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How companies can use business intelligence effectively


Many organizations make the mistake of relying too heavily on business intelligence (BI) as a general rule. As if without it, they would have absolutely no way to create, sell and deliver a product or service. Yet, decades ago, long before BI and other types of software were introduced, businesses were successfully run with little more than bookkeepers, manufacturing staff and a whole lot of paper. This meant they had to find manual ways to access efficiency, but it did not prevent them from operating productively and turning a profit.

Through instinct and bottom-line numbers, the ways in which a business should be effectively operated and improved can be understood long before volumes of data are collected and analyzed. For example, Company XYZ provides a specific product and wants to sell it for a profit. In order to do so, they must build it with minimal overhead expenses, charge more than it costs to make, have enough inventory on hand to meet customer demands, and ensure that the product is of high quality to avoid returns.

The point is that businesses don’t run on BI software. They simply run better when timely information can be used to detect and correct problems or even prevent them proactively, before they have a major effect on performance.

Fast-growing companies recognize that the key to success is having a strategy in place before the business is launched. BI then becomes the tool for communicating that strategy to everyone in the organization, regardless of his or her role. With this in place, companies can be more prepared for success as they can react to business changes and be more agile than the competition.

For more information about building an effective business intelligence plan, read RSM’s three-part series: The 3 elements of a comprehensive business intelligence platform.

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