Hubert Tsai

Business Analyst

February 27, 2014

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10 Reasons You Should Be Using A Business Intelligence Tool

Why BI tools are fast becoming companies most important business strategy.

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Large retailers receive mountains of transaction numbers daily, and they know there are insights to be found in these numbers, but they first need to be translated into useful information and knowledge so that managers can use this information to respond to markets immediately.

In the past, staff would use a variety of analytic tools and methods, and managers would often ask assistants to spend more time gathering vast arrays of additional information. This was both time consuming and costly. Now, Business Intelligence (BI) tools are becoming the go-to solution for processing, visualizing and utilizing spatial data.

Here are the top 10 benefits of using a BI tool that should compel you and your team to start looking for a BI tool today: 

1 – BI tools increase prediction accuracy

“Running a business shouldn’t be like gambling,” said Ken Dixon, former executive vice president of marketing at Kogent Corporation. “Far too often, executives must rely on ‘best guess’ and ‘gut feel’ decisions as they attempt to steer their companies into the future. They do this because their business data lacks any structure to allow them to make truly informed choices. Business intelligence can provide more accurate historical data, real-time updates, synthesis between departmental data stores, forecasting and trending, and even predictive ‘what if?’ analysis,” eliminating the need to “guesstimate”.

2 – BI Tools gather information faster

“BI tool users can quickly get answers to business questions, rather than spending hours reading through volumes of printed reports,” said Wende Cover, former director of strategic marketing at MicroStrategy.

3 – BI tools allow users to access key business metrics and reports at anytime, anywhere

Many BI tools are making it possible for users to access key business metrics, reports and dashboards on mobiles devices like their iPhone, iPad, Android or BlackBerry. Sales and marketing people can access critical business information on the fly.

4 – BI tools skillfully help you understand your customers

Through a BI tool, companies can gain the visibilities into what customers are buying. Further it can give them “the ability to turn this knowledge into additional profit and retain valuable customers,” said Mike Meikle, CEO of the Hawkthorne Group, a boutique management and information technology consulting group that advises companies on business intelligence tools.

5 – BI tools identify cross-selling and up-selling opportunities

BI tools can “leverage customer data to build, refine and modify predictive models [that help] sales representatives to up-sell and cross-sell products at appropriate customer touch points,” said Mohit Joshi, senior vice president and global head of financial services at Infosys.

6 – BI tools save training costs

Through using a BI tool, information centralization makes staffs get familiar with similar user interface and functions. It can help shorten learning curve especially when staffs are asked to rotate to different departments and/or regions regularly.

7 – BI tools are a superior way to manage inventory and manufacturing costs

A BI tool can help you “order the right amount of inventory at the right time so that customers receive their products when they need them, and your business doesn’t bear the cost of stocking excess inventory,” noted John Krech, the president and founder of ePhiphony. “Business intelligence software can give users greater insight into manufacturing costs and the ability to adjust production on the fly for greater profitability,” said Meikle.

8 – BI tools boost efficiency

“Many companies waste significant time hunting for data from within various departmental data sources which they need to help understand what is going on in their business,” said Dixon. “Then if they are lucky enough to find the information they want, they then need to convert, merge and report on if effectively, communicate opinions about it internally, discuss its accuracy, etc.” However, by using BI tool, all the information is centralized and can be viewed in a dashboard or turned into a report, saving enormous amounts of time and eliminating inefficiencies.

9 – BI tools enforce the power of teamwork

By using a steady BI tool, staffs from top level to bottom level can more easily get a consensus about company’s goals, current performance and gaps. Then the organization will move forward to the same direction of improvement. “With detailed insights into business performance, organizations can easily see where they need to make changes to streamline operations,” said Cover.

10 – BI tools help you see the bigger picture ( even on small screens )

“Business Intelligence has been very successful at explaining what happened to the business over some defined period of time — for example, how many units were sold, through which store, in which geography, or by which customer segment,” said Sid Probstein, CTO of Attivio. “These issues are now well understood, and so the next generation of competitive advantage comes from analyzing unstructured content to understand how and why these things happen. From simple content-based metrics to sophisticated sentiment analysis, [business intelligence software can] provide a more complete view on customer and competitor experience and opportunities therein,” and help executives plan for the future.

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