As companies continue to use their systems and technology to achieve a competitive advantage and adapt to change, Business Intelligence (BI) is a digital transformation tool people are curious about. Modern BI is attractive because it has a low barrier to entry and companies can implement the software quickly.  So how is business intelligence used? And who uses it?

 Executives may be unsure whether BI can benefit their own company. Often, as executives learn how BI unveils game-changing insights, implementation becomes priority one. In this  blog, we discuss the broad range of capabilities of BI and how BI is used to increase profit and reduce costs across departments such as inventory, sales, marketing and finance.

Benefits across departments and seniority levels

A quality BI solution has the ability to collect data from all of your disparate systems and provide holistic insights in one place. Phocas, in particular, is designed to be used by everyone in the company from senior executives and department managers to sales reps and other employees.  As a result, anyone from any department can make sense of the data and identify actionable insights unique to their domain. With Phocas’ security settings, users are granted access only to the data relevant to their position. 

Business intelligence for executives

On the executive level, BI provides a clear and comprehensive picture of your company’s overall performance. With Phocas, executives are able to customize their dashboards and personalize the metrics that are most relevant to their distinctive needs. Through the dashboard, up-to-date information is readily accessible, empowering executives to spot trends, develop fact-based strategies, and make important decisions based on data rather than gut-instinct alone.  Phocas’ mobile capability provides access to data wherever and whenever you may need it. Many executives use Phocas during board meetings or while on the road.  As executives are often burdened by time constraints, having instant, up-to-date, mobile access to data can improve efficiency and create more time for other pressing matters. 

Business intelligence for sales departments

BI provides valuable insights into all aspects of the sales department.  Analyzing your customers’ buying patterns provides valuable information to your sales managers. Now they can quickly spot new trends and identify sales opportunities. With just a few clicks, your managers can see how products are moving by region, store, sales team, or individual sales rep. If sales are dropping for a particular product, a manager can quickly identify the cause and provide support to stop the decline.

With relevant customer data and mobile accessibility, sales reps are better prepared to meet their customers’ needs and address concerns during their sales meetings. This care and nurturing of your customers goes a long way toward increasing sales, enhancing customer loyalty and preventing customer decline.

With BI, sales managers are able to keep an eye on the performance of their sales reps.  If a rep is consistently failing to meet their target, the data can quickly point to the cause.  For instance, it may be that a rep isn’t selling a particular product because they aren’t familiar with the entire product line. Or it may be that the rep is below target across the board and is in need of mentoring from a more experienced rep.

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Business intelligence for operations and inventory

BI is a very effective tool to manage inventory and warehouse activity. Streamlining your  inventory management will go a long way toward cutting costs and avoiding losses. BI provides the ability to see exactly how much stock you have on hand and the sales history of that stock. This information enables your inventory manager to achieve appropriate stock levels.  Armed with this knowledge, purchasing managers can fill a warehouse with enough products to meet customer demands without the risk of overstocking. By avoiding overstock, your capital is freed up to use elsewhere, and the possibility of unsold or dead stock is avoided.

Business intelligence for finance

Financial well-being is the heart and soul of any company. Having an accurate, detailed financial picture is critical to ongoing success. With Phocas, financial managers and accountants are able to use the new Financial Statements product to customize P&L , balance sheet, and cash flow statements for every part of the business. With the ability to visualize the numbers on dashboards, the financial department can educate the rest of the team about financial performance. The analytics tool in Financial Statements allows the team to identify areas of improvement and develop more effective strategic and financial plans. 

Moreover, your financial staff can use Phocas Rebates to create and manage all of your payable and receivable rebates. Phocas Rebates can bring visibility and accuracy to normally complex rebate systems. As your financial department analyzes your program, they can gain greater insight into profitability and adjust the pricing structure as needed. 

Business intelligence for marketing

In the marketing department, BI can be used to uncover trends and guide the development of marketing campaigns. As the campaigns are completed, Phocas can be used to assess the campaign’s effectiveness. Having an accurate assessment allows your team to optimize your marketing budget. Phocas also enables your team to share reports and collaborate with the sales department when developing promotional offers.

With so many use of business intelligence it’s easy to see why companies are making the adoption of a BI solution a top priority. A clear view into every department, on all seniority levels, provides the insight to detect new opportunities and ineffective practices to gain the market advantage. Companies that choose not to upgrade may not be in business in the coming years.

For more information on how business intelligence is used to your advantage, download our eBook - Treat your data like an asset.
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Tags: Business Intelligence Basics, Job Role - Sales, Job Role - IT, Job Role - Executive, Job Role - Inventory/Operations, Job Role - Marketing, decision-making

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