In recent years, more companies are increasingly investing in business intelligence software to assist them in centralizing key business data and metrics to evaluate their operations, sales history, and to forecast future performance.
The goal being to identify areas for cost-savings, more efficient processes and to discover new avenues for business opportunities. Companies desire to take advantage of their resources and transform their raw data into meaningful decision-making possibilities to assist them in remaining viable, identifying trends and having a competitive edge in the market.
What is Business Intelligence?
BI is a set of methodologies, theories and processes that convert raw data into information that is useful and meaningful for business evaluation purposes. It deals with large amounts of data to assist in identifying and developing new opportunities through analyzing historical, current and forecasted views of business operations and market trends. Common functions of the technology are information reporting, data mining, predictive analytics, benchmarking and business performance management, among other functions.
Benefits of a System
With so many advantages and positive payoffs, it is no wonder that BI has become nearly essential to an organizations business plan. Some of the many benefits that intelligence gathering adds to a business are:
- Reduces guesswork by providing accurate real-time and historical data, synergies between department data, forecasting, scenario development and trending.
- More efficient and faster answers to business queries for decision-making.
- Intuitive and easy access to data with some software making it possible to access data remotely and from mobile devices anywhere.
- Provides insight into customer preferences and buying behavior to assist organizations in optimizing sales strategies and appropriate customer retention tactics.
- Identifies areas of business operations that can be streamlined and helps manage costs as well as production adjustments for greater profitability.
- Enhances efficiency of data gathering by centralizing information and reduces wasted time from compiling large volumes of data or analysis.
Integration of a System
Successfully integrating the usage of a system into an organization can be essential to reaping the benefits of data analysis. Intelligence applications and systems are only meaningful to an organization if employees use it, therefore any platform implemented must be user-friendly to provide for swift user adoption.
- Consult with end-users to create a platform that addresses what users will need from the system, and will be easy to use.
- Provide user training to encourage more people to use the system.
- Provide user support to resolve problems and maintain the system.
- Make it a part of the organizational culture by involving senior management
The Importance of Portal Design
The portal for intelligence systems is an important part to facilitating the use of intelligence software. It is the first encounter and impression that a user faces when accessing the system. Typically it is a browser interface from which a user accesses data, reports and other analytical functions and navigates the system. The portal should be easy to use and understand. Some of the desirable features of an intelligence portal include the following:
- Up-to-date – Data should be current and updated regularly.
- Content Rich – The portal should contain not only data, but help and support documentation, advice, and troubleshooting information for the user.
- Interactive – The portal should be easy to use, functional and customized to a particular organization and their data needs.
More organizations are discovering the value of gathering their business operations data. With this realization, intelligence software is being designed to have a plethora of features, which include mobile accessibility and intuitive elements to allow companies to fully optimize the use of their data that was once too difficult to compile and analyze without software.
Ultimately however, any intelligence system being considered for implementation must be accepted and utilized by end-users to add value to an organization. Ensuring ease of use of a system for users will be key to making the most of what business intelligence has to offer.