14 Jul The Power of BI: Part 1 – How Data is Changing the Way You do Business
How data is changing the way you do business
We are surrounded by data these days. Whether it’s on our smart phones, laptops or tablets, we are constantly being bombarded with analytics and statistics on everything from our credit card purchases to company website stats.
There’s a lot of data floating around. And in our tech-driven world, we rely on smart apps and software to make sense of it all.
This goes double for business. Many companies collect data in a variety of different forms but often struggle to extract anything meaningful from it. Too often, employees are confronted with pages of raw data that take forever to plough through. The result is information overload and a waste of time, as well as a wasted opportunity.
Business Intelligence (BI) seeks to address this issue by collating, analysing and presenting data in a streamlined and user-friendly way. Special software, often referred to as a Data Warehouse, collects data in a standardized format and then by the use of visualization tools makes it accessible to the reader in the form of graphs, bar charts and the like.
Advances in User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) have certainly played their part in promoting BI within the business community. As data systems become more accessible and intuitive, more people are willing to use them.
Savvy companies today use BI to help with a range of tasks, from identifying market trends to managing profit and loss, planning sales targets and so much more. It’s the perfect strategic tool to help you plan your business and smash those KPIs!
What’s more, with the increasing accuracy of digital data, we can make sounder business decisions based on geography (using Location Intelligence) or any other type of information that only digital technology can provide.
Ultimately, BI makes a huge difference to the way business decisions are made. And to the bottom line.
Business Intelligence in action
To make sense of all this, let’s look at an example of how Business Intelligence works in the real world.
With a large agricultural sector, Thailand relies on an efficient farming infrastructure that complies with international standards.
“In the contract farming world, companies have to ensure farmers get the right support to plant and harvest crops,” says Sonchai Chartbunchachai, Aware’s International Key Accounts Manager, who helps companies implement BI software and use it effectively. “To ensure quality crops are delivered, farmers are supported with credits in the form of seeds or fertilizer, as well as agricultural knowledge and best practices.”
But providing this support can be a challenge, as farmers often lack the resources to collect the necessary data.
“A big issue for agricultural companies is that, in many cases, you don’t have transparency,” says Sonchai. “For example, maybe you were expecting a yield of 1000kg per rai (1600m2), but you only received 500kg. You have to ask what’s going on.”
In order to achieve compliance and help farmers, relevant data needs to be gathered throughout the year. Unfortunately, the data often comes in on paper or an Excel spreadsheet, and is out-of-date by the time it is aggregated.
This is where a well thought-out BI solution comes in.
“We take all that data, and turn it into a format that is easy to understand,” says Sonchai. “BI tools allow us to view results quickly, so we can immediately see if something is wrong and take action, based on real data and not just assumptions.
“As the process develops, it becomes easier to identify specific data needed to improve success rates. It can also become more automated, so that gathering data is easier and more efficient.”
Be part of the future, not the past
Business Intelligence and data aren’t going away any time soon. This is no fad. It’s the future, and companies willing to embrace this technology now will have a significant competitive advantage over those who stick to the old-fashioned methods.
Forward-thinking leaders across all sectors should begin aggressively building their organisations’ data processing capabilities. That includes making use of historic data as well as new data going forward.
The results will mean better business decisions, based upon clear, timely information that is accessible to the many, not the few.
In turn, data analysis will become more productive, leading to a heightened awareness of trends and events.
Rather than waste time on useless initiatives and pitches that go nowhere, new knowledge can be used to create innovative service offerings or products of the future. All very exciting.
But Business Intelligence is only useful if implemented wisely.
Check out Part 2 of our BI blog series: Using Business Intelligence Intelligently – to find out how to make the best use of BI for your business.
Speak to our expert team and find out how BI can help grow your business.
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