Digital Transformation

The Benefits of Business Intelligence: Utilizing Analytics for Strategy

Business intelligence tools help organizations make more out of their data through advanced data analytics, powerful reporting, and easy-to-read data visualizations.

Blog Post

8 minute read

Jun 03, 2024

Business intelligence (BI) tools offer businesses a way to make more out of their data with powerful analytics, reporting, and data visualization. Organizations can use BI tools to generate deeper insights from datasets which can then inform decision making and improved operations.  

From improving internal workflows to finding better ways to serve your audience throughout the entire consumer journey, BI tools help individuals, decision makers, and business leaders do more with the data they collect.  

Join us below to learn more about business intelligence, how modern organizations are using BI tools, and where BI fits into the larger picture of overall digital transformation.

Digital transformation initiatives can seem daunting, but they’re often well-worth the while. Learn how organizations are enhancing operations through digital transformation projects in Impact’s webinar, How Managed Digital Transformation Solves Real Challenges. 

Why Analytics Are So Important for Decision-Making

The benefits of business intelligence have pushed analytics to the top of the agenda for many organizations. Simply put, using big data and sophisticated analytics powered by BI is proven to be highly effective and substantially supplements the strategies at large.

"64% of BI users say they see an increase in business performance metrics as a result of using business intelligence tools."

BI is, first and foremost, a platform that uses data to provide business leaders powerful insights that inform decisions. Business intelligence platforms work by consolidate and organizing data which users can then run queries against to generate data visualizations and other reports.   

About a third of businesses consider themselves to be a “data-driven organization”, meaning data is already at the heart of the decision-making process for many modern companies, and BI tools only continue to empower organizations to make more out of the data they collect.

What Exactly Is Business Intelligence?

BI is a general umbrella term that refers to methods of collecting, organizing, standardizing, and analyzing data derived from business operations in order to improve processes and inform both decision making and strategizing.

BI examples include:

  • Dashboards
  • Statistical analysis
  • Reporting
  • Data visualization
  • Performance indicators
How business intelligence works

Using best practices for BI, organizations can make decisions informed by analyzing past and present data, deriving insights, and implementing strategies based on those insights. This type of digital transformation initiative has played a major role in empowering organizations to embrace modern technology that enhances operations and streamlines processes.  

Cloud technology has also made implementing sophisticated technologies, like business intelligence, much more accessible as it can lower initial expenses and essentially eliminates hardware requirements. 

Decision-Making: By Gut or By Data? 

Almost everyone has made a decision based on a gut feeling or moment of intuition. When it comes to business decisions, however, this is hardly a strategic way to run an organization. Rather than solely relying on gut-feeling, organizations like Netflix, Amazon, Airbnb, and Zillow all use a combination of business acumen and insights derived from hard-data.  

Human input has been and always will be a fundamental aspect of decision-making, but to succeed to the degree and scale of Netflix and Amazon, humanity and data need to work hand-in-hand.  

By implementing data analytics into all of your operations, you’re giving your staff the tools they need to bring their work to the next level, ultimately increasing productivity and driving the bottom line.

Decentralizing Your Data

The benefits of business intelligence within an organization have often been dictated by the size and agility of the business. Historically, it’s also been difficult for smaller organizations to implement sophisticated data analytics due to the cost and the limited data sets. However, with advancements in cloud technology, analytical tools have become much more accessible and data is abundant.

With a lower barrier to entry and a greater percentage of BI apps in use, business intelligence is enjoying huge popularity with organizations of all sizes.

Traditionally, data has been a highly centralized aspect of business operations. Namely, IT departments would have complete control over data sets within a company and be the sole point of contact for access requests. 

Decentralizing this data and allowing it to become accessible across departments increases collaboration and prevents operational silos from developing. This makes it easier for individual staff members to both find and use data in their everyday work flows.

Decentralization can be done in a number of ways. For example, a managed service provider can implement an intelligence platform that delivers reporting and analytic insights with an app accessible anytime, anywhere. 

A good intelligence platform can manage, model, visualize, and predict data in one place and provide a user-friendly experience. 

Fresh Customer Insights

The principal goal of BI is generating deeper insights from larger, comprehensive data sets that were previously dormant and underused by companies. When implemented properly, these insights lead to stronger operations and better processes. 

Using intelligence platforms and dashboards to sort through data effectively is key to discovering new opportunities for both innovation and growth. Applying data-based practices can also give you more insight into the wants and needs of your consumers – shedding light on how to best serve them. 

Maybe you want to provide them with a more personalized experience during the buyer’s journey? Maybe you want to understand consistent strengths and weaknesses in your customer interactions and formulate a plan for improving your relationships?  

Conducting data analytics on your existing customers can help you prepare for your future customers and give you a huge advantage in establishing more successful practices that generate a high-quality customer experience, and in turn, consumer loyalty. 

Cash Flow

When it comes down to it, budget is one of the most important considerations when it comes to implementing business intelligence or realizing other digital transformation initiatives.

However, one of the benefits of business intelligence is the opportunity to identify weak spots in your budgeting or cash-flow management, giving you the chance to eliminate unnecessary costs. For example, guesswork can be removed from the inventory processes, allowing businesses to know the exact volume needed for current demands.  

Business intelligence tools also enable the analysis of cash flow history, operating expenses, and accounts payable/receivable which can be acquired directly from ERP software modules and included in your business plan.

With better data analysis, decision makers and executives can generate easy-to-read and digestible reports on demand and as often as needed, be it daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly.  

Efficiency & Productivity

When a department or team has access to information that helps them perform tasks better, there is a clear improvement in productivity. Staff who might otherwise be preoccupied pursuing tasks that don’t align with business strategy can save time and money by focusing on jobs that need their attention. 

BI tools give you KPIs and metrics from which employees can make informed decisions backed by applicable data. Analytics software enables decision makers and managers to pinpoint challenges, identify opportunities, and optimize processes. 

Final Takeaways on Business Intelligence Takeaways 

Business intelligence enables seamless and immediate data sharing across departments. By adopting BI tools, organizations prevent data siloing, making data easily accessible without the need for complex retrieval processes. BI tools also provide advanced insights into customer behaviors, allowing companies to better strategize to meet their demands.  

Additionally, financial insights from BI help businesses make informed cash flow decisions, improving their bottom line. Managers also gain constant access to data on employee activities, saving time on administrative tasks and boosting staff productivity and efficiency.

If you want to learn more about digital transformation and how organizations are using modern technologies to address challenges and better operations, check out Impact’s webinar, How Managed Digital Transformation Solves Real Challenges


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