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It’s time to talk about BI…

Or, should I say, it’s time to talk about your business, as the technology part that digs out the ‘intelligence’ should always come second.

Let me explain why.

Business intelligence (BI) is one of the many processes that can play a part in the operation of a business. As a concept, it’s nothing new, but achieving high quality results from utilising it effectively is a skill yet to be harnessed by the masses. Even though the innovative, intelligent technologies behind it are now affordable and accessible to businesses of all sizes.

Typically, for all other processes in your business, there will be specifically determined KPIs in place to measure how effectively each are running, and decisions about altering those processes or introducing new ones would not be made without considering those objectives.

This is the same approach that businesses should take when it comes to BI. It’s all too easy to adopt a new piece of kit with the aim of uncovering insights and transforming data into actionable intelligence, but how will you measure your return on investment (ROI) if clear business objectives are not set? The answer is simple: you won’t.

Actionable insights

Traditionally, the processes involved in BI were laborious and time-consuming. It once involved data mining, sorting, categorisation, analysis and report writing. Often, BI reports required extensive developer coding.

Today’s technologies open the door to unlimited potential; reducing hours of work to mere minutes thanks to automated data mining features, pre-set reports and intelligent visualisations. Although, like a kid at Christmas, it can be all too tempting to play with everything, all at once, without creating a clear plan or finishing off with the last project.

You need to decide what you want to learn from your data – what will be the most valuable, actionable insights you could achieve? – and how you are going to extract this information. Keep in mind that there’s a difference between what you can get out of your data and what you should get out of your data.

Take Newcastle United for example; the club wanted to identify its customers under the age of 18 due to regulations relating to gambling laws and used Qlik to accurately determine this information from its vast fanbase. Yet, for another business such as a construction company, the age of its customers wouldn’t matter so significantly - therefore this would not be a valuable insight to focus on.

Find out more about the Qlik project we worked on with NUFC.

Innovative tech

Nonetheless, harnessing technology is a substantial part of achieving results with BI and, without it, businesses could struggle to unlock the valuable insights required to meet their objectives and effectively inform their decisions.

Ultimately, they go hand in hand. Like bread and butter, salt and pepper, rock ‘n’ roll… you get my drift. When working in perfect harmony, business strategy and technology can produce magical results.

Next-generation BI software, such as Qlik Sense, can enable you to take control of your business data and transform it from an underutilised asset into a competitive advantage.

Qlik Sense utilises visual analytics and easily accessible dashboards to empower you to see the whole story that lives within your data. By collating all the individual snippets of information involved with your business into a single platform, you can freely explore, cleanse, transform and unify your data to understand and identify patterns, trends and intel.

Often, it can be hard for businesses to get the whole team on board with implementing change based on information they have gathered – likely because not everyone truly gets it.

Qlik makes this easy, giving you the tools to create flexible and interactive ways of presenting your findings, in a way that will engage your audience and encourage them to see the narrative.

Data literacy

In today’s digital age, information is power – and if you can understand the language, you’ll be one step ahead of your competition. I’ll be going into detail about the importance of data literacy in an upcoming blog (watch this space), but for now, consider which areas of your business you could bolster by understanding them better. Then you can explore the innovative technologies that are now openly accessible to all businesses and make a start on getting the full potential out of your data.

At TSG, we’re experienced in delivering BI solutions across market sectors and within multiple business departments. With agile data discovery solutions such as Qlik Sense, we can help you to improve efficiencies and productivity, optimise profit margins and grow your market share.

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