Business intelligence blog

    Business analytics for beginners

    If you are new to business analytics, it can be difficult to know where to start. There is so much information out there that it can be difficult to understand for people without an IT degree or experience with analytics solutions. This blog aims to lay out the most important aspects of business analytics for a beginner within a retail, distribution or wholesale business.

    What is Business intelligence (BI) and what is data analytics?

    Data analytics is the process of exploring data sets in order to draw conclusions about the information they contain. Data analytics technologies, like business intelligence (BI), are increasingly being used to help companies make sense of their business data.

    BI is what leads to actionable insights. It takes the data from the different systems in your company and puts it in one neat location – your single source of truth. Business analytics can be used to improve efficiencies, find new opportunities, or predict future outcomes based on past performance.

    What can BI do?

    BI can help your business track performance against Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), get a better insight into what is really happening in the business, find new sales opportunities and improve customer service, optimize stock levels, analyze company performance in real time. Some BI vendors specialize in in one specific area, while other vendors, like Phocas, provide value for departments across the business and presents data in graphs, dashboards and scorecards.

    What is a dashboard?

    A dashboard is a page within a BI solution that lets users easily see metrics relevant to them. For example, you might want to track monthly revenue against a particular goal, see how many sales each sales rep is bringing in, keep track of stock levels, or see which customers you are losing. Importantly, good BI solutions will have the option to restrict users to only see data relevant to their job role.

    What is it to drill down? Or to slice and dice?

    ‘Drill down is a term that refers to the dynamic nature of BI reports and dashboards. In contrast to traditional reporting from enterprise resource planning (ERP) or customer relationship management (CRM) systems which are static and only give you a glimpse of a period of time. BI lets you ask questions of your data and then keep drilling down as the need for more answers arise.

    Slicing and dicing refers to the way you can easily segment this data. For example, you might see you are not on track to make a monthly sales target. You can click this metrics to drill down to the underlying data. Here you might slice and dice to see whether it is a particular region, sales rep or product group that is driving the poor performance.

    What is the grid?

    The grid is one of the ways in which Phocas differs significantly from other business analytics vendors. The Phocas grid is where you do most of your analysis. It is an easy way to segment and view data before representing it in a graph or chart. If you’d like to learn more about the grid, make sure to view our webinar about the power of the grid here.

    What is Phocas?

    Phocas is a an easy to use BI solution that can benefit everyone in your business. Phocas is designed to be intuitive and easy to learn, while not sacrificing on quality. You can use Phocas on any device, and analyze data with the click of a button. People don’t wait for time consuming reports from your IT department, rather take the data into your own hands and generate the insights that are useful for your job role.

    At Phocas, we have thousands of customers, primarily in retail, wholesale or manufacturing.

    To learn more about which metrics you might track in a business intelligence solution, download our eBook ‘9 reporting metrics your business should measure’ by clicking on the button below.


    Written by Phocas Software
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