An overview of business intelligence and its importance to your business
Business Intelligence (BI) refers to an IT-based process of collecting, analyzing, forecasting, and improving business performance, based on past raw data, for the purposes of extracting actionable insight from existing data, mitigating risk, and supporting the strategic decision-making process.
So how can you successfully enable data to get transformed into knowledge that drives business growth?
Clearly define your business goals and corresponding Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and create performance measures at the project and the organization levels, before implementing a BI solution.
Take a strategic view in defining your business’s critical success factors (CSFs), so as to avoid being overwhelmed with data, or making it difficult to focus on what is truly important!
Seek and capture the essential types of data: 1) Ongoing data (that is to be kept track of on a regular basis), 2) Deep data (that gives an in-depth view of business processes), and 3) Time-critical data (that must be received on a need-to-know basis, due to its critical impact on foreseen/unforeseen risks and opportunities), and make them available for close analysis!
Employ pull type reporting, which involves standard reports and dashboards, as well as push type reporting, which involves event-driven alerts; namely notification, performance, and operational events, that detect key changes, and ensure communicating relevant information to decision-makers, as and when needed!
Think of a business intelligence solution as a powerful tool, which allows for a deeper understanding of customer and partner relationships as well as performance, and a consistent view of the organization from the executive level to the frontlines - all in real time, and from a single data source.
No matter how good your information is, if you do not know how to use it properly to make your business grow, then it is pretty useless!