Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Advantages of Business Intelligence

A good business intelligence tool can collect data from different sources, combine the relevant information, and present it to the management. Reports coming out of CRM, ERP, SFA, or a point of sale tool is not enterprise business intelligence, sure there can be some intelligence built into reporting, but these reports work in silos and reports are incomplete. For management, to make decision they need all the information consolidated in front of them. For making a good informed decision - data may come from various different sources CRM, ERP, POS, SFA, etc. This is where enterprise business intelligence comes into play.

The main advantages of business intelligence are:

• Creates intelligence out of available data.
  • Looking at transactional data may not reveal much, there may be so much information in the data and business intelligence is the tool to pull all this information out. Data can tell you about the health of business, information about specific products, sales in territory, employees' performance, campaign effectiveness - possibilities are limitless.
  • Provides insight into current operations: Business intelligence can be very effectively used to manage company operations, e.g. looking at reports filled by field sales staff from different territories, analysis can be done on specific sales representative.
  • Helps in making easier and faster decision by providing various perspectives: Rather than looking for information and waiting for days to get all the facts, with Business Intelligence, all the pertinent information will be available to decision makers on their finger tips.
  • Works on historic records: All the historical records stored in the company's files are rarely looked at - Business Intelligence can churn out important information from past records - e.g. when did a company default on its payments or how did products sale do three years back when it rained as heavy as projected to rain this year.
  • Provides trend analysis: Business intelligence can look at all the historical records and can provide trend analysis, which can be a very important tool to look at the direction of the company.
  • Can pull data from discrete sources of data: Business intelligence can pull data from different sources and present it to the user in unified way.
  • Summarization, slicing & dicing, interactive dashboards with drill down, navigation and graphical presentations: This is another great advantage of business intelligence - rather than looking at all the transactions and only sums/totals. In business intelligence, user can start at a dashboard which can give summarization of key KPIs and from there user can slice & dice into which ever detail they are interested in. Here the information can also be presented in nice graphical form which can convey its meaning at first glance e.g. small things like this month's negative sales as compared to last year this month can be highlighted in red.
  • Reporting does not impact performance of transactional system: Business intelligence reports does not have any negative impact on transactional systems (like ERP, SFA, CRM) performance. This system works separate from transactional systems.
  • CRM/ERP not a must - can work on CONVENTIONAL data: Business intelligence can get information from any custom conventional data sources as well. It does not necessarily need enterprise application like ERP, CRM or SFA.
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