Business intelligence (BI) and analytics has gone mainstream in 2017, according to Gartner research. The global BI market is on track to reach an estimated value of $18.3 billion this year, an increase of 7.3 percent from 2016, on its way to expanding to $22.8 billion by 2020. No longer merely reflecting the performance of business operations, BI increasingly drives decision-making, enabling companies to make better informed decisions based on objective data. BI now also incorporates and integrates data gathered from throughout organizations, enabling not just organizational leaders and data specialists but also other workers to make use of analytics’ benefits.
One thing this means is that in order to get the most value out of BI, business leaders and managers need to set up procedures for incorporating data into team collaboration. Here are three steps your company can take to integrate BI into your collaborative workflow in order to optimize real-time decision-making throughout your company.
Establish Your Key Performance Indicators
A key to using business intelligence effectively is knowing which key performance indicators (KPIs) to focus on, says Unilytics. Analytics can generate an overwhelming amount of data, but all this data isn’t useful until you can harness it to some specific business goals.
To establish actionable KPIs, Unilytics recommends starting by defining your purpose in terms of your business goals. For instance, your goal may be to cut costs, increase sales or boost customer satisfaction. You should translate each goal into some action that one department in your company needs to take in order to achieve your goals. Your sales department, for example, might set a goal of increasing sales conversion rates by 10 percent by the end of the third quarter as the holiday shopping season picks up. You can then define KPIs that support the actions you need to take and develop metrics to collect based on these. If your goal is increasing sales conversion rates, you might track the number of leads per quarter as compared to your last quarter, number of conversions, conversions per lead and other relevant numbers.
To maximize the value of your BI data for collaboration, apply this strategy to the departments and processes of your business that involve collaboration to identify the KPIs for each area that will have the biggest impact on your business. Areas to consider include accounting, production, marketing, sales and customer service.
Develop Customized Reports Your Team Can Access
To make the results of your data collection and analysis useful for team members involved in collaboration, you need to be able to summarize your data in accessible reports. Team members should be able to see the data they need for decision-making at a glance in a format that is easy to call up on their screen.
The best way to achieve this is to use an analytics suite that allows your team members to see customized real-time reports highlighting relevant data. For instance, 8×8 Virtual Office Analytics enables teams to see customized summaries of real-time data collected from all the devices and extensions in an organization’s Virtual Office phone system.
Integrate Your Data Into Your Workflow
Raw reports that don’t translate into action don’t add practical value to your business. In order to make your reports actionable, you need to integrate them into your standard operating procedures so that they become a step in your workflow.
Let’s say your sales team uses Salesforce to keep track of your sales data, and your sales manager has determined that in order to meet your revenue targets with your current conversion rates, each of your sales reps needs to make at least 30 cold calls a day. You can then have your IT team embed a display onto your sales team’s screen that shows managers and reps how many cold calls each team member has made that day and that week and how many more they need to make to meet the team’s target.
This approach builds checking progress into your reps’ workflow, making it easy for them to make adjustments to achieve their goals. Embedding KPIs into your team’s workflow in this way makes your data a practical part of your operational procedures, improving your collaboration and optimizing your efficiency.