Lets explore the definition of business intelligence(BI). It is an umbrella term that combines architectures, applications, and databases. It enables the real-time, interactive access, analysis, and manipulation of information, which provides the business community with easy access to business data. By analyzing the past and present business situations and performances, BI provides valuable insight to any organization.
So for the question of where BI system is used, the answer is pretty much at all levels of any orgaization - small, medium and large.
Indicators that signal need of BI solution
BI implementation is driven by some key indicators and multiple aspects is considered as it is a huge investment. Specific issues or scenarios that are good indicators a BI discussion should take place include:
- The need to integrate data from multiple business applications or data sources
- Lack of visibility into the company’s operations, finances, and other areas
- The need to access relevant business data quickly and efficiently
- Increasing volume of users requiring and accessing information and more end-users requiring analytical capabilities
- Rapid company growth or a recent or pending merger/acquisition
- Introduction of new products
- Upgrades within the IT environment
Further to respond to a question of where we need BI, we can explore threee key departments of any organization - finance, sales, and marketing - to understand the BI needs.
Examples of how sales department uses BI solutoin
Sales persons or sales managers will benefit from keeping track of their pipelines and forecasts. Historical analysis can help sales teams understand the drivers of won vs. lost deals, which can then be used to make more accurate (predictive) sales forecasts. So, effective BI tools can guide their team’s activities toward achieving quarterly and annual objectives.
By becoming proactive, sales executives can push their top products to sell more and reach their revenue targets. Also, they can look at bottlenecks for products performing not so well to fix the issue.
Examples of how finance department uses BI solutoin
Traditionally, creating plans and forecasts were difficult for a finance department as 95% of the team’s time is spent on collecting data, and only 5% is spent doing the more important task of analyzing it. BI tools can alleviate reporting, budgeting and planning frustrations by consolidating data from different sources, increasing visibility into business data across the organization and equipping finance leaders with tools to streamline the workflow of the reporting, planning and forecasting processes.
More importantly, finance department will be further empowered by ability to perform what-if (predictive) scenarios that help them determine the best course of action for the future. They can also access complex visualizations like Pareto charts to determine their (historically) most-to-least profitable customers and operational visualizations that enable them to monitor accounts receivables data.
Examples of how marketing department uses BI solutoin
Marketing is one of the major cost center for any organization. Effective management of this section of the company is very critical to achieve success.
Funds spent on lead generation programs, booths at trade shows, and website advertisements add up very quickly, and rightly so leaders want to see revenue returns on these investments. BI helps marketers understand how successful their campaigns were, keeping them on a path of generating revenue for the organization. As marketing gets more focused on proving ROI, they can use BI tools to answer the question, “what campaigns have been successful and how successful have they been?”. Solid BI solution will enable sales manager to analyse key sales metrics such as number of business opportunities gained as a result of a specific marketing campaign, the monetary value of those opportunities, and how many of those opportunities resulting from the campaign were closed/won.