What does business intelligence mean to you and your company? Most business owners think they have a pretty good idea, when the reality is that our grasp on this most vital of business tools is all too often outdated and no longer fit for purpose. Just like other concepts and tools inside and beyond the corporate world, the ideas behind business intelligence have seen dramatic changes in recent years – fuelled not least by the arrival of a new generation of entrepreneurs who have set out to do things differently. If you can still see these outdated beliefs in your approach to business intelligence, it’s time to change.
Business intelligence should be simple
For too long now, business owners have been fed the idea by business intelligence tool providers that the means by which we understand our organization’s success should be as easy to digest as possible. That has led companies to take an overly simplified view of business intelligence. It is one that just doesn’t deliver the same depth of useful analytical detail that we need if we are going to really understand what’s behind growth (or lack of it). Nor does it allow us to genuinely develop a sense for the direction our companies need to be moving in – and how to get them there.
While simple BI tools will work just fine for some organizations, the majority of us need to be demanding more complex, sophisticated tools to manipulate and generate value from the wealth of data that is at our fingertips. We are in an era where there is still value to be gained, but you have to dig a little deeper for it – and if you’re using outdated software that just isn’t up to the job, you’re going to struggle.
Big data is the be-all, end-all
We have no problem with big data – large-scale changes in industry practices, and our understanding of the ways our businesses work and grow, depend on it. But there’s a mammoth difference between using big data for the sake of it – because we’ve got into the mentality that its ability to deliver industry-wide improvements means it’s the magic cure for our organizations – and putting in place solutions that enable our front-line staff to actually use it.
After all, what’s the point in generating terabytes and terabytes of information if our outdated business intelligence tools aren’t capable of empowering non-technical staff to gain true insights into customer behavior, sales patterns and the like? Recent business intelligence sector developments mean that our companies can benefit from quality tools to visualize simple data collections, but the ability to do the same on a larger scale is still lacking. The lesson? If you’re looking to reap the rewards of large-scale data collection, equip your team with the tools that allow them to perform quality analysis.
The cloud alone is the answer
“The cloud” is the IT industry’s latest buzzword, but too often it gets touted around as an all-round solution that will solve each of our woes, without us really understanding its true purpose or how we can get the most from it. This is particularly the case in relation to business intelligence, where company owners are frequently led to believe that they can instantly enhance their business intelligence capabilities simply by moving everything upstairs to the cloud.
We’re big fans of the cloud and believe that with proper understanding and implementation it can pay real dividends. But the truth is that simply repeating your usual business intelligence routine – but doing so in the cloud – isn’t going to change much. If your business intelligence tools are too conventional and don’t offer enough flexibility, that will still be the case even if you put cloud technology over the top of them. It’s important to address the underlying issues before you contemplate a move to the cloud, so that you can truly reap the advantages of both changes.
If you’re guilty of being stuck with an outdated, or just off-center, view of business intelligence, give us a call to see how we can update you and help you to get the most out of it.