Running a business involves making a lot of decisions, many of them critical and tough.
Should I allocate budgets to this project or that project? Can I afford that long due expansion plan?
A lot of this decision making depends on information and future forecasts, all built on the data available.
In today’s information age where there is widespread availability of data about almost every aspect of a business, it is really not the availability of data but it is the way it is organized and presented that makes the difference. In other words, business intelligence is of no use if unless it is right. So, what makes it ‘right?’
Information, not data: Data by itself is of little or no use. Random bits of data from different sources will really help no one; the typical end user will not know how to use the data. Raw data has to be processed, organized, analyzed, and structured using tools built for this reason.
Context, not just content: Content without context is nothing. The same is true in this case. Data has to be put in its right context for the user to derive any value out of it. In practical terms, context should not be the afterthought that the data has to be placed into; it should be the one guiding the processing and structuring.
Tempus fugit: We started by saying that many of the decisions to be taken by the top management will be critical and tough. How can they make critical decisions if they don’t have real-time data in their hands when they need it? Delivering processed data in time should be another priority.
Let strategy drive BI and let BI drive strategy: With so much data available, it is easy to get lost in its multitude. BI has to support business objectives and measure what’s needed instead of what can be. Business strategy should drive the BI tools and techniques and the resultant intelligence should drive business strategy.
Apart from these, right BI also depends on using the right tools. The right analytics software that supports all business needs should be deployed instead of software that includes a lot of non-essential features that just lets you play with data and create lots of colorful charts.