Have you heard of the latest buzzword- Business Intelligence that is making the rounds at most company meetings today? If you're wondering 'what is Business Intelligence' and 'why is it important for your business', here is something that can help you find answers to all your questions.
Have you ever thought how cool it would be to find out who your most profitable customers are? Or, at least know who is costing you more money. More importantly, did you ever come across a financial roadblock and hoped, if only it was discovered earlier? Imagine if you could not just look at the current revenue data, but could also forecast revenue for the upcoming months!
Business intelligence is all this, and more. In this post, we will be addressing the following frequently asked questions about business intelligence.
- What do you mean by BI?
- What is Business Intelligence? Explain with an example.
- How do different industries use Business Intelligence?
- Why is Business intelligence so important?
What is business intelligence?
The term Business intelligence or BI refers to applications that collect, integrate, and analyze data that can help businesses make smarter business decisions.
In addition, business intelligence tools share insights into historical and current data and provide predictive views for the future. The primary purpose of business intelligence is to help with data-driven decision making.
Why is Business Intelligence vital for your company?
Companies adopt BI solutions to detect and monitor trends and opportunities that can help them scale their business. Here are 5 key reasons why every business must invest in a good BI system:
1. To analyze customer behaviour
You most likely have the data on your customers stored in a CRM system or spreadsheets. While these tools help you access all customer data from one place, a BI system goes one step ahead. It can analyze all this data and help you deepen your customer knowledge by providing valuable insights.
Business intelligence shows you data on which customers are unprofitable, and why are they unprofitable. And, you can find out who are your top profitable customers and where they are from. In addition, Business Intelligence can give insights on customer performance by week, month, or year and their lifetime revenue contribution.
2. To cut costs
A BI system gives you complete visibility on project costs and expenses. Business Intelligence can help companies identify areas where the chances of cost-saving are high. For example, a BI system can give you detailed information on your product inventory. Cutting back on excessive inventory is a good cost-saving strategy.
Besides, Business Intelligence can tell you which projects are profitable and which are not. You can use this data to concentrate on the more profitable ones and reduce costs for the others. Moreover, insights into your resources, non-billable hours and utilization rate can help cut further unnecessary costs.
3. To mitigate risks
A BI system uses predictive analytics to identify financial risks that threaten business continuity. For example, BI systems can analyze your current cash flow and predict profit and loss for the upcoming months.
4. To simplify complex data
Data is of no use if you can’t make head or tail of it. Business intelligence tools make complicated data easier for the human brain to understand using data visualization techniques. Unlike confusing data in spreadsheets and Excel, BI applications can present data using different visuals such as graphs, maps, infographics, etc. This is even more important when you have to explain mass amounts of data to your end-customers and stakeholders.
5. To improve operational efficiency
According to a recent Business Intelligence Market Study, the Operations department in an organization is seen as the primary driver of Business Intelligence initiatives. Business intelligence can measure how different teams are performing against their KPIs thereby helping managers handle operations more efficiently. Undoubtedly, business analytics tools are helping companies identify operational inefficiencies and providing them with data to make smarter business decisions.
How do different industries use Business Intelligence?
Using Business Intelligence to identify Sales opportunities
With a BI system, you can find out which products or accounts are the revenue-generating ones. You can then study its behavior over time to adjust costs and maximize profitability. This means a BI system can help you uncover more opportunities in existing accounts. Moreover, it can also help you understand sales metrics to improve your sales performance.
You can even visualize the performance of all sales activities and identify the most effective ones. For example, you can analyze sales calls to get insights that led to the successful closure of the deal. You can also view insights such as the number of participants, demographics, and the details mentioned on the call.
Apart from this, with a BI system, you can find out the current and past performance of the sales teams. You can then make improvements to increase the win rate. In addition, it can help you identify the major factors that may affect the probability to close a deal successfully.
Using Business Intelligence to influence Accounting practices
Accounting firms are increasingly using business intelligence software to improve operational efficiency and provide a more satisfying customer experience.
Accounting firms have now upgraded from traditional spreadsheets with confusing rows and columns to sophisticated Business Intelligence software. These systems transform and analyze accounting data with minimal user input and are less prone to errors.
For example, as an accounting firm, you can benefit immensely from gathering data on invoices, expenses, and costs. This can help identify different cost control measures that are vital to your client’s business.
Apart from this, accountants can now present data using more visual and easy-to-understand reports to their clients. This makes it easy for their customers to visualize their financial health and access all data at a glance.
Using Business Intelligence to maximize Manufacturing
For manufacturing companies, using data intelligently would mean gaining an easy advantage over their competitors.
Having access to business intelligence has many benefits for the manufacturing industry. For example, you can not only track inventory in real-time but also forecast demand using predictive analysis. Based on the insights that you receive, you can ramp up production to meet a sudden surge in demand. In addition, you can automate complex supply chain processes to save both time and money.
Besides, you can use BI to evaluate work processes to improve operational efficiency and analyze production costs.
Using Business Intelligence for successful Project Management
Until a few years ago, project managers had to track performance and productivity manually and analyze each element independently. Today, a BI system simplifies project management by providing in-depth project related insights at your fingertips.
With efficient BI tools in place, project managers can track project progress across different stages. They can get real-time insights on utilization and capacity, monitor project costs and expenses, and deliver projects on time effortlessly.
BI tools empower project managers by giving them the tools that enable transparency of resources. It also provides workload visualization and the right benchmarking data to negotiate for future projects. When leveraged properly, BI systems can make a real difference by enhancing productivity, mitigating risks, and maximizing project profitability.
Using Business Intelligence in Architecture & Construction
Closing projects on schedule and within the estimated budget is one of the key challenges reported by most architects and engineers. Thanks to technology, BI can now help capture accurate and timely data that can be leveraged to deliver projects faster.
Cloud-based BI software allows real-time access to project data. Whether you’re in the office or on the field, you can get complete project visibility. In an industry where cost management is crucial, BI systems help a firm control their costs better. They can give you insights on profitability, cash flow, resource availability, labour deployment, and other project-related KPIs.
The right business intelligence software can analyze historical data and provide key insights from previous successful projects. This, in turn, helps contractors chase and bid rightly for future projects. Modern-day contractors can analyze data quickly and make smart business decisions using BI. This gives them a significant edge over their counterparts who rely on manual data analysis methods.
The future of Business Intelligence
One of the key drawbacks of most business management software today is that they all work in silos. These systems do not talk to each other. Imagine how cool it would be to integrate your existing workflows with a BI system. You can get customer insights, data on profit and loss, invoicing insights, work hours insights right within your CRM software.
We at Taimer understand the need for an integrated BI system. We have developed an all-in-one business management solution with a built-in BI system. Taimer's Business Intelligence system is not just any analytics dashboard. It can connect all your data sources in a unified solution and creates intelligent, visual and actionable insights.
Taimer's Profit & Loss insights dashboard gives you a summary of the revenue made or losses incurred in the past or even for the upcoming months. It gives you these insights based on the data received from the invoices, costs, bills, and expenses generated for a given account. You can slice and dice this data to see which customers are profitable and which are costing you more money. In addition, you can also see your cash flow for the upcoming months. The Activities Insights dashboard, on the other hand, lets you access all your sales-related activities from one place. This can help you understand what activities led to the successful closure of a sales deal and what did not.
Find out how Taimer can help make your business data-driven. Watch this short video to see how Taimer can help you manage your entire business from one place!
Try Taimer for free so you can see how it works for your own business!