We live in an age that is witnessing a technological take over in virtually every area of our lives. New software is developed every day to bring lasting solutions to issues that have been considered challenges for quite some time. The business sector isn’t the last to witness this breaking wave of technological interventions aimed at helping businesses run their affairs with ease. The term ‘business intelligence’ is gradually becoming familiar to people whose livelihood is solely vested in business.
For us to understand the influence of business intelligence in today’s world, we need to understand the meaning of the term itself. When we separate the words, ‘business’ is defined as trading activities that involve buying and selling goods or services. ‘Intelligence’ is seen as a ‘collection of information which is perceived to be of certain value,’ in this case, economic and financial value. Combining both words gives us a clear definition of what business intelligence is about, but with a slight catch -the collection PLUS analysis of information, strategies, and software that is perceived to be of great economic and financial value for those who are at their receiving end. This collection of valuable information is subject to modifications with time as software get more efficient and better ways are discovered to enhance smooth trading transactions.
Is Business Intelligence important? Absolutely. When making decisions that ensure the existence of a profit-inclined venture, data collection is a factor. The data one acquires is pivotal in making game-changing decisions and with the advancement of technology, there is now the ability to process more data at the same time.
Business intelligence is not an entirely new concept, however. The subject was first brought up in the late 80’s by R. M. Devens. He used the term to describe how a banker was raking in profits by getting the right information per moment on his surroundings and using it to influence the outcome of his transactions positively. The reason why this term is gaining attention is attributed to the invention of cloud technology, which broadens the horizon of data that is capable of undergoing processing.
We will now look at the several aspects that are impacted by BI mentioned by major decision voters in various companies:
- Customer support: Before, customer support teams relied heavily on phone and e-mail communications to help customers with issues about a product or service. This was more difficult when the customer support was understaffed, or several clients were calling in at once. Now with programs like Webcare, which is easily accessible on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and handled around the clock, customer support has been made more flexible and accessible easing stress both for the team and the clients. It explains why this is becoming as popular as the conventional methods of calls and e-mail.
- Sales process: In the interest of finding promising leads, BI has allowed effective sales software to be developed. This software not only helps you keep track of deals and how far they’ve progressed, but also to stay on top of promising transactions, keeping the company’s focus in one place, a and reducing the stress that comes with extensive searches for leads.
- Competitive intelligence: Competitive intelligence is the process of sorting out intelligence gathered about customers, rivals, etc. to make the best use of it for the benefit of the organization. Several BI tools are available for this. Their work is purely analytical and offers insights based on information gathered from social networks. This category of software programs also gives room for a sizeable amount of data to be analyzed, saving time and giving companies the opportunity to be a step ahead of their counterparts concerning business moves.
- Product improvement: This is considered the most important aspect of any company because it determines what product will be launched into the market and how if can meet the needs of consumers for a long period of time in an ever-evolving world. There are several programs available that are dedicated to guiding companies in bringing out relevant products or services that will go a long way to provide maximum satisfaction. Some of these allow you to track the progress of your software while in use, identify potential threats or malfunction tendencies, and fix them before the customer even sees them. These programs can be described as slightly ‘futuristic,’ but they are one of the most lucrative dividends of business intelligence.
Asides these areas, BI tools have improved cost management and overall have made decision making faster than it used to be. Most companies are now adopting these instruments because they have noted the potential for increased earnings and reduced cost presented by these tools, as well as reduced risks stemming from making decisions without being 100 percent sure of their productivity.
Another situation where business intelligence tools come in handy is in the face of sudden decision-making. Usually, decisions are action plans worked upon over a period of time, but we can all agree that some aspects of business are not predictable. The tide can turn in an unexpected direction, prompting executives to make decisions they were not prepared for. Thanks to BI tools, such scenes are easily dealt with as these software programs help to provide tangible insight into the possibility of such things occurring. Many CEOs whose ventures make use of these tools can attest to their usefulness in averting disasters in sudden decision-making.
There are rising speculations that 50% of big enterprises will be using BI tools by 2018, and highly improved analytics will be used by almost three-quarters of businesses three years from now. Before that time comes, there would be a wider range of these tools and finance ventures that can educate their team members on the usefulness of these tools, helping them to remain relevant and up to date in a technology-driven world.