How to Use Business Intelligence: 66% of Companies Want to Be More Data-Driven in 2021


Business Intelligence (BI) combines practices, tools, technologies, and applications for collecting unstructured data, transforming it into valuable information for analysis, and presenting results in an understandable visual format. In 2021 66% of the European and USA companies surveyed said they have the initiative to become a more data-driven organization. 29% indicated that they don’t have an initiative but plan to establish it. Business Intelligence is not only for data analysts, but employees without hard skills can use them all over the organization.

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In 2021, 66% of surveyed European and USA companies said that they have the initiative to become a more data-driven organization. 29% said that they don’t have an initiative but plan to establish it. Is it worth remaining among the 3% of companies that rely on a personal opinion or gut feeling in decision-making?

Take a look at the key ideas of Business Intelligence and possible benefits from implementing it in your company.

Business Intelligence (BI): what is it, and how does it work?

Business Intelligence combines practices, tools, technologies, and applications for collecting unstructured data, transforming it into valuable information for analysis, and presenting results in an understandable visual format to cause business actions.

The last part about making decisions is the central point of the BI world. You’ll need BI for short and long-term business strategies to get ahead of competitors.

It can sound like something only for data analysts, but BI solutions are various and flexible. Employees without data-related hard skills can use them all over the organization. 

How do Business Intelligence solutions work in practice?

  1. On the level of data analysts: potentially useful information can be stored in different places – data lake, data warehouse, or on-premise. It’s challenging to unify and track all this data. BI tools can pool all the sources together and quickly provide data analysts with accurate information without wasting their time on running complex reports.
  2. On the level of average employees from different departments, department leaders, and C-suites: you can use custom intuitive dashboards instead of numerical data reports. Visualizing complex sets of data will simplify day-to-day tasks. 

Benefits of implementing Business Intelligence in your organization

Without BI in place, you simply won’t deal with a massive volume of data increasing exponentially. Each new byte of information makes it harder to find valuable data. So, except for making data more accessible and understandable to cause data-driven decisions, BI solutions indirectly help spot inefficient business processes holding back the company’s growth. As a result, you can find better solutions for your organization.

Here’s how BI can improve your business.

Make a decision-making process driven by data

It’s nice to be a person with an opinion, but in business, it’s better to have facts that prove your point of view. Decision-making becomes more effective when driven by data. CEO’s personal opinion may be rational-based, thanks to extensive experience. But admit that automation of this stage of the data preparation process will minimize the risk of mistakes due to human error.

With BI solutions in place, you can switch from the reports focused on questions such as “What happened? When did it happen?” to a deep understanding of the processes, forecasting, and optimization: “How do we improve things? What is a suitable solution for a complex issue?” Competitive and deep analysis is a basis for valuable insights. Relying on the actionable data, your analysts can build exact models of the likely company’s future. 

Improve customer service and customer knowledge 

According to Gartner, Customer Experience (CX) is a new marketing battlefront. You can improve it by being closer to your customers, understanding their needs and desires, you’ll naturally increase the level of customer satisfaction.

BI tools can source and combine the data needed to create a detailed strategy to attract new customers and update a sales strategy for the current customers to motivate them to make new purchases. 

For example, thanks to the tools with built-in BI, such as CRM, employees from the sales department can track real-time how customers interact with them. It helps to make decisions quicker and reach more customers.

Speed up reporting without impact on its quality

With BI solutions in place, business owners can automate their daily tasks, prioritize them without manual labor and eliminate bottlenecks. With custom dashboards, you spend time more productively. Thanks to the power of automation, you can get a report in few minutes instead of 1-2 weeks. Some BI tools allow interactive reports, and you can test different hypotheses and analyze their possible results in real-time. Also, centralized data is accessible for everybody in the company on any device, so that you can work on-the-go. 

BI approach makes it possible to quickly uncover actual trends and patterns in your business area, find unobvious interrelationships and, thus, call the shots immediately and effectively. 

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How to start implementing Business Intelligence solutions in your business?

According to O’Reilly, a lack of understanding of how to use analytics to improve business is one of the main reasons that stops companies from adopting analytics widely. Genuinely, you can’t implement BI solutions without building a data-driven culture in the company. It’s not likely to be written in the public chat of employees: “Hi everyone, from now on we are going to use Power BI instead of Excel.” First, you should build a data-driven culture in your organization.

How to change employees’ habits and inspire them to rely on facts and use analytics in their day-to-day tasks? Deloitte suggests several directions to work on:

  1. Assess the readiness of your organization for the changes. It’s too early to talk about dashboards if you still don’t have a solid data infrastructure.
  2. Engage stakeholders from the start to create ownership. 
  3. Analyze the impact of a new BI solution on each stakeholder group. It can help you to determine a communication plan and key messages.
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