“Business intelligence” consulting has been around for years and has grown to a $14 billion a year market, but unless you’ve engaged with a BI partner or are keeping close tabs on the IT industry, it can be hard to know where to start, whether your company needs it, and what the potential benefits are. That’s why we’ve come up with this list of the top five reasons your consulting company needs BI, whether you’re a startup, an established multinational corporation, a government entity, or anything in between.
1. To Put People’s Intelligence Into Processes
If your company has been around a while, you’ve got team members with years or even decades of experience. Maybe you even tout this on your company’s website and rightly so. Nothing is more vital to the long term success of an organization that having quality people who know their stuff. But then they start leaving.
Staff attrition is a big deal for entities in any industry. When an expert employee leaves, they take with you an important record of how your business really works. The real trouble is that this record is not readily accessible, because it’s in the person’s mind. All their knowledge, connections and hard-earned wisdom walks out the door with them on their last day. And that spells trouble for you as a business owner because no matter how good their replacement is, they won’t have that unique perspective.
Luckily, help is at hand with a combination of BI and business process management (BPM). By interviewing your staff members and examining how they function day to day, BI can get expertise out of people’s heads and into the processes that drive your business. This knowledge transfer preserves irreplaceable wisdom and insulates you from layoffs, retirements and people leaving to join competitors. It’s one of the best ways to make your business truly intelligent.
2. To Deal With Big Data
Everywhere you look, you see the term Big Data. While it’s tempting to dismiss this as a nebulous buzzword, the phenomenon is all too real. Companies like yours are dealing with more information than ever before, delivered at higher speed and through an increasingly dizzying array of channels. And it’s not just big companies which are affected by Big Data, but small and midsize ones, too.
It’s all too easy to just be overwhelmed by the data deluge or to only select a segment of the information you deem important, at the neglect of all the other incoming information. But there’s a better way. The latest BI tools can capture, process and analyze all your data much faster and more effectively than people or old, first generation BI software. It can then interpret this in dashboards, convenient graphic displays and reports that make sense of your data, no matter how much you receive. This way, you can make more informed decisions that can positively impact your business, rather than just letting data streams wash over and around you.
3. To Find New Opportunities
Your main lines of business have been growing nicely, so you’re keeping your focus on them. This is a sound, low-risk strategy that can keep growth going and profit margins expanding. But what if there’s something you’re missing that could give your business a welcome boost?
With BI, you can uncover hidden opportunities that you’d never have thought existed. Through data analysis, examining customer behavior and “lifting the lid” on your daily operations, it’s like taking your car for a bumper to bumper tune up that can yield more horsepower and torque to power you past your competition. By extracting, organizing and analyzing data, you can obtain for the first time the information needed to identify new areas for potential growth, and eliminate the “best guess” approach to decision making.
4. To Make Your ‘Busy Season’ Less Hectic
“Busy season” is a phrase that puts panic into the hearts of tax professionals everywhere, particularly at this time of the year. But it’s far from the only industry or department that goes through a hectic period each year. Retail companies are slammed by sales around Labor Day, Thanksgiving and the New Year. Colleges and universities contend with three frantic periods when processing an influx of applications, enrollment paperwork and mid-year transfers. And HR departments at just about any kind of organization work through a deluge of paperwork when it’s time for open enrollment.
When a business is busy, workflows tend to fall apart if they’re not set up well – like a bridge that wasn’t stress tested properly. Extra work can be randomly assigned to the wrong individuals, mistakes made and deadlines missed. BI can help by providing a detailed insight into how you’ve handled peak times in the past, and by providing forward-looking analysis with predictive modeling. The results can then be put into a BPM plan that tweaks workflows to better deal with increased volume. With the correct, data-informed processes in place, you should be able to handle any situation – even the dreaded busy season!
Our consultant training helps you optimize your time and feel less busy.
5. To Discover What You’re Doing Wrong (and how you can make it right)
In business, we often focus too much on results, whether that’s revenue goals, company growth or other tangible markers of success or failure. But what were the decisions that led to positive or negative outcomes? What did the path to that end point look like, and what turns could’ve been made to affect the outcome?
These are some of the questions that BI can help answer. By going through decision analysis, reviewing content-based metrics and doing a deep dive into your company’s unstructured data, BI uncovers bottlenecks, communication breakdowns and inefficiencies. It can also provide a deeper understanding of customer and competitor experiences. These discoveries can then be used to change and optimize your operations, leading to improved outcomes that positively impact customer and vendor interactions, sales and, ultimately, the bottom line. The old saying “You can’t know what you don’t know” is applicable here. BI replaces “don’t know” with deep insight and once you know, you can act.