6 Ways all executives can use (and profit from) Business Intelligence

Flow from raw data to insights and knowledge

Business intelligence (BI) is one of the fastest growing business applications, but it may also be one of the most confusing. What does it really do? In this article we shed light on 6 practical ways you can use BI.

Business leaders make hundreds of decisions every week about everything from daily operations to strategic investments. Some have little impact, while others change the direction of the company – and the lives of people working there.

In any case, data stored in company databases can help you make decisions based on solid, rational logic. With data you can accurately assess the situation and evaluate different scenarios. The more facts you have, the less risk you take.

And that’s where business intelligence comes in. Business intelligence enables you to quickly monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and analyze data – on all different levels. It’s a fast and easy way to understand what’s happening across the business.

The better you can track company health and understand what’s happening, the better you can make decisions and lead your organisation in the right direction.

Let’s look at 6 situations where you need Business Intelligence.

6 Situations where you need Business Intelligence

If you are interested in any of the following areas, Business intelligence can help.

#1 Measure growth and profitability

Business intelligence helps you understand what is driving growth and how to you can improve results. Dashboards enable you to review revenue streams compared to budget, growth rates, average revenue per account, discounts, net margins, gross margins, EBITDA and other metrics which you define.

You can also track changes in results over time and examine the underlying reasons for change by looking at different segments. If the indicators are too high or low, or trending the wrong way, you can work to fix the issues.

#2 Track KPIs

Business intelligence tells you how every business area is performing – whether you are responsible for marketing, sales, finance, operations, customer service or the overall business.

Sales leaders, for example, can get detailed insight into customers, activities, win rates, deal sizes, cycle times, conversion rates etc. With this information they have better visibility into processes, can identify areas of improvement and better coach reps.

Using spreadsheets for the same calculations would take too much effort and salespeople wouldn’t be able to monitor their own progression.

According to research, high performing sales teams are 3.5 x more likely to use sales analytics than underperforming teams.

See also: The KPI-Gallery – 20+ Illustrated Examples

#3 Monitor sales pipeline

Do you know whether your pipeline is filling up fast enough? Are your sales reps prioritizing the right opportunities? Can you explain to management or the board, why sales are above or below target?

Business Intelligence provides detailed insights into your sales pipeline so you can have better control and greater forecasting accuracy.

Custom reports provide insight into sales opportunities by contact, company, stage, type, category, status, expected close date or any other dimension.

If you have sales data in several systems, like CRM, ERP, ecommerce, subscription management systems, or contract management systems, a business intelligence tool is the only reasonable way to gather data into one place for analysis.

#4 Analyze product performance

If you sell hundreds of different products or parts, you probably have a lot of questions about how much you are selling, to whom and at what price.

Business intelligence pulls information onto dashboards so you can sort, filter, sum, and compare data about product family, category, type, or more.

The main advantage is you can quickly answer detailed questions about demand and make better decisions about product lines. You don’t need special technical skills or analytic capabilities. Reports on this level of detail may take weeks to compile without business intelligence.

#5 Run a contest

If you want to run a sales contest or get employees excited about a specific goal, consider using business intelligence. Business intelligence isn’t the first tool you might think of for this purpose, but it is effective.

Modern business intelligence tools track activities and present results on scoreboards. You don’t have to track scores by hand.

Because scoreboards are updated instantly they create excitement. Everyone is notified when something happens – and that creates a buzz. Picture a live scoreboard showing new customer meetings booked, new sales deals or positive customer feedback. As scores go up, so does the positive momentum.

#6 Reduce manual reporting routines

Management reporting is frustrating and time-consuming. It can take hours to gather, analyze and present data. Spreadsheets may need to be revised several times and errors can occur. Consider how many steps are required to prepare end of month reports?

A business intelligence system does the steps automatically and presents the reports in easy to understand formats. This includes chart, graphs, maps and other combinations of text and graphics.

 

A final word

In all the situations above business intelligence provides relevant information in a way that is quicker and more efficient than traditional tools.

Even though these examples are primarily related to sales, business intelligence is used across functions to analyze and improve a wide range of processes.

As companies gather more data, they are investing in more business intelligence. It’s no wonder that business intelligence is one of the top ranked technologies for 2021.

Additional resources: See examples of dashboards in a live demo.

 

Authors note: This article is reposted with permission from  House of Control group.

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    Business Analyze Mobile App now updated on Google Play and Apple App Store

    The latest version of Business Analyze mobile app is now available for download on Google Play and App Store.

    This release is has a new login page and fresh new look and feel.

    Why this Business Intelligence app?

    Business Analyze mobile app provides instant visibility into company-wide KPIs and metrics from the convenience of a mobile device.

    Access key dashboard reports and stay informed about what happening. The app enables you spontaneously check status and review key facts on the way into important meetings.

    Key benefits include:

    • track key KPI
    • check status on-the-go
    • see what’s planned and what’s been done
    • monitor changes in sales, orders, deliveries, payments, profits, service levels or complaints
    • track changes in operations from day to day or week to week
    • see recent activities (e.g. win a new customer)
    • send positive comments to employees and recognize their efforts

    KPIs and metrics can be related to sales, revenues, activities, finances, operations, customer experience or other areas that matter most to users.

