Business Intelligence: Power (BI) to the People

Chloe Dervin
Managing Director

LinkedIn Profile

While no one would argue the value of data to any business, it can be a monumental chore to collect, organise and protect. Many of us experience a love-hate relationship with Business Intelligence, resulting in inconsistent usage and sub-optimal outcomes.  

We're doing it wrong

 “A recent report from EY reveals that whilst 81% of organisations support the notion that data should be at the heart of everything they do, the vast majority continue to keep data in silos, thus strangling their efforts at birth.” 

Adi Gaskell, Forbes 

It comes down to utilising data more often than occasional panicked last-minute analyses before big meetings. Consistent daily use of data is where the value will be found, enabling people to build a feel for baseline results, anomalies and trends. However if the appropriate analytic tools, groundwork and training aren’t available, the task of formatting and analysing data stays with IT. This leads to congestion and lack of consistency in data application or analysis.  

Fast answers
Can we reduce promotional spend and still meet supporter targets? 
Will current staffing and training levels allow us to meet projected demand for our services? 
Are results-based bonuses or surprise and delight gifts more effective for motivating staff? 
Which of our departments or locations has the highest turnover and are there any correlating factors? 

The answers are likely buried in your CRM, finance and HR databases, but how do you give employees the confidence to implement data-driven decisions? It starts with providing real time information in a transparent visual format. Dashboards like Microsoft Power BI are a low-cost, intuitive way to support informed decisions and help the organisation benefit from data investments.  

Top Down
Any significant change to the way people work will be challenging, and judicious amounts of both carrot and stick will likely be necessary. For this reason, as well as the resources and coordination that will be required, a BI strategy must start at the top. 

One way to introduce greater use of data analytics is to present information on your company’s intranet – information such as safety incidents, supporter numbers or campaign results. A real-time data feed on their intranet home page can help keep staff up to date on top line company stats with minimal effort. 

Bring in the Bots
Many organisations have a daunting repository of legacy documents either languishing on a server or – the horror – archived on paper, with little idea of the associated opportunity and risk. Artificial Intelligence can be trained to tackle the huge task of analysing and categorising these documents and realise their value, saving thousands of hours and increasing accuracy. Then, if implemented effectively, an AI bot could surface this content when appropriate to assist people in their day to day work. 

Surfacing information to enable smart business decisions is fast becoming a hygiene factor for successful organisations. Tools are available so there really is no excuse for operating on gut feel, or not providing people with the data they need to operate effectively in a digestible, reliable format. 

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