BI and Business Analytics: A Bright Idea for Bold Business

When it comes to hiring high-potential employees, many thought leaders agree on the importance of a single distinguishing characteristic: emotional intelligence. While relevant job skills remain important to success in a single role, emotional intelligence is the soft skill that makes it possible for workers to interface effectively with their colleagues and drive progress across roles.

If you think of your company as an entity capable of growing and evolving, what aspect of the organization serves the same connective purpose as emotional intelligence serves for your employees? Perhaps more than anything else, business analytics (or business intelligence) enables you to stay fully apprised of the health of your organization and respond to rapid change.

Even knowing this, you may wonder: What is the best approach for implementing business intelligence (“BI”) in my organization? This post explores some best practices for adopting business analytics services in a company of any size.

Step 1: Identify Available Data Sources

Although you may already have some idea of the metrics you want to monitor, you must first determine whether the data behind those metrics is even accessible in your systems. You can start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What data is being stored in my systems?
  • What are the limitations on these data or systems?
  • How can I harvest the available data (through APIs or directly from a database)?
  • Who owns the available data (internal or external stakeholders)?

Your answers to these questions will reveal strengths and potential weaknesses in your current setup, giving you the opportunity to adapt as needed for cleaner information gathering.

Also ReadPurpose of Big Data Analytics

Step 2: Define the Relationships You Want to Track

Once you are confident your systems can produce the data you want to utilize, you will next need to state the trends you would like to trace. Business analytics is entirely about helping leaders understand connections between disparate parts of their organization. Here are some examples of important relationships you may want to visualize:

  • The monthly ratio of sales to clients by market share or industry
  • The cost of units sold versus profit margins across product lines
  • The impact of flexible work schedules on hours logged

The critical action of this step is to match your intuition about your business with the right questions about possible correlations between elements you cannot fully see today. Our business analytics consulting services can help you tailor these questions to your objectives.

Step 3: Select a BI Platform

Business analytics companies offer a wide range of products to help you visualize your data in meaningful ways. In fact, this is the essential value add of business intelligence platforms: optimizing data representations for decision making. These are some things to consider as you try to make your selection:

  • The data intake mechanism should be simple and straightforward
  • The introduction of new variables should be efficient and effective
  • The visualizations (reporting) should be tailored but still dynamic

During this step, look beyond the most popular business analytics services to find the one that best suits the idiosyncrasies of your business.

Also Read: Interactive Data Visualization

Step 4: Create an Action Plan and Train Stakeholders

Even if your organization has a high average emotional intelligence quotient, terabytes of good data will do you little good until they can propel the workforce towards good decisions. This requires a strong strategy surrounding the way insights are communicated and digested throughout your organization.

Our business analytics consulting team can help you optimize whichever BI platform you choose for your business needs. We can also help you deliver targeted trainings to key stakeholders. Through our own strategic relationships with business analytics companies and clients like you, we have learned how to integrate analytics into the very culture of our customers’ organizations—we look forward to helping you do the same!

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