Business Ignorance or Business Intelligence?
Since the term Business Intelligence (BI) was coined first by Richard Millar Devens’ in the ‘Cyclopædia of Commercial and Business Anecdotes’ from 1865, it has come a long way and has become more than a bullet point on a company’s vision PowerPoint slide.
Business Intelligence has been defined as “a set of theories, methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information for business purposes. BI can handle large amounts of information to help identify and develop new opportunities…”
Everyone knows that measuring and understanding business metrics will result in smarter business decisions, higher revenue, reduced costs, higher margins, better results in new product lines and geographical regions. Each week, we speak with customers about the data in their systems, in all their systems not just CRM and ERP. During our discussions we are often surprised that companies are not, despite their years in business and access to a lot of data, using the information about their business in order to make better decisions. We call this, Business Ignorance.
Business Ignorance, is more an in-house concept than an established term in the business world. I use it to describe companies with access to solutions and services that will change their future if they are willing to consider another approach and steer away from the “we have always done it this way” mindset. That mindset may have worked in the past but in order to keep up with the changes in business it’s time to move forward and to adopt Business Intelligence in your organization.
Unlocking data that is deeply buried in your organization, and really using it will get you to that next level of out-competing your peers, and increasing the returns to your shareholders. This is more than building a report, this is slicing and dicing, drilling deeper into the provided data and truly understanding the data in order to take action.
We all went through projects like this in the first years of the 21st century, when after the .com bust, software companies were looking for the next wave to ride. A lot was learned in those years, and the tools we used are nothing compared to what is available today. Today’s technology from the database level to the UI, where multiple data-sources (structured and unstructured) are coming together offer so much more to work with, as has the overall experience of analysts and consultants.
Luckily, it will not take months to years before you can see results, a project like this can offer a ROI right away. This can happen within weeks, where either Sales, Inventory, Production Planning, Purchasing, Customer Service or any other department can take the first step and move from Business Ignorance to Business Intelligence.