Managers often spend countless hours trying different approaches of recording and analyzing their data. While spreadsheets remain useful, integrated databases and analytics dashboards are proving themselves in a fast-moving world of mobile and social media.
According to a 2013 study by Gartner, the market for business intelligence (BI) is one of the fastest growing software markets. The industry is growing at nearly 7 percent annually, and is expected to reach over $17 billion by 2016.
What’s an example of a BI application? In sales, business intelligence software can help sales executives make their department’s efforts more efficient and effective. Whether sales managers want to track marketing campaigns, target a certain demographic, or optimize prospect lists, BI software can align processes and activities with business insight.
Here are four ways that BI tools can help managers get better results.
Consolidate Important Information
When you manage data collection and analysis, irrelevant information is often mixed with critical data and statistics. The mixture of good and bad data can lead to poor decision-making. A business intelligence program can help you sort out big data, and allow you to focus on value drivers that have the most impact on your organization.
When using business intelligence for sales, a manager may discover a correlation between two or more data sets (such as income level and education) that enable salespeople to identify better prospects. Alternatively, a sales manager may find that cold calls are more effective during certain times of the day.
Get Real-Time Updates
“BI relates to a broad category of technologies that enable business users to gather, store, access and analyze data to make better decisions,” according to Research and Markets. “In general, the core features of BI solution includes decision support systems, querying and reporting, online analytical processing (OLAP), data mining, forecasting and statistical analysis.”
A BI program can update and save your work in real time. Thus, organizational metrics can be updated instantly as new information becomes available. Real-time updates are important because your records can remain accurate at all times, which can lead to better decisions. Secondly, real-time metrics enable you to keep up with your competitors.
Create a Visual Graphic of Trends
For those who learn statistics better when presented in a visual manner, business intelligence lets you create infographics and charts. Thus, you can display your data in an easier-to-read format.
Companies are flooded with data, and spreadsheets alone may be insufficient. Finding the associations that exist between all of the information collected can help you understand trends that are affecting your business and industry.
Trends are often better communicated through charts.
Search Data Faster
When recordkeeping is done through a BI program, users are able to execute data searches more quickly — faster, than say, going through a filing cabinet.
Sophisticated BI tools include a direct and indirect search tool that assists managers in locating key pieces of information. Fast access to key data is a competitive advantage in today’s fast-moving marketplace.
Check out Marv Dumon’s technology blog on Examiner.com.