Why Smarter Businesses Use Self-Service Business Intelligence

  • Richard Thelwell
  • June 18, 2014

What’s your biggest asset? Smart businesses know that it’s their people. But they may not appreciate the extent to which self-service Business Intelligence can help them to unlock the full power of that asset.

How come? Buildings, raw materials and production equipment are certainly very obvious physical assets. But without smart people, those buildings, raw materials and production equipment are just that: physical assets.

And it’s here that self-service Business Intelligence comes in. Because it needs people to go out to customers and convince them to place orders that turn those assets to productive advantage. And because it’s people who fine-tune that production equipment so that it efficiently produces top-quality product at competitive prices. And because it’s people who manage the conversion of raw materials into products on a timely basis, delivering those products when the customer wants them.

Which is where self-service Business Intelligence comes in. Because the power of self-service Business Intelligence is that it helps people to do these things better. And not just better—self-service Business Intelligence, it turns out, also helps them to do these things more quickly, more efficiently, and more cheaply.

Self-service Business Intelligence: smarter selling

Any half-decent sales force has its finger on the basic pulse of the business. The biggest customers, the top-selling products, and those all-important ‘hot buttons’ that turn un-met needs into closed sales.

The trouble is, your competitors have pretty good sales forces, too. You need to be performing better, rather than at the same level.

So how about ‘Amazon-style’ analyses along the lines of ‘customers who bought this, also bought that’? How about detailed insights into who are your most profitable customers—and who are your least profitable customers?

And how about questions such as: are incentives to the sales staff encouraging too much discounting? Are larger customers imposing overly onerous conditions? Are we keeping product lines going to serve just one or two customers—and might a process of product rationalisation be called for?

The answers to all these questions can be extremely illuminating.

Self-service Business Intelligence: smarter supply chains

A business’s factory, production equipment, and inventory are expensive physical assets. Taken together, with their links to customers and suppliers, they form your supply chain.

But is that supply chain work at peak effectiveness? Probably not. Yet finding out why can be tricky—especially when your on-the-ground supply chain people lack effective tools.
Take sourcing, for instance. Is the same component or material being bought from multiple suppliers? How much is being spent in total with each supplier? What opportunities exist to consolidate spend on fewer suppliers?

How are inventory holdings related to the variability of demand? Do some products regularly stock out, while others almost never do? Is the demand for some products linked to the demand for others products? Are the assumed replenishment and re stocking periods that are built into the ERP system actually borne out in practice?

Such questions aren’t academic. Instead, they’re the vital first steps to honing a supply chain that is truly fit for purpose.

Self-service Business Intelligence: smarter responses to changing conditions

In business, nothing is static. Economic conditions alter, marketplace trends evolve, and customer requirements change. Business Intelligence helps businesses to keep abreast of such developments, adapting their marketplace offerings to suit.

Demand for product X is sharply going up. Just as quickly, demand for product Y is going down. We’re selling more to customers in these postcodes—and less to customers in those postcodes. These particular product variants are seeing strong demand. Demand for those product variants seems to be associated with these particular conditions. And so on.

It’s not rocket science, in short, and nor is it advanced analytics. But it does require businesses to have the tools available to be able to detect and respond to such changes quickly, in order to capitalise upon them.

The IT department could doubtless build a report—in time, and when other priorities permitted.

But it’s surely better to give people the tools to track such changes themselves—reports, dashboards and visualisations. How? Self-service Business Intelligence, in short.

Self-service Business Intelligence: smarter tools for smarter businesses

Here at Matillion, we think that the case for self-service Business Intelligence is pretty compelling. Of course, we’re biased.

So don’t take our word alone for it. Read our case studies, and see what our customers say—and learn how real-life smarter businesses have deployed and benefited from real-life smarter technology: self-service Business Intelligence.

To find out more download our free Ebook