Companies that manage their internal processes without the help of business intelligence may end up significantly behind their peers that do commit to this technology. The advantages are clear today, with plenty of successful examples of BI use already out there. The act of collecting and using data is essential if firms want to know the facts about their operations rather than making guesses. No matter how on-point intuition may be on occasion, it pales in comparison to analytics processes that actually deal with the content that has built up in organizations' systems. This is where companies are today, realizing the uses of BI and transitioning one department after another to the solution.
The budget process
Business 2 Community contributor Alan Hart recently explained that organizations should be constructing their budgets using BI. Instead, many still set their spending on an annual basis. Such an inflexible method has the distinct weakness of being based on one snapshot in time. If conditions change, the set numbers may be drastically wrong by the end of the budget period. Hart recoiled from the inflexibility of using spreadsheets to set a company budget, stating any method that limits itself to such functionality will be unable to really tell leaders how the business is doing in monetary terms.
The value of having a BI dashboard updating constantly rather than a spreadsheet that is used once a month (or year) comes from the direct insight the former method provides. The trend lines are there to see in real time as they develop, and leaders can implement processes that minimize their problematic efforts while pumping life into those that are showing promise. They can change the organization's fate based on information that is verifiable and current, rather than a projection that applied months ago. Hart conceded that firms without BI may be able to plan their income and expenditures, but beyond that, the answers could remain hazy.
A dashboard for everyone
Today's BI systems could be better suited to budget work than any available in the past. Solutions such as Necto 14 allow firms to create custom dashboards for each position within their hierarchy, including employees tasked with financial processes. This means leaders have access to top-down data about the company as a whole, finance pros have the budget numbers and customer service reps know about the consumer base. There is no need to go to the IT department to get answers, as the individuals who need the results already have them available at their fingertips.