A more intelligent business is often the goal for many, including mid-market businesses, which have come to realize greater intelligence allows them to exploit their agility over large businesses and their resourcefulness over small businesses. Knowing the right way to go means reduced waste in resources and improved business focus. So building a smarter business becomes a goal, but the execution leaves some puzzled. How do you build a more intelligent business? The answer, strangely enough, is to focus on business intelligence.
How Is Business Intelligence Changing the Way Mid-Market Businesses Operate?
Business intelligence is actually changing operations and strategies on several fronts. From standard operations to marketing and even IT, nearly every aspect of business operations at the mid-market level has been fundamentally altered by business intelligence.
A massive marketing shake-up.
Marketing is easily one of the most affected areas in mid-market companies that use business intelligence. Marketing is now able to take data from other departments and incorporate it into its operations. This has been the case in sales departments for some time. After all, marketing and sales are two sides of the same coin. But now, marketing can take information from all over and put it to work. Moreover, that same intelligence can be used to hold marketing accountable, determining the return on investment (ROI) from marketing campaigns and determining how to modify these for better future use.
A bonus in sales, too.
Business intelligence doesn't just help marketing; it also helps sales. Sales and marketing are closely related, so many of the principles that make business intelligence beneficial to marketing, also make it useful to sales. Business intelligence provides immense insight not only into your own business but into the competition's as well. This allows sales reps to immediately understand what they're up against and respond accordingly. Answering objections also becomes easier the more you know about your competition. Better yet, sales can also find out what competitors are doing, both wrong and right. By knowing what's working and what isn't, sales staffers are better able to adjust their behavior and produce better results.
Huge moves in operations.
Business intelligence brings with it plenty of benefits for general operations as well. Report writing, for example, is that much easier when all of a business's data is readily available. In some cases, reports can be written automatically using information that's already stored. Plus, business intelligence offers greater visibility into business processes, which not only helps identify operations that aren't pulling their weight but also highlights what actions are working. Business intelligence can help shape business models, preventing operational bottlenecks that would slow agility. Business intelligence even allows you to set up proper inventory-carrying models to ensure that you have on hand what you're most likely to need.
A strategic advantage.
Up in the C-suite, business intelligence is fundamentally altering the way strategies are established and executed. Not only can businesses achieve results that are overall closer to initial goals, but it also allows for greater visibility into the rest of the business. Your business strategy can now take overall consumer behavior into account, which allows for fundamental shifts in product design and other strategic functions. Basically, the business can better understand its own place in the market relative to its competition, and it can make adjustments accordingly to improve its standing. That's the whole point of business strategy, and business intelligence makes it worthwhile.
Data no longer an abstract.
Throughout organizational ladders, business intelligence highlights one particular trend above all others: data is becoming part of the plan, instead of just information stored on a server. Business intelligence allows for the creation of actionable insights, a buzzword which basically means “something we can do that's related to the data.” Sales data, for example, is just numbers on a screen, but when that sales data makes it clear that the company should lower its prices, that's an actionable insight. Other actionable insights include such things as store hours. For instance, if customers like to shop after 6:00 PM, it might not be worthwhile to open up at 9:00 AM. Business intelligence can inform staffing levels and many other areas of a company.
Direct employee morale improvement.
Business intelligence can even provide motivational value. One example comes from a pet insurance company called Trupanion, which is the fastest growing operation in its industry. Trupanion used business intelligence to determine its largest claim settled in a day and the total number of claims it's settled, which translates into “pets helped.” By publicly posting that information, employees benefited from a boosted morale after seeing the impact their work has on the world. It's one thing to punch a clock and settle claims, but when you can immediately translate that into “We helped 35 pets today,” it becomes much more personal.
A bottom line hit.
One of the greatest things about business intelligence is its direct bottom-line impact. Business intelligence provides important financial insights that drive revenue. The more a business can do that focuses on revenue generation, the better off it will be. Business intelligence makes it clear what those things are.
How Do I Start Putting Business Intelligence to Work for My Business?
Building a better business starts with building a smarter business, and smarter businesses get that way by focusing on business intelligence. If you're ready to put business intelligence to use, the best place to start is with UTG. From network and system engineering to backup and disaster planning, we've got everything you'll need to start developing a business intelligence program that makes the most of your data. Drop us a line when you want to put more business intelligence into your business.