Whatever type or size of business you operate, one thing is virtually guaranteed; you will be handling data and lots of it. How you handle that data is going to impact on the efficiency of your business and that is where the latest generation of BI (Business Intelligence) software programs and platforms come into the picture.
Self-serving BI systems
In the coming year (2019) more data is going to be self-served and analyzed by businesses using such systems than it is by actual data scientists. One staggering fact that accompanies this news is that it will be done with little if any IT (Information Technology) assistance. That can only be good news for business owners who need to deal with an ever-increasing data lake and who don’t have massive investments in IT.
Answering your leading question
Any business owner or manager reading this article is more than likely going to be asking the one million dollar question “is a self-serving BI platform a worthwhile investment for my business or organization?” The short answer is “yes” and in the following article, we will guide through some of the questions you are likely to be asking and hopefully provide the answers that will equip you to make a best-informed decision.
Why the use of BI and business intelligence continues to rise
As a business operator or manager, you won’t need us to tell you that the biggest challenge to expanding operations is that of remaining competitive in your chosen market place. Even if you operate for non-profit, you are in effect constantly competing with rising costs and budget controls. The hard truth is that handling data takes time and we all know that time ultimately equates to money.
It follows, therefore, that the quicker your data analysis done the less costly it will be and that is the purpose and reason for the continuing emergence of BI systems. As with every other aspect of your business, data moves fast and you need to keep pace with it. That isn’t going to happen without the systems that are designed to deal with business data though unless you have money and manual resources to waste.
So what is a “modern” BI system?
A modern BI system is best described as one that achieves everything that your old manual spread-sheets and collation methods did before then taking it to the next level. That level is “analytics” and it is through the modern BI system’s ability to link data sources, interrogate the data, and then analyze it that strategic business decisions can be made.
While the above description could be viewed as something of an oversimplification, it effectively describes what a modern BI system can do.
It doesn’t end there, however, because such systems use sophisticated algorithms to “discover” insights from the data that most businesses and organizations may otherwise not have been immediately aware of. Such systems provide a flexible, agile, and hi-speed data analysis process that allows businesses to access their most crucial data in real-time.
So what are the practical implications for a business that adopts a modern BI analytics system?
As we have touched upon already, there is much more to a modern BI data analytics platform than just its ability to speed up your data processing. When used to maximum effect, a robust system will provide everything from previously undiscovered revenue opportunities to improved leads and much more besides.
Small businesses in particular often struggle with their available resources and also experience operational difficulties in linking teams and individuals to the information (data) that best benefits them. A modern BI platform is likely to be a godsend to such businesses and organizations because it addresses every single one of the issues that such a situation throws up. Through specially created user dashboards and mobile data access, there is the ability for virtually anyone with permission to view the data. This means that a business can link every employee with the data that is most relevant to them and/or their teams.
What about data bottlenecks and other issues while installing a BI system?
Business owners and managers are no different from anyone else when it comes to stepping outside of their comfort zones and it is just as easy to talk yourself out of implementing a BI system as it is to relish the prospect. Fear of bottlenecks, disruption, and lost data during the installation phase are among some of the most common arguments put forward for not stepping out.
The “if it isn’t broken let’s not fix it” attitude may also crop up and many businesses may balk and miss the opportunity to move forward with their data handling. Implementation of a modern BI system is rather akin to a holistic business approach in so much as it operates to connect your existing systems together and produce free-flowing data streams where there may have once been stagnation. Education and system readiness is the best advice that any business could make use of prior to a BI system installation.
Making your own mind up
There is one thing that you can be certain of in the current fast-paced business environment and that is that data will continue to have an increasing role in the operation of every business and organization. You shouldn’t have to consider much of the above for too long before you recognize the fact that data can be a burden or an asset to your business.
By implementing a modern BI analytics system sooner rather than later you will reap the benefits of improved data handling and that can only enhance virtually every aspect of your business.
Something else that you can count on is that while you remain on the fence many of your direct competitors are already sitting back comfortably in the knowledge that they have a firm handle on the data that will put their businesses out in front.