How To Become Bi Ready

Managers and organizational chiefs know that their company data has a story to tell. Non-profits, academia, and businesses alike care about the success of their organizations and ultimately want them to meet their goals. That desire to reach their objectives and accomplish their business goals as effectively as possible drives the impulse to upgrade reporting and to incorporate business intelligence for optimal results.

The question is: Is your organization business-intelligence ready?

Business analysts are of course familiar with spreadsheets and pivot tables, and they invest a lot of time summarizing data to provide answers to very specific—often one-off—questions. These fire drills are usually the result of a management epiphany that some product or process is not meeting expectations or otherwise due to the lack of a quantifiable single version of the truth (SVOT.)

But just because an organization has a resource that can produce one-off Excel reporting doesn’t mean that it is business-intelligence ready. For an organization to be ready for the full benefit of business intelligence, it must be able to define what, who, and how. And it does so with an actionable dashboard.

What?

What is the objective of your sales reporting?

When faced with this question, most managers and leaders’ knee-jerk response is: “Well, it’s to tell us the numbers.” But that’s the wrong answer. The goal for a sales dashboard is to point you to the action(s) you need to take to either stay on track—or course correct—to achieve your goal. It’s to help the sales leader know where they should focus their attention in order to optimize their—and their team’s—efforts.

Being BI-ready means that you want to know the whole story that your data can tell you—not just the numbers. A sales dashboard lets you see the big picture, and understand the context of your data, because of its automated connections to your CRM, telephony system, marketing platforms, and other data resources.

Numbers aren’t enough. Context is everything. For example, if a report discloses that your team reached 55 prospects when your goal was 70, is that good? How do you know the actions to take? The number itself is hardly actionable. Sales dashboards can provide smart insights for each rep and each team, such as:

  • 31 calls were made to 22 current prospects (Team avg=35; Goal of 40)
  • 24 calls were made to 14 new prospects (Team avg=19; Goal of 30)
  • 14 new prospects added (Marketing goal=25)
  • 3.7 hours were spent on calls
  • 1.2 hours were spent on demos
  • 7 new deals created (Goal of 10)
  • 240% pipeline-to-quota (team average is 210% with a goal of 300%)
  • 97% predicted quota attainment
  • 84% actual quota-to-date attainment

With access to multiple data sources, sales dashboards give sales managers a much more powerful understanding of team performance. More importantly, managers are able to see the specific next steps to take to move things forward. They’ll also quickly discern if their lead funnels are no longer working if the goals are out of line with reality, or of if sales efforts need to be refocused.

True BI can be delivered every day, every morning—or any time—without any action from employees. True BI is automated and accessible by anyone (with permission), anywhere, on any device.

Who?

The question isn’t: “Who’s going to do it?” as you might expect. It’s “Who is going to be a part of it?”

 People often think the first question to ask is: “Who is going to create the spreadsheets?” But what should be asked is: “Who are the champions from each department who will ensure adoption of this new, true single version of the truth?” And the question needs to start at the top and must go down to the front line with people who can explain both to their peers and their leadership what the numbers mean and what the feedback is those numbers.

A word about feedback. Some people stop using reporting because they don’t like what the reports have to tell them. But that’s not a good option. If you don’t like the numbers—what the data is reporting—it doesn’t mean they’re not true. I grew up with a motto that I still use today:

Don’t let the facts insult you. If you don’t like the facts, take action to change the future.”

BI champions are those who will help ensure consistent review as well as acceptance and adoption of the data that is reported.

How?

Finally, how is BI readiness going to get done?

The first steps to being BI ready are not hard, they just take some thought.

  • Pick a department to be your test subjects, these should be folks that rely on data or have company-critical KPIs
  • Find a champion, someone who likes to be part of the company or department innovation to be the KPI Dashboard advocate
  • Create a list of the systems used by your test group and the KPIs that are linked to which systems. – think about where the data comes for the KPIs originate, i.e. you CRM, Quickbooks, etc.

We can help. ClicData offers free assessments and templates to get your organization BI-ready.

What if, within two weeks of starting the process, you were able to understand what actions you need to take to ensure tomorrow’s success—all before your first cup of coffee? It’s doable.

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