    The app includes features to help users respond faster and more proactively when new data is available. For example, you can can send, read, reply and follow up discussions about events.

    How to get it

    All you need is a Business Analyze account to download the app from AppStore or Google Play.

    If you don’t have an account yet, contact us and we’ll set up  a free demo for you.

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      Do-it-yourself dashboard design

      Design dashboards with Business Analyze

      Business Analyze is a great platform if you are looking to build dashboards or modify pre-built reports. This powerful system contains a complete toolset for editing dashboards so you always get the perfect view of data.

      Perhaps you want to make improvements to your current reports. Perhaps you want to make dashboards for a new colleague.  In any case, designing dashboards for better performance can be a fun and rewarding.

      When to design?

      There can be many reasons you want to change design.

      Typical reasons include:

      1. Reports don’t show the right information
      2. Level of detail is too low/high
      3. Charts or tables are imprecise or confusing
      4. Reports are on wrong level, time period or category
      5. Titles or labels are misleading
      6. New data is available
      7. New KPIs become important
      8. There’s a change in organisation (e.g. new employees)
      9. There’s a change in business processes

      When any of these conditions is true, you can make build and customise reports to your exact specifications. As long as you have a clear goal, the rest is easy.

      Features for Designers

      Business Analyze has powerful tools for organising data and building dashboards.

      As a designer you can:

      • Add new reports and dashboards
      • Redesign, resize and delete reports
      • Rename elements
      • Add, change or remove elements within a report
      • Change chart types
      • Change chart properties (e.g. titles, labels etc.)
      • Edit layouts and colors
      • Create and edit drilldowns
      • Change the way data is grouped, pivoted and calculated
      • Add columns to a table
      • Sort a table and save the changes
      • ..and much more

      These features are available for everyone with ‘Designer’ access-rights.

      How to become a designer

      Designers can see the ‘Edit desktops’ command on the main menu. If this command isn’t available, you can’t edit the active desktop.

      To get permission, contact your system administrator. System administrators decide who can edit desktops. This is to protect privacy and ensure only authorised people can access the data. It also reduces the risk that dashboards are mistakenly deleted.

      Are you ready to design? Contact us or email customer success@businessanalyze.com for more information about introductory courses and learning programmes.

       

       

       

       

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        Quick guide to using Business Analyze filters

        Filtering data is one of the most important functions of data analysis. Sometimes you want to analyze data in more detail. Other times you want to remove information that isn’t relevant.

        Business Analyze enables you to quickly filter on every level. In this article we’ll discuss 3 types of filters and different ways to use them. You don’t have to rely on pre-defined  options.

        With a good understanding of this function, you’ll be able to analyze data better – and faster.

        Why filters are important

        The FILTER function extracts a range of data according to select criteria and displays the matching records in dashboards, charts and tables.

        The rest of the data doesn’t disappear, it is only hidden from view.

        You can filter data by:

        • Time period
        • Organisation level
        • Other values in your data set

        Some of the most common ways to filter sales data, for example are by customer size, product category, region/location, interest, sales stage or delivery status.

        You can also filter numerical and text data according to one or several criteria. For example
        Product Type = “XT200” AND Sales > 1000.

        Criteria include:

        • Greater than
        • Less than
        • Equal to
        • Contains
        • Etc.

        To use filters effectively, it helps to have a thorough understanding of the data available. The more familiar you are with the data, the better you will be able to apply filtering and logic to your data analysis.

        Global filter

        The Business Analyze global filter is the most important filter for everyday use. If there is one filter you should get to know, it’s this one.

        From any dashboard, this filter enables you to define the data in view. You may have a long or short list of criteria you can filter on, depending on your data set.

        If you want to filter all reports on a dashboard for the year 2020, for example, select the calendar icon  or use the pre-defined time frame.

        Press ‘Update’, the filters will be applied to all elements on the current dashboard.

        You can also apply more than one filter simultaneously.

        Note: When you refresh the dashboard, navigate to another dashboard or logout, the filters will return to default. To save the filters, go to the Action tab and select “Save as startup”. This will be your personal setting.

        Report filters

        If you want to filter data for one specific element, we recommend the Report Filter. This is found under the ‘Action icon’ at the top right corner of each element.

        When you use report filter, the report will update based on the filter(s) you select.

        Column filters

        Column filters are special because they allow you to view data that meets a specific condition.

        Using  operators like not equal to, equal to, greater than, less than, and less  you can select data you want and hide the rest.

        You can also select text that meets a specific critera. This might be useful, for example, when you want to see sales for all products except when Customer name = Ally Inc.

        You can have as many filters as you like on a column.

        To delete a filter, click on the trash can at the end of each line.

        Columns that have a filter are marked with a small funnel.

        Tip: If you want to use operators to filter data in a graph or chart, switch to table visualisation.

         For more information about Business Analyze and step-by-step tutorials, sign up below to receive our newsletter.

         

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          House of Control acquires Business Analyze AS: A Strategic Step within Business Intelligence

          bahoc

          Høvik, 21 April 2021: House of Control Group AS (HOC) announces today that the company has entered into an agreement to acquire Business Analyze AS. The acquisition will enable CFOs to gain better control over data from the entire business in a common dashboard, including the linking of House of Control’s ‘best-of-breed’ tools for the CFO.

          Read press release

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