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While you have probably heard Business Intelligence, you may not know what it can do for your business. Since it’s a hot topic right now because ‘big data’ is news too, you might think it’s a new technology. The reality is that it’s been around a long time.

In the beginning, there were simply 0s and 1s. Today, there are still 0s and 1s – but now we have the capability to organize and display them to give actionable insight(s) so businesses can make better decisions both strategically and tactically. BI gives your data meaning and relevance to your organization’s performance.

To get technical about it, Business Intelligence (BI) is not just about technology. Instead, it’s the process of people, practices AND technologies converging to show pictures – created by synthesizing data – about how the organization is doing in terms of growth and deficit. With clear understanding of what’s happening through cleansed, enhanced and integrated data, you can make more informed decisions about everything from resource allocation to forecasting trends to adjusting marketplace strategy.

You know your organization needs BI when you have lots of data but you’re using spreadsheets to convey it, or you have lots of data but don’t really have actionable information, or your IT Department goes white at the thought of integrating disparate data from different sources. Another sign is if you need a report but have to wait to get it from the IT Department (which doesn’t make their day either). Basically, if you don’t know what areas of your business are doing well or what areas aren’t meeting company performance targets, it’s time to meet BI.

In the old days – like, three years ago – BI meant reports shown in tables of columns and rows. Now BI means having a dashboard with dynamic custom, visual reports, charts and graphs that allow you to filter into the relevant information and drill down into the detail.

We can talk about features of BI, like improved data integration and integrity, quicker recognition of critical information, historical analysis for forecasting, faster and more accurate reporting but most people just want to know what BI can do for them.

So the benefits of BI are significant:

  • Delivers insights across all areas of your organization,
  • Provides user-friendly current data in visually-relevant reports and dashboards,
  • Boosts productivity as problem areas are identified and adjusted,
  • Supports informed decision-making both strategically and tactically,
  • Gives a unified, holistic view of your customers,
  • Allows non-tech personnel to run self-service reports (without IT support),
  • Integrates data with agility for speed and staff responsiveness,
  • Expands to meet dynamic business needs as they present, and,
  • At the risk of sounding sales-y, so much more.

Companies use BI to conduct marketplace analysis, sales and supply analysis, performance and productivity analysis, behavioral analysis, marketing campaign strategy and more. If your organization is not using data to make decisions, it’s like flying a 747 plane without instruments – you’re flying blind.

To round out this crash course in BI, like with any technology solution, there are a few different types of services that are typically needed to implement a robust BI solution. For example, your organization may need an assessment to know exactly what is needed for BI and how to best implement it in your scenario, custom data warehouse solutions (where the data is stored), solution build-out (for visual dashboards), training on how to maintain BI systems as well as train users and more.

BI depends on people to work well for any organization – the technology is just a tool and the practices are standard workflows. The critical success factor in any BI initiative is the people. Our primary core value is relationships – we care about you and your people first. If a solution doesn’t make sense for the people, we keep working until we (meaning our clients working with XTIVIA) identify the right BI solution.

So what does Business Intelligence DO? The bottom line is that it synthesizes data to help your people be more effective, strategic and productive so the organization achieves its goals as efficiently as possible.

To learn more, please see this page that’s all about BI. And if you want to talk about BI solutions specifically for your organization, we’d love to help! Let us know by completing the form on this page – we’re waiting to meet you and learn more about your BI needs.

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