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BI and KPI – Two Acronyms Every Business Should Embrace
While many business professionals are trying hard to eliminate acronyms from their vocabulary, it may be a futile battle with new ones popping up every day. Whether you use the acronym or say the words, the fact remains that some of these phrases can be game-changers for your organization.

Business Intelligence (BI)

Take, for instance, Business Intelligence (BI), which is taking the world by storm. In fact, it is changing the world, or at least the way businesses operate within the world. There are limitless use cases for BI. The challenge for each of us is to determine exactly how it can be used to create the most significant impact on our businesses.

There are numerous instances where BI is used to gauge company performance. Tracking sales is one easily identifiable project which can provide you detailed information on everything from regional comparisons, to individual sales reps performance, to the likelihood of a customer to buy an add-on product within a given timeframe after purchasing their initial product. When BI dashboards are deployed to consolidate information from systems across the organization, the data transforms into the exact information your team needs in order to adjust processes and improve your business.

Another effective use of BI is setting up dashboard to help evaluate your marketing efforts. This can be done on a per campaign basis to determine the success rate for each campaign across the continuum of individual activities. For example, you may want to track the open rate of an email, click-thru rate, CTA success, number of leads, number of opportunities, etc. for one campaign, and then compare the effectiveness of that campaign to other campaigns running. This level of detail enables the marketing team to refine their efforts, focus on the most effective campaigns and provide the sales team with valuable information on the behavior and interest level of new opportunities.

The true value of BI becomes apparent when you decide what you need to track for your business. Start with your company goals, or maybe your biggest challenges – whatever is a top priority to improve. If you collect relative data in a system within your business, you can integrate it into a BI tool and pull actionable data.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

This brings us to the second acronym we all should embrace: Key Performance Indicator (KPI). With the ability to track such a vast amount of data, it’s tempting to set up lots of programs and try to improve everything at once. Typically, this doesn’t prove to be the most productive route. There are only so many things you can focus on at a given time within the business. Review your options and consider what areas can make the most impact on success. Choose wisely and set up only a few initial programs to get started.

When setting up your KPIs, start with your end goal in mind. You must know what you want to affect and why before you begin. For instance, what customer satisfaction levels are you striving for across your inbound calls? Is there a specific number of leads you must generate each month, and what is your cost per lead threshold? Don’t limit yourself with traditional thinking based on information you believe you can capture. Instead, think openly about what you want to know and then work backward to figure out how to get it and what systems will need to be connected. Think about how you will evaluate your KPI data and how you will make adjustments based on the results. Choosing a KPI that results only in interesting stats and talking points may indeed be interesting, but if it isn’t something you can act on to impact your business, then it isn’t all that beneficial.

When looking for a BI and KPI dashboarding tool, make sure it integrates with the data sources you need most and is easily customizable to suit your needs. It should offer real-time data and enable you to schedule the frequency of data pulls. Graphical representation with drill-down capabilities provide the most useful results that can easily be discussed and shared with associates at all levels of the organization. This will help ensure your BI and KPI data is being used to impact the changes most critical to the optimizing the health of your organization.