Business intelligence - why, how, where and when?

4 mins to read
Business intelligence - why, how, where and when?

Do these statements sound familiar? - “We have a lot of data, but no real information.” - “IT is a bottleneck for reports.” - “Can you fit all that data into an Excel spreadsheet?” - “Can you put that information into a pie chart?”

There is a mountain of data being created daily throughout your company and extracting value is becoming increasingly more difficult. If you’re like many IT departments, you are being asked constantly to produce reports for everyone from sales to the executive leadership team.

Excel spreadsheets are being used inconsistently across departments and can only take your users so far. And honestly, you know that a pie chart is probably not going to provide enough information to facilitate an educated business decision.

Business is becoming increasingly more competitive, and there is a real struggle for finding and retaining customers, growing sales and capturing market share. Actionable insights from company data is key to competing at a high level, understanding where your company stands and what needs to be done to keep moving forward. In this blog, we discuss why, how, where and when companies should use business intelligence.

First, the why

Companies with aggressive growth strategies and high advertising budgets are forcing their way into markets, which increases the demands for data, efficiencies and improvements across the business. BI can be used to gain sales intelligence (find sales opportunities), benchmark and compare your sales across products, sales and time periods. It can also be used to improve visibility, measure return on investment, turn data into actionable information and gain insights into consumer behavior.


To illustrate the how of business intelligence, below are a few examples of Phocas Software customers:

Phocas integrates seamlessly with third-party ERP systems to make managing and analyzing data easier. The Chief Operating Officer of ALP Lighting, David Brown, said the following about Phocas Software's integration with the company’s Friedman ERP system:

“The Friedman ERP processes the data very well but it does not summarize it in all the different ways we want to view it.” Brown explained that with Phocas, it now automatically pulls the information they need from the Friedman system each night - allowing them the flexibility to look at the information they need in any manner they choose.

At Craven Foods, Phocas is used to track sales and gain a much better understanding of the business performance.

Doug Mateljan, Managing Director for Craven Foods, said, “we are now able to make decisions based on fact rather than intuition. We can drill down through the information to whatever we want and cross reference sales to customer, stock or sales rep. This is very valuable in terms of identifying opportunities or missed sales.”

For the Deb Group, Phocas has reduced the report creation process from hours to minutes.

Financial Controller, Bassam Aboulhaf said “we can easily drill up, down, and sideways to reveal the underlying cause of a trend or an issue that has been reported. This level of understanding and insight enables us to make decisions within an appropriate time frame to correct problems or re-assess our strategies.”


Whether your team members are working at their desks, remotely from a coffee shop, or even from the lobby of a customer site, the ability to access real-time data from anywhere and on any device provides a number of clear advantages. In the board room, BI can deliver real-time insights that business leaders can use to make informed business decisions while a salesperson can use mobile BI to review real-time sales data or product information prior to a business review meeting with a key customer.

The number of companies deploying mobile BI is growing dramatically because of the advantages of real-time actionable insights. According to the Aberdeen Group, companies using mobile BI are 68% more likely to get business data on time than companies not using it. The business landscape is arguably more competitive than it ever has been and having quick access to company insight is critical.”


When to use BI is fairly simple to answer. Always.

BI is a technology-driven process for analyzing data and presenting actionable information that can help corporate executives, sales managers and end users make more informed business decisions. With BI, you can access real-time details about your products, customer and financial data so that you have a clear picture of what is happening in your business. BI software eliminates any IT bottleneck for generating reports, as users can create them in minutes.

The actionable insights presented by BI can help you plan campaigns, forecast sales, as well as measure staff, product and business performance. You also need BI when:

  • your business has lots of data, but nothing that provides actionable insights
  • IT is overwhelmed with report requests
  • your users rely too much on spreadsheets
  • you have to manipulate or join data from multiple sources; or
  • you are using static/basic graphs to analyze your business.

Data is a critical business asset. With a BI platform in place, users can access and analyze the data when and where they want, arming them with the intelligence and insights they need to make better, more timely decisions for their business and customers.

To learn more about business intelligence, click the button below to download our free eBook – ‘The Past, Present and Future of Business Intelligence.’

Click here to download  your free BI eBook


Top 7 KPIs and metrics for mid-market executives

Phocas Software

Download eBook

Fill out the form below to download the eBook.

Written by Phocas Software
Phocas Software

We make people feel good about data

Browse by category
Key data in one easy to understand view
Get a demo

Find out how our platform gives you the visibility you need to get more done.

Get your demo today
Phocas Software

Let’s talk

Are you interested in becoming a Phocas partner?

Phocas Software

Contact us

Fill in the form below, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Phocas Software