Yellowfin: Top 14 Benefits of Business Intelligence (Part One)

November 4, 2011
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Would you take a flying leap off a cliff if someone suggested it was a good idea?  Would you strap yourself into your office chair and sit up-side-down for a day just because Frank from Accounts said it boosted brain function?  And would you put your career on-the-line by spending a sizeable sum on Business Intelligence (BI) just because we (

Would you take a flying leap off a cliff if someone suggested it was a good idea?  Would you strap yourself into your office chair and sit up-side-down for a day just because Frank from Accounts said it boosted brain function?  And would you put your career on-the-line by spending a sizeable sum on Business Intelligence (BI) just because we (Yellowfin) told you to?

I doubt it (unless Frank’s powers of persuasion are phenomenal).  You’d want reason.  You’d want proof – proof that those proposals were based on sound reason and delivered favourable outcomes.

Defining Business Intelligence

BI refers to a broad range of computer software applications and tools used to report, analyze and present data in a range of formats, to help businesses identify trends and opportunities, and support fundamental decision-making.

So what?

Deploying and managing a BI program is a sizeable task that requires a substantial commitment, both in terms of time and money.  So why would you bother with the inevitable headaches and hassles that even the smoothest implementations will bring?

Well, here are 14 pretty good reasons.  A well-executed and maintained BI environment will:

  1. Deliver in-depth insight:  A BI solution collates and analyses vast stores of operational and transactional data, organizing that information into understandable, consumable and actionable reports.  Reports are accompanied by visualizations that summarize the underlying data for easy analysis and trend identification. 
    1. Help you discover the right answers to questions:  Eliminate guesswork and the influence of ‘gut feel’ over decision-making, or affirm long-held hunches.
    2. Help you discover new questions (and their answers): Drilling down or through data sets, as well as combing previously disparate data sources into a single report, can uncover previously unrealized threats, trends and opportunities.
  2. Deliver widespread visibility:  Realize unparalleled visibility throughout the enterprise by analysing the breadth of organizational data via a single application and portal.  Establishing this Single Source of Truth (SSOT) and eliminating silos of information – previously held in a multiplicity of source systems, applications and spreadsheets – empowers decision-makers with a uniform and unified view of operations.
  3. Improve data accessibility to enable better and faster fact-based decision-making:  BI software empowers people from across a plethora of business areas to access and utilize up-to-date information and analysis to underpin timely fact-based decision-making.
  4. Help you achieve competitive advantage and mitigate risk:  BI software arms you with the facts you need to respond to events in real, or near real-time – beat your competitors to the punch and avoid shooting yourself in the foot.
  5. Help define/align departmental and organizations actions with goals:  Delivering BI to specific departments requires a careful analysis of which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the most critical to particular job functions.  Establishing a KPI hierarchy, and tracking progression towards the resultant objectives, will help ensure that everyone is pulling in the same/right direction.
  6. Help to set, measure and monitor progression towards benchmarks:  Enabling organizations to accurately identify current performance levels, via data analysis, allows realistic goals to set and progression towards them to be examined.
  7. Assist with the development and implementation of competitive benchmarking:  Not only can BI analyze performance and track progression towards company goals, the same metrics can be applied to competitors for comparative analysis.
    1. Help conduct effective SWOT analysis:  Assess company strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats by analyzing operational, environmental and competitor data.

Where to next?

Look out for part two of this exploration of the benefits of BI software – Yellowfin: Top 14 Benefits of Business Intelligence (Part Two).