between users, and how employees use it to execute their part of the process.

Ideal Scenarios for selecting a BI solution

Software technology providers play a vital role in converting raw data into an opportunity. A business intelligence platform generally consists of a data warehouse or data mart which effectively stores, correlates and aggregates the information. The platform also includes middleware tools which extracts, transforms and loads the data across diverse sources. BI’s data visualization technologies such as dashboards, scorecards and OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) facilitates query, reporting and interactive analysis.

Delivering information in the right time is always a crucial step which marks the overall success of a BI platform. The following scenarios illustrate the right time to select a BI solution:

• Consider Software as a Service (SaaS) BI when your company is experiencing a tight budget with minimum IT resources and unrealistic capital expenditures. SaaS analytic solutions produce unparalleled performance where companies have clear and specific business goals, well managed data sources and with the need to specialize in specific domain areas.
• Adopt an on-premise, traditional BI software when you have large capacity of IT computing and staffing. It should also be implemented if there is a preference for on-site computing or if you are looking for an enterprise-wide solution aiming to integrate with many information systems.
• Implement open source BI software when your BI requires frequent updating and customization. The software grants you control for modifying the tools. It can also attract ISVs (independent software vendors) looking forward to embed a BI solution into their line of software products.

Key advantages of BI implementation:

The ability to evaluate the status of your business accurately: BI successfully elaborates on what happened to the business over a defined period of time.

Receiving business metric reports instantly: Nowadays, most of the BI software vendors are offering their users an opportunity to access business metrics, dashboards and reports on devices such as iPhone, iPad or BlackBerry. It gives sales and marketing executives a seamless access to critical business information on the move.

Identifying the cross-selling and up-selling opportunities: BI software allows firms to leverage crucial customer data to build, refine and modify predictive models. It also assists sales representatives to up-sell and cross-sell the products based on appropriate customer interactions.

Assessing customer behavior: One of the great benefits of BI is that it allows enterprises to gain enhanced visibility into the customers buying patterns, providing them the ability to transform this knowledge into profits.

Learning the process of streamlining operations: Enterprises can easily analyze the areas where they need to make changes; aiming to streamline operations with a detailed insight into business performances.

Efficiency in managing inventories: The BI software can guide you through the process of ordering specific amount of inventories at the right time, allowing customers to receive their products when they need them. This helps to save the cost of stocking excess inventories.

Information serves as an integral part of any intelligent organizations. However, the traditional use of reviewing generic, static and historical reports which only retrieves data from a single source is insufficient in the modern competitive market. The reports are primarily designed for viewing and offering a little contribution in the practical advancement of business objectives. Adopting innovative software tools and strategies help decision makers advance from the state of viewing to the position of predicting future scenarios. An efficient BI solution stands apart in terms of targeted market, scope, value proposition and delivery model. To excel in business operations, it is always a smart move to find and incorporate a perfect BI software that delivers the analytics matching specific business objectives.