In recent years, more and more companies have invested in business intelligence software to help them centralize key business data and metrics to evaluate their operations, sales history, and to forecast future performance.
The goal is to identify areas for cost savings, more efficient processes, and find new avenues for business opportunities. Companies want to leverage their resources and turn their raw data into meaningful decision-making possibilities to help them stay afloat, identify trends and have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
What is Business Intelligence?
BI is a set of methodologies, theories and processes that transform raw data into useful and meaningful information for business evaluation purposes. It deals with large amounts of data to assist in identifying and developing new opportunities through analysis of historical, current and forecast views of business operations and market trends. Common functions of this technology include information reporting, data mining, predictive analytics, benchmarking, and business performance management.
Benefits of a System
With so many advantages and positive results, it’s no wonder that BI has become so important to an organization’s business plan. Some of the many benefits that intelligence gathering adds to business are:
- Reduces guesswork by providing accurate real-time and historical data, synergies between departmental data, forecasting, scenario development, and trends.
- More efficient and faster answers to business questions for decision making.
- Intuitive and easy data access with multiple software makes it possible to access data remotely and from mobile devices anywhere.
- Provides insight into customer preferences and purchasing behavior to assist organizations in optimizing the right sales strategy and customer retention tactics.
- Identify areas of business operations that can be simplified and help manage costs and adjust production for greater profitability.
- Improve data collection efficiency by centralizing information and reducing time wasted from compiling large amounts of data or analyzing it.
Successfully integrating the use of systems into an organization can be critical to reaping the benefits of data analysis. Intelligence applications and systems are only meaningful to an organization if employees use them, therefore any platform deployed must be user-friendly to provide rapid user adoption.
- Consult with end users to create a platform that handles what users need from the system, and will be easy to use.
- Provide user training to encourage more people to use the system.
- Provide user support to solve problems and maintain the system.
- Make it part of the organizational culture by involving senior management
The Importance of Portal Design
Portals for intelligence systems are an important part of facilitating the use of intelligence software. It is the encounter and the first impression faced by the user when accessing the system. Usually this is a browser interface through which the user accesses data, reports and other analytical functions and navigates the system. Portals should be easy to use and understand. Some desirable features of the intelligence portal are as follows:
- Up-to-date – Data must be current and updated regularly.
- Content Rich – Portals should contain not only data, but help and support documentation, advice, and troubleshooting information for users.
- Interactive – The portal must be easy to use, functional, and tailored to the specific organization and its data needs.
More organizations are finding value from collecting data on their business operations. With this realization in mind, intelligence software is designed to have multiple features, including mobile accessibility and intuitive elements to enable companies to fully optimize their use of data that was previously too difficult to compile and analyze without software.
But ultimately, any intelligence system considered for implementation must be accepted and used by end users to add value to the organization. Ensuring ease of use of the system for users will be key to making the most of what’s there business intelligence which is offered.