Cases clarify business intelligence use

Business intelligence software and the tactics involved in its use have become indelible parts of the enterprise landscape over the past few years. While it was once considered inefficient and sub-optimal to back decision rationale with algorithms rather than instinct, that method has now become standard. As BI software increases in power and new industries warm to analytics, this change will likely become even more complete. Failing to join in with these changes could put a company in a position of weakness: When all its competitors are employing a variety of valuable data inputs, a firm looking to its CEO to make choices off the cuff may end up taking the wrong path.

Vivid examples
Business 2 Community contributor Ian Tomlin recently set out some of the direct effects business intelligence can have on a company, noting that potential users will likely find more value in these descriptions than vague promises to transform everything at once. He gave the example of geospatial data analysis, wherein companies are now using the location stamps from transactions to illuminate patterns that may have been invisible before. He stated that this is part of a larger trend, one in which BI processes make firms realize that they have been missing out on opportunities to improve their operations and help guide them to solutions.

But customers aren't the only ones who businesses can learn about through analytics – leaders can also look inward. Tomlin suggested that companies can use BI software to stay on-point and follow their objectives more closely. It can be easy to lose the thread of vital enterprise practices without any oversight. Business intelligence projects can provide that extra piece of self-knowledge. Tomlin noted that BI processes devoted to internal performance monitoring can make employees cognizant of overarching corporate goals even as they accomplish their individual tasks. This, in turn, can cut down on waste.

Advanced BI options
Business intelligence is not limited to the basic reports that have been a part of the industry since the beginning. Now, leaders have access to mobile BI and self service tools that make sure individual employees have immediate access to data relevant to them. These capabilities can help companies move toward their goals more efficiently, as they remove the barriers between the IT department and other employees. Instead of waiting for requested insights, workers can determine the direction of projects on their own. This streamlining of processes may have significant positive effects on overall performance and effectiveness.

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