​​What is BI & Analytics?


There’s no worse roadblock for your employees than trying to navigate a clunky spreadsheet. Really, they’ll spend more company time trying to navigate confusing data than they will be implementing it. So now you may be thinking to yourself, “Okay, this blog has introduced a problem. What’s the solution?”

Introducing: A BI and Analytics implementation.

Now, what does that mean? One of the easiest ways to digest new information is via a Venn-Diagram. So, imagine BI in one circle, analytics in the other circle, and looped in the overlapping middle is DATA. You can have a strong BI side or a strong analysis side, but your business will only find success if you have both good data management and a data platform to service both your circles.

What is BI & Analytics?

Business intelligence (BI) and Analytics are two of the most powerful tools for businesses looking to gain a competitive advantage. BI & Analytics are two distinct yet related disciplines that use data to provide insights into a company’s performance, operations, and competitive positioning.

BI & Analytics are used to make sense of the massive amounts of data available to businesses today. Remember those clunky spreadsheets we mentioned earlier? With a BI & Analytics system, your employees will produce even better insights than those spreadsheets instead of spending hours sifting through unnecessarily bulky reports.

The data can come from many sources, such as an ERP, CRM, or non-structured data like customer reviews, website performance, or market research. The data is then used to understand a company’s current and past performance than to inform decisions about how to improve or best manage a company’s resources, such as personnel and capital.

Additionally, BI & analytics can help you understand your competitive landscape. By understanding the competitive landscape, you can make better decisions about your products, services, and pricing. This can help you stay ahead of the competition and create the best possible customer experience.

How Can BI and Analytics Help My Business? Let’s Break it Down

BI & Analytics are used to analyze data and create actionable insights. BI can benefit your business because of its ability to collect, organize and present data, thereby allowing you to gain new insights into your company’s performance. This data can be used to understand the customer better, identify trends, and make better decisions. BI comprises Operational and Analytics reporting. Operational is understanding, in real-time, the status of a certain piece of information, say a customer order or payment. Analytical reporting produces a more complex analysis of historical data to calculate KPIs and trends.

Analytics, on the other hand, is the process of using data to create predictable insights and use those predictions to improve processes across the company or for your customer. Analytics involves creating or training mathematical models on the data collected to produce predictions on future data. This includes predictive analytics, machine learning, and AI, which uses data to predict future performance or trends.

What underpins the success of both BI & Analytics has a robust data platform that can support both. This includes the ability to monitor data in real-time, produce historical trends, calculate complex KPIs, and operationalize predictive analytics. This is by far the most complex aspect of any BI & Analytics implementation, the data foundation. It often comprises a Data Warehouse or Data Lake in conjunction with a Data Integration tool. This simplifies the makeup, but it illustrates the diversity the system needs.

The main reason you need a data platform is simple, the business systems you use to run your business are designed to capture and manage data, not to analyze it. A BI & Analytics system is designed to make that data obtainable and understandable.

Here is our framework for a BI & Analytics platform that we strive for with our clients:

The combination of BI & analytics can be used to drive effective and powerful business strategies and improvements. By understanding customer behavior or asset performance and the impact of different strategies, your company can make better decisions about how to optimize its operations and create a successful business. These are just two simple examples; the value a well-designed and implemented BI & Analytics can provide is intangible.

How Can I Implement BI and Analytics?

Firstly, you must realize that implementing BI & Analytics is a journey. Companies can be at any point along the path, so it’s important to take a step back and understand where you are before proceeding.

If you are at the beginning, here are some recommended approaches to help get things moving for your BI & Analytics:

  • Develop a road map: It’s the best way to understand your current state, the desired future state, and what it will take to get there. From this, a business case and project plan can be created.
  • Start with a Proof of Concept: a great way to convince stakeholders is to do a small Proof of Concept solution. Pick a certain business problem and build a miniature BI & Analytics solution to prove it out the business case, win over the stakeholder, and get funding for the project
  • Phased Implementation: I don’t advise a big-bang implementation for BI & Analytics. It is always wisest to tackle the project in phases. This is one aspect that will ensure the success of your project.
  • Find a Partner: Use an experienced systems integrator to partner with to help you avoid common pitfalls and help achieve success. A party that is willing to do the tough work and get the data you need under control.
  • Strive for success: Know what success should look like, read my blog post here on the 5 critical success factors for your BI & Analytics implementation project (https://bpintel.com/what-is-analytics-and-the-5-factors-of-success/)

Implementations don’t have to be scary. If they are well-planned, business-driven, and solution-oriented, you are on your way.

In conclusion, BI & Analytics are powerful tools that can help your business improve and grow, helping your employee make better decisions and optimize your operations. It provides that competitive edge and can put you at the forefront of your industry. What business or department head would not want this tool at their disposal?

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