“When you stop arguing over data and spreadsheets, you can actually focus on who is providing value to your company.”
That’s the statement many business leaders make after they’ve had a BI tool in place for a few months. The increased efficiency of decision-making on cross-departmental initiatives reduces tension among leadership teams, increases collaboration and puts everyone on the same page based on a single source of truth for company data.
With honest accountability between departments, stakeholders are able to make progress toward tangible goals much faster. The key is to ensure that critical KPIs are measured and stakeholders are held accountable.
One of the biggest benefits of using BI to increase operational efficiencies is the ability to pull not only historical data but also new data as it is being generated. This combination of real-time information alongside historical data gives decision-makers the ability to view and compare the effects of process changes quickly. In the event that something doesn’t go according to plan, the team can identify the issue and make needed adjustments or revert back to the previous process long enough to address those unexpected issues. This method of monitoring new processes reduces unnecessary actions and enables businesses to take full advantage of underused resources to better optimize business processes.
The ability to marry historical and real-time data supports both operational decision-making and strategic decision-making necessary for future planning. Identifying market trends, for example, becomes much easier with automated analysis and projections displayed visually via simple-to-read charts and graphs. Key stakeholders are able to have in-depth discussions about how to move forward based on data and can drill-down for further detail on anything that requires more extensive analysis.
The Bottom Line
BI tools provide powerful capabilities for building business and revenue models that would be incredibly difficult, error-prone and time-intensive to develop manually. This is particularly true when information is pulled from disparate systems that use varying formats and data structures. Automated data cleansing and formatting empowers businesses to create reporting via their BI tool that was not previously possible.
With the ability for business leaders throughout the organization to query, report and analyze data in new ways, they are empowered to directly impact the bottom line. For instance, if a sales VP tracks profit margins by product and notices one product in particular has an extremely high margin, he can make decisions based on that information. He may modify the sales team’s quotas for the month or work with marketing to generate a campaign to encourage additional sales for that product. Since the BI solution is integrated with the ERP system, it is easy to monitor inventory and make quick decisions to support the uptick in sales.
The power that BI provides to department leaders enables them to be more proactive. It also encourages greater collaboration across departments, as evidenced by the example above of sales, marketing and operations working together toward a common time-sensitive goal to take advantage of an opportunity in the market.
Key stakeholders working together vs. working in silos can have an enormous impact on a company’s bottom line. Empowering them to do so with an easy-to-use BI solution that incorporates data visualization, clear design, infographics and charts encourages them to be more aware of up-to-the-minutes changes in company data and more likely to act on it quickly and collaboratively.