4 Business Intelligence questions to diagnose your Ailing Analytics

  • Richard Thelwell
  • October 22, 2014

business intelligence questions analyticsIs your business struggling to get the most out of its data? If so, there may be some serious flaws undermining your analytical capabilities. Asking yourself these four simple business intelligence questions could allow you to diagnose the issues and highlight any areas of your analytics strategy that might need to be strengthened.

These days, companies of all shapes and sizes recognise the benefits of collecting analytics. However, many businesses fail to make the most of the information they have, and this can have a detrimental effect on the decision-making process.

From an inside perspective, it can often be difficult to diagnose where exactly you are going wrong. In order to achieve a more holistic view of your analytics strategy, you need to take a step back and ask yourself these four business intelligence questions.

Is it difficult to access the insights your business requires?

Arguably, one of the most important business intelligence questions that you should be asking yourself is how difficult it is to access actionable insights within your organisation.

It might be the case that data is spread across different systems making it difficult to analyse. It might be that users lack the necessary skills to operate current information systems effectively. It might even be that there are technological limitations, meaning that information cannot be viewed on mobile devices or at certain locations.

Whatever it may be that is hindering the ability to access insights, it is vital that your business addresses these issues or they could have a detrimental effect on the decision-making process.

Do you have difficulties extracting data from multiple sources?

Getting at the information you need is often difficult, particularly when it is spread across different ERP systems, spreadsheets and sites. Not only that, but when data exists in such a wide variety of formats, it is often difficult to integrate.

Instead of being presented with a ‘single version of the truth’ you may be left with fragmented, unreliable data which can lead to conflicting insights into company performance.

With self-service BI, you can organise your information into a data warehouse, making it easier to manipulate. You can also apply additional rules and calculations to the data before it enters the data warehouse, so that when you come to report over it, the answers are already there.

Are vital reports arriving late?

Among other business intelligence questions, you should be asking yourself how timely your analytical reports are.

When reporting is manual, it is infrequent or arrives late. You get January’s sales figures in mid-February. You find out a key product line is selling fast, several weeks after sales took off. You get management information monthly or quarterly, not weekly or daily.

However, it doesn’t have to be like that. An effective business intelligence system can deliver what you want, when you want it, entirely automatically.

Self-service BI takes the hassle out of building reports, requiring significantly less manual effort on the part of the user. This speeds up the whole process and ensures that you receive the actionable insights you need in a timely manner.

Many self-service BI Tools also allow you to schedule reports for a specific time or date, thereby guaranteeing your reports will always be on ready on time.

Do bottlenecks form around key individuals in the IT department?

The final question concerns any delays or bottlenecks that you may be experiencing in the reporting process.

With traditional business intelligence solutions being extremely complex, it’s often the case that only a few individuals within an organisation have the skills and detailed knowledge to produce reports and analyses. Bottlenecks quickly begin to develop around these key individuals and this can significantly slow down the reporting process.

With self-service BI, users no longer have to rely on IT departments to manipulate data and create reports. Users are free to create reports wherever and whenever they choose, meaning there is no delay in receiving they information you need.

This reduces the strain on IT departments, allowing them to concentrate their resources on projects where a higher level of skill is necessary.

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these business intelligence questions, you may find it useful to take a look at a self-service BI solution. To find out more, download our complete guide below.