How BI Helps Businesses in Trying Times
In just a matter of months, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit millions of businesses in more than 200 countries very hard. The vast majority of organizations have experienced significant declines in sales and revenue, and small businesses—which typically have less of a financial cushion—are struggling more than ever. Many are hemorrhaging money as a result of the fallout from the Coronavirus outbreak, or even worse, shutting down. Physical distancing has become necessary to reduce the rate of infection, and the majority of the human population are forced to remain in their homes.
Yet business must go on. And Business Intelligence (BI) provides a critical set of tools that can help organizations do that.
Working Remotely During the COVID-19 Crisis
As of this writing, more than 58,000 people have died due to the COVID-19 disease. The death toll has increased drastically in recent weeks and is expected to continue to climb. So, while the familiar benefits of working together in an office environment are generally preferred, for many businesses, having employees work from home has become the only viable choice to help tamp down the threat of the virus.
The internet has become a lifesaver. Since COVID-19 has become an integral part of our reality, it has become invaluable—personally and professionally. With a fast internet connection, we can all work from anywhere in the world. Even internet giants such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, and Amazon are asking or requiring their employees to work from home as a precaution against contracting the virus. Working remotely has become the new normal—and we don’t even know for how long it will remain so since no one can say for certain how long the virus will last.
Business Intelligence Helps in Times of Crisis
Business Intelligence (BI) consists of the software programs and sets of tools that analyze and transform the data into meaningful and actionable insights that businesses can use to manage their companies more successfully. Business data has gained recognition as the most valuable asset for virtually any business enterprise. With the best BI tools, business data can be collected, stored, and managed in a data warehouse, and then analyzed, curated, and reported on in easily-understood graphically-driven dashboards. With more decision-makers getting the information and insights they need to do their best work, BI helps provide businesses with long-term stability and offers predictive views of business operations and strategic business decisions.
“Data is what you need to do analytics. Information is what you need to do business.”John Owen
BI Can Help Businesses Make Decisions Faster
Not surprisingly, BI is playing an important role during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. As long as a business is collecting and properly managing their data, they can use it anywhere for accurate reporting, analysis, and planning.
With a robust BI platform, businesses can collect data from multiple sources throughout their organization and benefit from complete data solutions. Business Intelligence also enables businesses to collect trusted and organized sources of data on one platform with powerful BI software tools.
With its data-integrated approach and ability to deliver deeply insightful metrics on business performance, the best pf Business Intelligence platforms provide:
- Faster reporting
- High data quality
- Lower costs
- Customer satisfaction
- Ease of use
- Ready-to-use dashboards
- Better business decisions
- Long-term financial planning
Why BI Should Be A Priority During the COVID-19 Crisis
Now more than ever, businesses need to keep an eye on their financial metrics. While many organizations are forced to stop or slow down, they need visibility on their cash flow. They need to stay informed and alerted when receivables or payables are delayed so they can take necessary actions such as notifying their banks or asking for special financial aid from the government.
This is where BI comes in. Business Intelligence platforms help businesses keep a close eye on key metrics and track important indicators such as actuals vs. budget. With state-of-the-art BI software, you can pinpoint where you need to cut spending and what you need to do to keep your business alive in these extraordinary circumstances.
Another challenge that businesses are facing during the pandemic is how to keep their employees motivated—and how to keep them motivated for the long run.
The best BI platforms allow businesses to track employees’ motivation and productivity through HR dashboards and project-tracking dashboards that might include metrics such as:
- Number of tasks completed
- Average time spent on tasks or projects
- Total worked hours
- Number of delayed projects
- Number of customers requests successfully closed
When the indicators representing these metrics begin to fall, managers know that something is wrong and that they should get in touch with their teams to turn things around as quickly as possible.
BI Solutions Empower Employees
It’s been shown that if a business gives their employees only limited access to business data, they’ll feel less productive and the result can end up hurting the business. When businesses give their employees access to multiple business intelligence dashboards to support their work, it provides multiple benefits. They work smarter, make decisions faster, and more effectively monitor the key performance indicators that support your business objectives.
In other words, by granting relevant and real-time data access to employees and by giving their workforce the tools the need improve performance, businesses can dramatically boost their business’s economic growth.
Each business has its own key performance indicators (KPIs) that help them monitor, manage, and optimize their business performance. Business intelligence solutions help organizations select their most valuable and insightful KPIs based on business goals such as retention rate, recurring revenue, cash burned, sales revenue, user experience, and CSAT score.
BI can also play a key role in employee engagement. While most organizations are sure to focus on customer happiness, staying informed about and monitoring employee satisfaction and engagement is very important to a business’s success.
During a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, BI provides several benefits to keep teams on target and performing at their best:
- Helping management select the best KPIs to work with to drive efforts forward
- Creating short-term goals for teams to help them monitor stay informed about how the crisis is impacting the business
- Giving employees quick access to performance KPIs puts all team members on the same page, helps align efforts, and motivates the team towards their goals
- Allowing management to quickly create specific, customized KPI dashboards that put important insights in front of decision-makers
- Supporting efforts to convince management about additional or supplementary budgeting
Get the Most Out of Business Intelligence
How will your business survive in such tough conditions? Here are four of the most important things you can do with BI to ease your journey through them:
1. Set up clear objectives and directions
Do you have a plan for responding to the conditions of the pandemic? If not, it’s time to set your business objectives and make the directions clear for your team. Every business needs guidelines to direct their optimal path forward. If your employees know what you expect from them, your business operations will run more smoothly.
To that end, BI dashboards can be a powerful, safe hub for employees to get quick and easy access to the information they need to do their job at their best. Well-crafted business dashboards help people make decisions quickly in times of stress, unforeseen conditions, and even failures.
2. Establish a work-from-home policy
Get your team ready to work remotely. Some companies have dispatched the necessary infrastructure to employee homes. Trust your team and give them extended access to the information and data that they need. Avoid micromanaging. Develop, implement, and maintain online test strategies and plans.
Since traveling is not a viable option, save time and communicate directly with your team. Stay connected, assign jobs, ask about their health, and get your work done without putting on the pressure. Prepare your co-workers so that they can design and implement BI reporting applications—including reporting cubes and batch reports—from the comfort of their homes.
3. Set business targets
It’s easier to keep your business running if you’ve got a well-designed plan and identified achievable business targets. If you are a project leader, work with BI analysts and developers to gather requirements and to prepare the specifications and design sessions. Lack of quantitative goals can put your end-users on specific questions regarding the appropriate use of the BI tools and data.
4. Appreciate your employees
These are indeed challenging times, and employee morale needs to be maintained so people can keep working and stay healthy. Here are some suggestions:
- Ensure that they are getting the support they need from a strong team and that they’re not feeling isolated or like a failure
- Trust them on face value
- Allow them to make decisions. Absorb the risk if it goes wrong.
- Support employees’ families, show some empathy by checking on them every now and then
- Be approachable in troubling times and don’t transfer your anxiety to your staff
- Provide timely access to information about your business
The topic of leadership can warrant a full discussion of its own, but it’s important enough to take some time to underscore certain aspects of it.
Due to the global pandemic, great leadership isn’t so much about management right now, it’s about saving a business from succumbing to bad conditions. Whether managing a team in the office or remotely from home, a good leader needs to be a great communicator. When leadership provides the support their teams need and when they believe in, listen to, and respond to those on their team, they will have much more success keeping their business afloat, even amid the disastrous conditions of the day.
“Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.”Steve Jobs
With ClicData, you can monitor all of your business KPIs in live, informative dashboards in no time. Contact us today to find out more. Let us help you survive and thrive in these extraordinary times.