Business Intelligence? Or Business Intuition?
How do you make your business decisions? Facts or intuition...
How do you measure performance? Actionable metrics or gut feel...
Do I have good business intelligence? What is it?
If you Google ‘Business Intelligence’ the top search Wikipedia offers this insight:
“Business intelligence (BI) mainly refers to computer-based techniques used in identifying, extracting, and analyzing business data ... BI uses technologies, processes, and applications to analyze mostly internal, structured data and business processes. Business intelligence aims to support better business decision-making...”
But even this explanation is out of date as external and unstructured data are falling within the scope. UKITA offers this interpretation and helps put it in context for the SME market.
In simple terms business intelligence encapsulates the interaction and collaboration of data, technology, processes and people to give a competitive edge ...and every business is at a different stage in their BI strategic evolution. There are significant benefits from getting this right and threats for poorly executed or zero strategy. Assessing the four key ingredients in turn:
The volumes of data available to companies are expanding at rates never seen before. The traditional internal sources are being augmented by large volumes of external and unstructured data from web and social media sources and data coming from the adoption of new technologies such as RFID and smart sensors. The key challenge is how these rich data assets can be translated into business value.
The technology landscape is moving rapidly with virtualisation, cloud computing, the Web 2.0
technologies (social networks, wikis and blogs) and software capable of analysing huge data sets at a transactional level. The growth in mobile devices is driving the way in which data is consumed by the customer and is increasing the need for companies to provide Mobile BI. These technology changes have made BI, once the reserve of large companies, accessible to all. But technology is just an enabler in this journey.
Getting your business processes aligned to your business model and operating as efficiently as possible has always been a critical success factor. The advances in both data and technology are challenging some of the traditional business models and processes. Customers are becoming more demanding and the speeds at which decisions need to be made are shortening.
It is the role of people that ensures whether these three factors can be harnessed successfully. These people include all stakeholders in a business...including shareholders, management, staff, customers and suppliers. The organisational agility of SME’s put them in a strong position to take advantage of an increased focus on their BI strategy.
UKITA will be providing their members and customers with guidance on how to assess the options and implementation of successful business intelligence and data strategies.
As Sherlock Holmes said “Give me data dear Watson!! I can then make an informed deduction!
UKITA thanks Peter Dean from Business Intelligence and Strategy for the use of this article.