Most professionals today have some sense of what business intelligence means. The term really embodies itself. It’s a way to gather information, or intelligence, about your business. While this simplistic definition might not be all-encompassing, it sums up the general idea behind BI. There are, however, some more specific and nuanced reasons organizations all over the world turn to BI every day. This is why we need business intelligence.
Understand the State of your Business
As already mentioned, BI is about gaining a deeper understanding as to what’s really going on at your organization. Some executives might like to believe they have a firm grasp on that without additional help. This, however, isn’t a great attitude or outlook for those who want to excel in today’s economy.
Data is everywhere. Business intelligence helps you capture, store, process, and analyze this data. Here are a few concrete examples of how enterprises can use BI to better understand what’s happening under the hood:
- Find trends that otherwise wouldn’t have been obvious. This is one of the most useful aspects of BI tools. They allow users to spot trends that would have been completely invisible without data analytics.
- Get in-the-moment updates. Real-time analytics is another way organizations can massively benefit from utilizing BI. With real-time analytics, it’s possible to make decisions on the fly, as data becomes available, regardless of location. This is only possible when your BI architecture has native cloud integration, allowing for data to seamlessly update as it becomes available.
- See how things are changing over time in highly digestible visualizations. Not everyone processes information in the same way. Easy-to-read graphs, however, are one of the most universal ways for conveying information that’s difficult to communicate through text. Advanced BI platforms can even automatically generate visualizations based on best fit, so you don’t have to worry about choosing a chart that fits the data.
These are just a few examples of how BI is able to improve business operations for enterprises of all kinds. There are, however, some additional points to consider when thinking about why your organization needs business intelligence.
Stay Ahead of the Competition
We don’t live in a bubble. That means even if your business is doing well now, it needs to be constantly adjusting to stay ahead of competitors. This trend is likely more intense than what’s realized by most executives. One of the most telling examples of this is in the average lifespan of S&P 500 companies over time. In 1955, the average was over 55 years, while today, it’s under 20.
There are many reasons for this ongoing trend. But technological disruption is certainly one of the most prevalent. As technology continues improving, it decreases the amount of time required to develop disruptive products and services. Business intelligence can play a role in helping organizations stay ahead of these trends.
Tracking the performance of competitors is one way BI can provide a necessary defense against what’s coming down the line. While it might not help you directly develop the next great product or service, tracking competitor performance can give organizations a distinct leg up.
Better Future Planning
No one knows what the future holds. But that doesn’t mean your enterprise shouldn’t be thinking about it. The process of planning for the future can be much less stressful, and more productive when done in conjunction with BI.
Some BI platforms will even offer predictive and prescriptive analytics functions. Predictive analytics can help project future results by factoring several variables. Prescriptive analytics also goes a step farther by actually advocating direct responses to future problems. Clearly, these elements can help organizations get the most value from their data.
There are several reasons why business intelligence is necessary for enterprises today. Without it, businesses are putting themselves at a severe disadvantage to their competitors.