If you want your business to be as competitive as possible and ensure that your competitors’ feet are always to the fire, data analytics is going to be one of your most effective weapons. Business intelligence involves utilising data analytics techniques in order to better understand your business and develop informed strategies for the future. With the right business intelligence strategy in place, you can massively enhance the efficiency with which your business operates.
Why Business Intelligence Matters
Business intelligence has always existed in one form or another, but it is one of the many business techniques that has been sent into overdrive by our modern data gathering and analysis capabilities. In today’s business climate, business intelligence is regarded as an essential tool for spurring rapid yet sustainable growth. This is achieved by the use of focussed and targeted analysis of business data to inform decision-making.
Keep Up With Your Competitors
Businesses that don’t have an active business intelligence strategy are at a serious disadvantage to their competitors for a variety of different reasons. First and foremost, if you aren’t utilising business intelligence techniques to bolster your decision-making and direct the growth of your business, you can be certain that your competitors will be. In these circumstances, they will have no trouble leapfrogging ahead of you and undergoing exponential growth while your business languishes in their dust.
Optimise Your Spending Efficiency
Data is a fantastic tool for developing more informed and coherent strategies for growing your business, but it can also be used to establish more effective spending habits. Some opportunities for cutting your costs are obvious – you don’t need any advanced techniques to identify the cheapest energy supplier for your business, for example. However, there are some cost-cutting opportunities that are less obvious and difficult to identify without taking a deeper dive into your business’s data.
Improve Customer Satisfaction
Establishing new procedures for growing your business and enhancing its efficiency is obviously beneficial to your business, but it can also ultimately be beneficial to your customers as well. A core component of any comprehensive business intelligence strategy will involve using data to measure the successes and failures of your current approach. This includes monitoring any data that is relevant to measuring your rates of customer satisfaction.
Demonstrate Proof Of Concept
For many experienced entrepreneurs, the benefits of a business intelligence strategy are self-evident. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone else is going to be on board with your proposal. If you want to proceed with the support that you need to institute a truly holistic business intelligence strategy, you will need to be able to convince the necessary leaders in your business that it is a worthwhile undertaking. Conversely, if you are the leader in your business, you will need the support of everyone working beneath you if your strategy is to take root and lead to the long-term improvements that you are hoping for.
The best way of demonstrating your proof of concept is to consult with all the key players you will need to make your strategy work. In particular, it helps to have a roadmap that lays out exactly how you will gather and process the data that you need to make your strategy work. This will inevitably involve working closely with your IT department, but your business intelligence strategy needs to go beyond one department. Everyone has a role to play in generating the data needed to fuel your business intelligence.
Bring On Qualified Staff
If this is your first time putting together and implementing a business intelligence strategy within a business, there is no shame in looking for someone more experienced, potentially with formal qualifications. In fact, if you are in a position to do so, you might want to study for a relevant degree – such as an MSc in business analytics. A business analytics degree is a valuable degree to hold in today’s world and this article from Aston University goes into more detail about what you can potentially do with an MSc in Business Analytics.
If studying for a qualification yourself isn’t a viable option, it is worth looking at hiring someone, either on a permanent or temporary basis, who has the necessary background to help you formulate and implement a strategy. Business intelligence is all about using data to make more informed decisions and gain deeper insights into the merits and drawbacks of your current approaches. But it doesn’t matter what data you have access to if you don’t know how to deploy it properly. No matter how good your understanding of the underlying theory of business intelligence, you can’t beat experience. There are some things that you can’t learn from the pages of a book, regardless of how well-written it is.
Establish Your Key Performance Indicators
Your key performance indicators are the metrics that will use to measure the success of your business intelligence strategy. They can also be used to enable you to build an accurate picture of the current health of your business, ensuring that you begin planning your future strategy the right way. The more detailed the picture you have of your business’s current state, the easier it is to identify potential areas for improvement.
Throughout the process of building and implementing your new strategy, you should always have one eye on your KPIs. It is good to get into the habit of regularly checking these metrics, but you ideally need to make this process automatic. Depending on what your KPIs are and how they are measured, you might be able to set up a system that can automatically alert you if your KPIs reach a critical level, enabling you to react instantly to fix the issue.
Once you have developed your strategy, don’t be afraid to test it and refine it. In fact, many entrepreneurs would argue that any business strategy should be rolled out gradually and should be conducted as a trial before becoming standard operating procedure.
Developing and implementing a new business intelligence strategy is certainly a lot of work and the process can seem daunting. However, the potential benefits make it a more than worthwhile endeavour. Remember, if you aren’t using business intelligence techniques yourself, then you are giving your competitors an open goal and an easy way of overtaking you in the market.