Business intelligence blog

    Business intelligence - the executive's Magic 8 Ball


    In the 1950’s, Mattel developed a toy called the Magic 8 Ball.  The idea was to ask the ball a “yes” or “no” question, shake it up, and watch as the answer appeared through a little window.  While a smart business owner would never rely on the Magic 8 Ball to make a business decision, they can rely on something much more accurate—business intelligence (BI).

    With the right amount of data, BI can achieve many benefits for your businesses.  Sean Gallahar of 17 Marketing explains that BI enables decision makers to make better decisions through data and gain insights into industry, customer and regional trends across the business.  Insights that are so valuable that companies that invest in BI made an average of $13.01 for every dollar spent according to a 2014 study done by Nucleus Research

    The following are some areas where BI can help your business:

    Quick, accurate decision-making 

    Good decision making is necessary to have a competitive edge.  Consider the case of Tandy Corporation and its 1983 Model 2000 PC. The Model 2000 was superior to IBM running three times faster, yet the computer was a flop.  With BI, organizations such as Tandy could quickly and easily identify which of their existing customers would be a good fit for the Model 2000 and make more strategic decisions. At the time, Tandy’s computers were incompatible with IBM’s software, and as a result, Tandy Corporation lost their competitive edge and was never able to regain a leading role in the computer industry.   

    Marketing effectiveness 

    Marketing has changed considerably in the past few years from television and newspaper ads to internet ads, SEO content, and social media marketing, but many question the effectiveness of new marketing.  Some sources say social media marketing has the most impact with the least expense.  Others say that email campaigns produce the most impact at the least expense.  BI measures different marketing campaigns to not just tell a company which type of campaign to use but also the best strategy for a particular kind of campaign. For example, which platform to post on, (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) when to post and which market segment or industry to target can be determined based on insights through analytical tools.

    Product positioning 

    For those in charge of visual merchandising, using a BI solution gives them an awareness of what products are selling and those that are not. Armed with information, retailers can decide whether they will move a product to front-of-house, back-of-house, or how they will arrange the product within the store based on sell-through data.

    If making reliable business decisions were as easy as shaking a Magic 8 Ball, every executive would have the toy on their desk.  Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy, but BI provides the information necessary to give your business a competitive advantage and move it towards a prosperous future.

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