What is BI and why is it so important?

So what is BI and why is it so important?

In the current economic climate it’s critical to understand your numbers which is why Bi is so important. Now this is not JUST your finances but should be across the board throughout your business in marketing, sales, operations (doing the actual work or shipping the products) and finance.

All of these areas are linked and if you are able to improve the amount of leads you receive then you will usually get more sales and so on.

 

What does Bi mean?

So what does BI mean? Well in a literal sense from Wikipedia is means this:

Business intelligence (BI) comprises the strategies and technologies used by enterprises for the data analysis of business information.

Now I would change that slightly to this:

Business Intelligence is the ability for a SME and Enterprises to understand business information and analyse in a simple and effective way.

Why add SME’s you ask? well the cost of analysing this data has dramatically come down by using analytical tools like Tableau, PowerBI and Zoho Analytics.

So let’s break this down further into a few different sections: Data, Reporting, Dashboards and Decision making.

 

DATA

Many of you reading this probably don’t realise the number of ways information (data) is tracked..

For example the fact your even reading this blog is providing data on a number of points

  • How long you’re reading it for
  • What page you came from to get there (LinkedIn, Facebook, Our website)
  • What device are you reading it on
  • And many more

All of this data will usually (GDPR, cookie blockers, etc dependent) go into some sort of database. A database can be any number of things but just think of a really big excel spreadsheet with lots of tabs.

This data will hold lots of different field types like dates, numbers, text, etc.

If you’d like to know more about keeping good data then check our Jake’s blog series.

In order to report on this data you’d need to collate all this information into one place. This is where we can get clever as with Zoho Analytics you can pull data from almost anywhere.

Zoho Analytics data import

Reporting

Reporting is one of the most important things you can do within a business.

Most businesses will already be reporting on overall sales, expenses, profit, etc. But what if I told you that it’s possible to report on things like

  • Length of time it takes to make a sale
  • best sales people
  • Customer average spend
  • Best lead generator
  • Best selling product

All you need is to keep track of this information the rest is being able to read the data in the right way.

So once you have the information all within a product like Zoho Analytics then you can start creating the reports.

Let’s say for example you want to know where you make the most sales by product category on a map.

What you need to do is track the information the customer location and what product you have sold. This can be as simple or detailed as you wish but for this example we’re just going to go for Furniture, grocery and stationery.

When you create the report you end up with a live report like the one below which you can then share as you see fit.

What this suddenly does is alleviate all the stresses of having to create these reports weekly, monthly or whatever you decide on. You can also share these with colleagues, customers or new prospects if you need.

 

Dashboards

The next step is to then start looking at this data and bring similar reports into one area which is called a dashboard

These can hold your KPIs (Key performance indicators) and any number of reports you feel you need for each area of your business.

Here’s another example of a dashboard.

 

Decision making

So why is this data, reports and dashboards so important?

Well… If you can understand your business more then you can make much better decisions based on the facts of data rather than guessing that will help you achieve your goals.

With this data you can then start creating reports that predicts your any number of things.

This allows you as a business to plan better for the ups and downs based on your data like seasonal trends, etc so that most things that happen within your business doesn’t become a shock.

 

Conclusion

Just remember that BI is there to help you analyse your business. There will often be factors that are outside of the reporting metrics that you may have to consider like economy, Covid-19 and more.

These are however a valuable tool to help you with your business to push forward and something that all the enterprise businesses have been using for years!

My next blog will be a deeper dive into Zoho analytics and how to get the best out of it.