When you discuss data analysis with an organisation, most owners will openly tell you how important their data is, and how they couldn’t live without it. But when you ask more questions and dig deeper into how they utilise their data, you soon learn that they are using their data just to keep status-quo. Unfortunately in business if your goal is to maintain status-quo, in real terms you’re actually going backwards – nothing any business is really trying to do.
Part of that problem is business owners are spending too much time focused on day-to-day operations and not enough time working at a higher level, reviewing and improving their business. For example, reviewing the P&L sheet a month after the reporting period is over is considered ‘analysing the businesses data’ by many business owners.
Does this sound familiar? Well the truth is that it’s very common in the SMB space, the same space that doesn’t have huge pockets of cash to be able to weather a bad market, or, uneducated or bad business decisions.
Imagine if you had to wait until 6 months into the New Year to receive your kid’s report card for the previous year? It would be pointless – how would you be expected to help guide and coach your child when you have received no feedback of their progress?
Anyway back to business, there is data and then there is Business Intelligence (BI), and for some they mean the same thing. The truth is that they are worlds apart – and reading your P&L is just looking at your data. Looking at live analytics data about your business, how it’s trending against your goals and against your competition – allowing you to make decisions on a daily if not on an hourly basis, that’s where BI comes into its strength.
I am yet to meet an organisation where implementing Business Intelligence tools wouldn’t generate a positive ROI. The unfortunate thing is that for a lot of organisations they don’t see the power of BI, until it’s too late – if ever. When they learn of the cost of such a powerful tool, they are too overwhelmed by the cost to even fathom the huge degree that a BI tool could improve their organisation.
The good news is that BI systems are much more affordable today than they have ever been. BI software that historically used to require very high end infrastructure now works on server platforms that are within reach for most SMBs today.
If you’re not using a BI system today – and no I am not talking about an excel worksheet that you have invested many years building, then you really need stop and take the time to speak to your IT partner.