Before digging into the role of business intelligence within an enterprise, it’s important to understand the general meaning of this term. At its most basic level, BI is about finding hidden insights within corporate data, and then using various tools to leverage that information into action.
There are lots of different kinds of BI tools; so it’s important to know not all of them are on equal footing. As time and technology have progressed over the past few years, these technologies have become even more diverse—meaning stakeholders have to do their due diligence when selecting them.
When thinking about the usability of BI, it’s essential to look at architecture and front-end user capability. The architecture of BI is going to determine what data scientists and company experts are able to do in configuring their data inputs. A flexible architecture will allow for far more development of apps, as well as more robust overall capabilities. This is an overarching process that ties together all elements of business intelligence.
On the front-end side, applications and BI tools have to be intuitive for the people using them. Furthermore, they need to have use cases that actually make sense for the business as it is right now. By focusing too much on maybes, and not enough on hard reality, organizations can end up wasting money on tools that might be good, but not for that specific enterprise.
Now that you have an understanding of what BI is, it’s time to dive deeper into the role of business intelligence at your organization.
Making the Most Out of Data Assets
Data is everywhere. That’s certainly not an issue. The challenge is figuring out how to gather, sort, store, and use this data in the most effective way. Business intelligence is where all these data concepts come together and allow organizations to make better decisions.
Enterprises aiming to optimize their business intelligence suite should prioritize a few things. First, understand the role you want BI to play within the company. Not every business is going to have the same needs. So naturally, not all businesses are going to require the same tools or assets. If your enterprise keeps acquiring new BI integrations that don’t really improve the sum of the parts or the whole, you’re not getting adequate return on investment. While many BI tools sound intriguing, businesses need to grasp whether they offer true use cases for their needs.
Beyond this, however, we get into a much more nuanced idea of how enterprises need to think of the opportunity costs of not harnessing their data. Research firm McKinsey has noted that disruptive technologies are shortening the average tenure of S&P 500 companies—from 85 years in 2000 to 33 years in 2018. This trend is only set to continue as technology keeps outing the old guard.
Why is BI important here? Because organizations that do the best job leveraging their data assets are going to be able to compete better in the global marketplace than those that fail in this regard. The truth lies in data. Without this, enterprises are swinging blinding with their ideas—inherently leading to unneeded waste.
Building a New Kind of Corporate Culture
There are elements to adopting new business intelligence tools that will be noticeable right away, such as the ability to make decisions in less time. But other things are more of a slow burn. One example of this is building a data-driven culture.
Companies that instinctively look to data aren’t just going to have an advantage with each individual decision, the cumulative effects of that grow over time. The goal is to eventually have a corporate culture based around the idea of advancing hand-in-hand with data at every level. Reaching this point take time, but means your business decisions are more focused as a result.
No two businesses have the exact same needs. But across the board, the role of business intelligence is to get more from data, and afford people the capability to make more informed choices. When these things are done well, it can take operations to new heights.