Business intelligence (BI) encompasses the technology tools and strategies that companies employ to gain data-driven, actionable insights. These insights inform strategic decision making across organizations.
Today, companies who are not using BI strategies in some way, shape, or form are likely falling behind their competitors. 85% of companies report trying to be data-driven, but only 37% report that they have been successful
Business intelligence can be the difference.
Business Intelligence: An Evolving Concept
Modern business intelligence (BI) is a digital-era concept, but the term itself has been around for decades. First incepted by IBM researcher Hans Puter Luhn, who wrote A Business Intelligence System in 1958, the definition of BI has evolved along with the business world and technology tools it uses.
Today, it refers to the use of data to create insights that drive value in a number of ways for companies, including but not limited to the optimization of marketing, sales, operations, and performance tracking.
The primary difference between business intelligence concepts of the past and BI as it is known today is the organizational approach it takes on.
Before, companies took a top-down approach to business intelligence, which was driven by IT teams who provided information and managed requests and questions through a queue. This led to long reporting cycles and lags in data that limited the ways it could ultimately be used to make decisions and drive strategy.
Modern BI is democratized across organizations with the goal of creating and maintaining a data-driven culture. When done successfully, employees at all levels are data-informed and capable of using it to gain insights, be strategic, and make smart business decisions on behalf of the company. Technology tools now make data more accessible both through the platform model that allows users to sign in with their own credentials and the use of dashboards and visuals that translate data to make it approachable.
How to Use Business Intelligence In Your Company
Performance tracking using business intelligence tools has become a more pertinent topic than ever before as the workforce has made a shift over the past year and a half to remote operations. BI tools can track day-to-day activities as well as specified outcomes that can tell a story about individual, team, and company-wide productivity and performance.
Business intelligence can be used to optimize operations in ways that reduce process timelines, increase efficiency and productivity, save money, and allow employees to shift their focus to higher-value work. It can also reduce errors, allow for more accurate process assessment, and allow for frequent reporting that helps companies react more quickly and operate with more agility.
Increase Sales, Revenue, and Profit
Even when BI is used for other purposes, this is the end goal that companies have in mind. Business intelligence drives overall profitability in a number of ways. First, it creates an objective and accessibility centralized data repository that eliminates end-of-month surprises and allows companies to identify and address challenges almost in real time.
Next, it provides better data for sales forecasting, which allows for better resource allocation, budgeting, goal setting, and business decisions.
Finally, BI can often operate much like a data-driven CRM system that shows companies who their most high-value customers and leads so companies can target their efforts toward them.
Improve Marketing Strategy
Business intelligence tools provide data that informs marketing teams about which campaigns are working, which content is performing best, who their target audiences are, and what overall engagement metrics look like.
Marketing teams can use BI to make decisions about where to allocate more time and resources, which content to promote more heavily, and how to target their efforts. Statistics show that data analytics is becoming increasingly critical to stay competitive.
Modern BI tools and strategies make data accessible to employees at all levels and across functional areas. One of the best ways to leverage this capability is to empower employees to be more proactive, informed, and strategic using data-driven approaches.
The objectivity of BI-powered data creates accountability on individual and group levels, and this can be a good motivator to not stick to the status quo and instead seek out new insights and opportunities that can be gathered from BI data.
Fostering a data-driven culture across organizations benefits leadership, too. The more brain power that companies have behind data, the more insights that can be gained and results that can be achieved.
Real-World Business Intelligence Examples
Erickson Living Automates Inventory Management
Erickson Living partnered with Rainmaker to overhaul their inventory management system through Salesforce. Their processes for pricing apartments and deposits was manual and outdated. To address the issue, Erickson implemented a solution to create better intelligence, more streamlined processes, and a reduction in human error.
Processes that previously required up to three weeks of work from their Market Intelligence team now happen nearly in real-time and only take minutes to complete. Their new solution has helped Erickson maintain greater flexibility, price control, team collaboration, and data intelligence.
Amazon Creates Personalized Customer Experience + Optimizes Logistics
Amazon is leveraging data from its 200 million customer accounts to increase sales through predictive analytics. It uses analytics not just to forecast larger trends but to provide individual, personalized experiences for each of its customers through tailored recommendations, price optimization, and targeted marketing tactics.
Amazon generates 10-30% in additional revenue through personalized product suggestions alone. It’s real-time pricing optimization tactics are estimated to have increased profit by 25%. It’s supply-chain optimization strategy ensures customers never have to turn to a competitor for quick order fulfillment.
CenterLight Implements Policy Change More Smoothly
CenterLight is a New York-based long-term healthcare and coverage provider for elderly, chronically ill, or disabled patients. Like many insurance companies, CenterLight often experienced pushback and customer churn when implementing policy changes. They now use business intelligence tools to better predict how members will react to new changes, thus better preparing their employee teams to implement and manage the change.
HelloFresh Increases Conversions
HelloFresh has benefitted from business intelligence tool Tableau in a number of ways. First, it has saved an estimated 10-20 hours per week of manpower by automating reports for regional sales and marketing teams.
These centralized reports include important metrics like bounces, click rates, conversion rates, and sales and retention metrics. Data is shared across teams to encourage the spread of best practices and key insights.
Second, HelloFresh has used BI to better analyze and understand customer behavior. As a result, they’ve been able to develop more accurate customer personas and better target their marketing efforts, increasing both conversions and customer loyalty.
Travel Leaders Group Expands Data Visibility
Travel Leaders Group partnered with Rainmaker to replace their outdated, home-grown system with Salesforce and integrate it with eleven other systems. The new system increased scalability and provided data visibility to their 1,250 franchise locations and 16 of the company’s brands.
The system integration process also increased data accessibility for all of their stakeholders that led to overall improvements in efficiency and productivity.
Deloitte Increases Focus on Strategy with Better Automation
Deloitte’s Brazil offices have used business intelligence to automate reporting processes. The result has been a significant reduction in time and manpower required as well as human error. Management report preparation shrunk from 6-8 days to 1 hour and freed up 5 analysts to focus on more strategic work. Daily expense reports that used to require 3 hours of work now take 10 minutes. Managers are making more informed and agile decisions.
Enhance Your Company Performance with BI
No matter which areas you have prioritized for improvement, there are business intelligence tools and strategies that can help you accomplish your goals. Contact us today to learn about Rainmaker Cloud solutions!