Business Intelligence

Debunking the Business Intelligence myths and establishing successful data-driven businesses

In a recent research report by Market Research Future, the Business Intelligence (BI) Market is estimated to reach USD 73.57 billion at a CAGR of 13.1% by 2030.  The growth drivers, among others, include the increasing use of Big Data and Cloud Computing.  BI tools enhance internal business processes, speed up as well as improve decision-making, provide a boost to operational effectiveness and revenues and thus help organizations achieve a competitive edge.  Yes, in today’s fast-paced marketplace, businesses are in a constant search for trying to look for innovative methods to obtain and sustain a competitive edge.  Data is the key for them to succeed in their efforts.

However, not all businesses and their leaders agree that investing in BI is a smart thing to do for their organization’s growth.  Many managers think they are saving money for the organization in doing so, whereas in reality by not implementing BI they are losing customers to competitors who are using the technology to enhance their operations. The users of BI are mining and taking the most appropriate action on the data treasure related to markets, customers, growth patterns, and more.

Organizations can benefit tremendously by understanding the misconceptions surrounding BI and invalidating them.  This can lead to businesses taking an active BI approach to succeed and stay ahead of the curve in today’s competitive marketplace.

Myth 1: Data is valuable, but the time of its collection and processing is not

We all acknowledge that data keeps changing with time.  It is critical to analyze the raw data the minute it enters the database.  Getting the right insights at the appropriate time ensures the health of the organization and lays the foundation for further strong growth.  Yes, what happens today may not be applicable the next month, therefore capturing the data points in near  real-time on a single board establishes the real value of the data.  A business intelligence solution gives access to real-time data and helps in reducing the risk of potential human errors.  Data-driven decisions enable the organization to address operational inefficiencies, attend to any market changes, and enhance customer experience while ensuring better business outcomes.

Myth 2: Only large enterprises are benefitted from BI

Many founders of small and medium businesses assume that BI tools are created to be used by large enterprises with a huge customer base across different geographies.  In reality, these technologies are not the property of big corporations only, as it is equally crucial for SMBs to leverage data analysis to optimize their business processes.  Irrespective of data size, all companies, large and small should deploy BI tools to remain competitive.  Businesses have to rely on feedback, reviews, and ratings today more than ever before where a local Kirana store has to compete with the Amazons of the world.  Not-so-large organizations, including manufacturers, can use data to monitor warehouse activities and enhance production and supply chain processes.  Any bottlenecks or downtime can be eliminated too, leading to an increase in throughput.

Myth 3: BI is very expensive

It is a common opinion that BI is too expensive and companies and best suited for companies with large budgets to leverage the solution as it requires continuous upgrades. There is a strong possibility here that the BI tool is not delivering real value and organizations go ahead to add costly features for rectifying the problem but eventually not succeeding.  Instead, organizations should at the outset develop a BI strategy by keeping in view their goals, and the resources including manpower to achieve them with appropriate inputs and processes.  Only after this, should the decision of investing in the appropriate BI tool be made.  Even here, money should be spent on what is specifically required to make data-driven decisions for delivering exceptional customer experience.

Myth 4: A spreadsheet is powerful enough

Excel sheet that has been traditionally used no doubt has served the purpose all these years and is an effective tool for providing historical data.  However, in the current predominantly digital era and with huge volumes of data, managing it is nearly impossible with spreadsheets.  On the other hand, the right BI tools can collect data in real-time from multiple data sources, and compress and analyze it in addition to automating the reporting process.  Furthermore, the BI tools provide visualization capabilities with an enhanced security feature which is crucial for protecting data, the new gold in a constantly expanding threat landscape.  This sophisticated task is not possible with traditional excel sheets.

Several innovative BI organizations are constantly improving their solutions and have made them affordable and easy to use for users.  Many organizations adopting BI tools and techniques are benefitting from the valuable insights that are delivered and marching forward leaving their competitors much behind.  These companies can make better decisions and achieve higher productivity and growth with better business outcomes.  As BI is becoming an integral part of the organization’s growth, leaders must have a strong understanding of the tool to accurately apply and succeed.   With this ability, C-Suite executives and Business Unit heads can monitor business performance continuously and address issues as and when they occur, thereby saving time and resources and driving efficiency. 

By Ms Anjna Bhati, Director Data Analytics and AI, BluePi Consulting

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