The most important task of business intelligence (BI) software is to process data into decision-making material (actionable information). Through concepts like big data, even the smallest businesses have more raw data available than ever before. The problem lies in the fact that the majority of this data tends to be quite useless in its raw form. In order to become actionable, it needs to be interpreted by a powerful and reliable enough tool. This is where BI comes in.
Other than this, the data in question needs to be easy to browse, available and kept as secure as possible. This is the job of content management systems known as intelligent information management (IIM) tools.
All in all, here are the top five benefits of using business intelligence software in 2021, regardless of your industry or business size.
Better Business Decisions
Many businessmen claim that their intuition guides their decision-making process, colloquially also referred to as a gut feeling. The problem with this process lies in the fact that not everything is as it seems. Some people have similar previous experiences, and during their decision-making process, they reflexively (and subconsciously) recall these events. This results in a feeling of familiarity, which makes them eager to avoid/engage in some scenarios. Simply put, this is a match between the cognitive model (caused by previous experience) and current experience.
People without such previous experience, unfortunately, cannot rely on intuition. Instead, they need to find a way to make their decision-making process data-driven. Even entrepreneurs with rich experience should use this method, seeing as how it’s far more reliable and more consistent. More accurate and more consistent business decisions should be your go-to when it comes to your ability to make better business decisions.
Faster Analysis of Available Data
There are a lot of problems with managing all the data that you have available due to the fact that it comes in many different forms and formats. The three most common are:
l Semi-structured data
Some data is also characterized as dark data because it’s harvested but fails to meet the purpose at the first moment. The biggest challenge with handling all of this data and turning it into proper (actionable) information lies in the fact that it’s relatively hard to interpret and analyze it in time.
There are two types of tools that can facilitate this process. The first solution to this problem can be an intelligent information management (IMM) tool like M-Files. These tools make this data more accessible. The second type is the BI tools which turn this data into actionable information.
Self-service Within Organization
Having an in-house analyst was essential for the decision-making process in the past. However, this created a problematic bottleneck, seeing as how everyone had to wait for the analyst to finish their work before proceeding with what they were doing. Now, this step can be skipped in its entirety, and all your staff members and departments can use the BI to get their own answers.
This means that even within your organization (on all levels, not just on top), more decisions are supposed to be backed by data. This form of efficiency bump can seriously increase productivity within your organization and provide you with a serious competitive edge.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that having an in-house analyst is still preferable but no longer a requirement. Sure, you should still hire one (if you can afford it), but they will no longer be bothered by your staff members regarding every minor decision and every minor task. Instead, they can focus on things that really matter; they can finally focus on the big picture and the overall strategy.
Higher Operational Efficiency
Simply put, BI increases operational efficiency in several ways. First of all, it allows a much higher degree of automation, seeing how it gets information that it can feed into the system (not just raw data). This enables automatic tools to act with more autonomy, which saves a lot of time and effort for your entire team. Like with the analyst, it allows you to redirect your human workforce towards something more relevant.
There is a long list of tasks where BI can prove to be invaluable. Some of them are:
l Inventory management
l Regulatory compliance
l Financial management
By taking on these relevant, yet arduous tasks, they take the most mundane tasks off the to-do lists of your actual workforce. This allows your workforce to focus on creative tasks, which is still outside of the capability of even the best AI tools that you can currently afford.
It can also help decrease the involvement of your IT team, which is probably overworked as it is. In other words, it makes your automated processes more accurate and requires less human input and involvement.
The last thing worth mentioning here is the use of BI to reduce your operational expenses. By taking mundane tasks from your staff members and entrusting them to an automated process, you get to save a lot of work hours. This means that you can get more done with a smaller staff.
A smaller staff means fewer paychecks. It also means a smaller inventory and fewer pieces of equipment. Skimping on office supplies and equipment is always a bad idea for young enterprises, and by lowering your needs for it, you get to save resources without entering this zone. Also, a smaller staff requires a smaller office space (probably with a lower rent). However, you don’t have to go for a smaller team. Instead, you can maintain a larger team for the same price (or just pay your team better in order to attract top talent).
By making a number of processes more efficient, you get to cut costs in various areas, which additionally reduces costs for your enterprise. Indirectly, better decision-making processes should also lead to scalable growth and more consistent financial gains.
With the right tools, you stand to get better results, cut costs, and get much more consistent results in all fields. In 2021, the use of BI tools can provide you with all these things and more. Seeing as how the majority of your competitors are already using them, the use of BI tools is no longer optional. Due to the rapid development of this technology, integrating BI tools into your business model may also make your business future-proof.