Business Intelligence: Competitive advantage

Impact IT Solutions share what they believe can help give your business a competitive advantage when it comes to business intelligence.
Meeting discussing the graphs displayed on a tablet, laptop and paper

Business intelligence (BI) can give an organisation a competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace. An organisation is said to have a competitive advantage over its competitors when it possesses attributes that allow it to perform better than its competitors. We share below what we believe businesses should consider to give them a competitive advantage when it comes to business intelligence:

Investment opportunities

With the right investment, there are opportunities for organisations to use BI to get ahead of their competitors. BI can improve the customer experience, provide insights into customer behaviour, and highlight current trends and new market opportunities. Competitive advantage can be gained by analysing these trends and behaviours.

Data-Driven culture

Business leaders need to create a data-driven culture. They also need to adopt a mindset that is focused on delivering business outcomes.

Business Ambition

Digital initiatives are fuelled by data and analytics strategies that can scale with a business’s ambition. Agile data and analytics capabilities are essential to building sense-and-respond capabilities. Businesses that respond to this business data will adopt an unprecedented cycle of rapid innovation to meet the new customer requirements.

Operational Changes

There are several operational changes required to ensure the ambition of digital initiatives is met with the use of BI. Here are three points to consider:

1/ Integrate data and analytics capabilities across platforms to provide clear and easy access reports. Utilize cloud software & mobile apps and avoid Excel.

Every department or manufacturing function through the production line must make its own plans and forecasts in an organisation. For example, manufacturing must forecast how much it is going to produce, sales must forecast how many accounts it is going to close, and Finance must forecast cash flow, sales, GP, production, and operational costs. In the absence of BI tools, these forecasts and plans are largely theoretical as they have no benchmark to compare their numbers with. However, with business intelligence tools, every function can use historical numbers to make practical actionable plans.

2/ Equip business users with CRM/Apps and Cloud management solutions that can provide analytics models to understand what is happening now in the business. Utilise historical data to identify trends, bottlenecks with resources, time, materials, and sales.

Empower your employees with apps and the information needed so they can be successful at their job. Get them on board to provide their ideas and engage them in identifying what they want from the system to make their jobs more efficient. Without BI tools, they are dependent on manual clunk processes, spreadsheets, access, and manual data entry to process and organise information. However, if they use BI tools, they need to just worry about the presentation and interpretation of data as the number crunching is done by the application.

3/ Automate the process of visualisation of data by using augmented analytics. This enables machine learning and AI technologies to assist with data preparation, insight generation, and insight explanation.

The goal, real-time information flow

We live in a fast-paced world. Phones, fast internet access and cloud computing provide the ability for clients to access what they want quickly. Real-time information for businesses is available with little to no delay between collecting data and the time of disseminating data as information. BI practitioners always have real-time information at their fingertips. This means that instead of relying on old data to plan, they can use the latest numbers, thereby being more accurate in predictions and forecasts, ultimately reducing costs and increasing business profitability.

Some businesses plan to survive, some plan to succeed and grow. Those who plan are successful by design rather than luck as they embrace new best practices, software, engineering, technology, and solutions whilst listening to what their customers want.

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