Here at Matillion, we often come across businesses thinking about a Business Intelligence system in terms of the insights that it might provide. Sales analysis, for instance, or inventory analysis. In each case, a Business Intelligence system can provide you with actionable insights that you didn’t have before, allowing you to then exploit these in order to boost sales, increase customer service, and reduce inventories.
All of which is true, of course. But a Business Intelligence system can do much more. And one of the things that it does best is to automate a lot of your current reporting systems and procedures—making them cheaper, faster and better.
Up-to-the-minute Business Intelligence dashboards versus stale reports, for instance. Actionable data on performance delivered today, not next week. And critical reports and KPIs delivered direct to the people best-equipped to deal with them, automatically and without human intervention.
And the ROI of a Business Intelligence system when viewed this way can be impressive. Simply through automating manually-intensive reporting mechanisms, you can free up the people presently engaged at the task for more productive activity.
In other words, you’re getting all the other advantages of a Business Intelligence system—faster and better reporting, and those critical sales analysis and inventory analysis—for nothing. The ROI comes through automating what you already do, freeing up the people who do that for other activities
Five questions highlight the potential:
- Is it difficult to get at the information you need? It might be spread across different systems making it difficult to access. Or it might be raw data which needs processing in order to be useful, making it difficult for you to get at the information you want quickly. And sometimes, you just can’t get the information you need.
- Is vital reporting information provided infrequently, or is it arriving late? You get January’s sales figures in mid-February. You find out a key product line is selling fast, several weeks after it started to happen. You get management information monthly or quarterly, not weekly or daily. It doesn’t have to be like that—a Business Intelligence system can deliver what you want, when you want it, entirely automatically.
- Do bottlenecks form around key individuals with the technical skills to extract data and turn it into meaningful information? It’s often the case that only a few individuals have the skills and detailed knowledge to produce reports and analyses. Such people quickly get overloaded, and delays occur. Plus, of course, risk is increased—because what you need to know today, you won’t find out until next week.
- Do you have data in held in multiple places? It might be spread across several ERP systems, for instance, or held in different best-of-breed functional systems, or even held in spreadsheets. The result: you’re getting fragmented, obsolete information, instead of what one single, always up to date, version of the truth.
- Do lots of people in your organization spend time manually producing reports? You know the sort of thing: downloading data into Excel, manipulating it, and then e mailing it out. This is costly and error prone, and those people could be better employed spending time managing, or selling, or servicing customers.
Bottom line: the true value of a Business Intelligence system
Investing in a Business Intelligence system is sometimes seen as a somewhat speculative venture. “What if we don’t find all those fabulous insights?” worry businesses. “If we don’t, we will have spent the money for nothing.”
It’s a worry that’s understandable, but misplaced.
Firstly, our experience here at Matillion is that Business Intelligence does deliver on its promise—particularly when implemented fast and flexibly, via a SaaS-based cloud Business Intelligence system.
But second, there are cold, hard cash-based benefits available. Throughout the history of business, the automation of existing activities has always been a money-spinner, and a Business Intelligence system is no exception.
What are you waiting for?