We are constantly talking with companies about if and how they are using business intelligence. More often than not, they are struggling with their overwhelming amount of data, the ability to access the right information quickly and the level of detail the information actually provides.
They are working with homegrown solutions or legacy systems that weren’t designed to deliver timely, actionable information. For many people, it’s how things have always been done at their companies. They live with the slow process and the underwhelming results, but they know they can and should get better business intelligence. Not only that, they know that if they had the right solution, it would allow them to better compete for contracts and manage costs.
What does best of breed BI mean? To understand better BI, we first need to know what BI is.
AT Kearney defines BI as a focus on a “particular field of data processing and consolidation to retrieve information for decision making. The overarching objective is to provide – via various solutions – the right knowledge to the right people at the right time.”
Gartner defines BI as an “umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.”
If you break down the two definitions, one can conclude that BI allows organizations to use data to make good business decisions. The ability to make more informed decisions should produce stronger business results. Better business intelligence then should help companies perform even better. Sounds simple enough.
The need for industry specific business intelligence
Unfortunately, there are a number of things that are preventing organizations from taking advantage of business intelligence. While most companies are capturing data, it may not be the right information and it may not be stored consistently across the organization. For many companies, business intelligence means spreadsheets, which are prone to errors and often deliver outdated and inaccurate data. Not to mention the different versions that can be floating around the office. If the information that is being gathered cannot be quickly analyzed or presented in user-friendly formats, then mining timely and accurate insights may be impossible.
Better business intelligence starts with a well-designed, easy-to-use business intelligence solution, which AT Kearney says, “ensures that information across the organization is available in a consistent, reliable manner. Figures can be aggregated and compared in different business units, assuring the validity of like-for-like data comparisons, and that all management reports provide operations leaders and top management with the information they need to steer the business properly.”
The right BI solution for your industry includes the following features:
- Dynamic dashboards for high-level, real-time, visual presentations of key metrics;
- Intuitive analysis capabilities allowing users to dig into the details, filter and forecast;
- Analytics for data interpretation and “what-if” scenarios;
- Self-service reporting that can shared; and
- Mobility so users can access information quickly from any device and from wherever they are working.
BI should help you team produce better results, including:
- Sales increases driven by the ability to instantly identify where sales can happen and profits can be made.
- Business clarity because you will now know what you need to know when you need to know it.
- Reduce costs by improving inventory and supply chain while being able to focus on profitable products and customers.
- Improving customer service because you will better understand their product preferences, buying habits, and inventory needs while working more collaboratively.
- Higher profits as a result of sales increases, lower costs and the ability to serve your customers with the products they need the most.
We understand the frustrations that we hear almost every day about legacy systems and outdated processes stifling the ability for businesses to see the big picture. The ability to access high quality data quickly is critical in our faced-paced world. Your team members need access to the right information at the right time quickly so they can capitalize on every opportunity. This is why we built Phocas specific for key industries to address specific needs and bring about incremental changes to your business.