Business Intelligence (BI) is such a buzzword, everyone wants to use it. But do people really understand what it means and what kind of tangible benefits a business can get using BI? Below, I give a sample of some questions BI can help an organization answer.
Where can I cut without causing pain to reduce operational expenses by 10%?
Because they are mostly counted as ‘overhead expenses’, managers are always under pressure to reduce operational costs. Without having reliable data to base their decisions on, however, managers do not have a means to identify accurately where cuts can be made without causing pain. With the help of a BI stack, they can look at their operations data, compare and contrast the various areas of expense and their needs, and then decide what expenses they can live without or reduce.
Does my current commission structure motivate my sales reps to their full capacity?
The age old question of what kind of commission structure to setup for sales reps. How would you know what works best if you can’t measure the outcome of the current structure? BI gives you the tools to measure the amount being spent on commission for individual sales reps and compare that to their output. By allowing to compare scientifically, BI enables you to know exactly what to tweak in order to push your sales rep to full capacity.
Do repeat customers have an affinity for promoting our products on social media?
Social media is such a powerful marketing tool nowadays. Make your offering go viral on social media and watch your profits skyrocket. But how do you accomplish that? You need to be able to tell what makes your customers talk about your product on social media, essentially serving as your mouthpiece for marketing. BI helps you gather that data and be able to predict what products will hit home with your customers.
Can we eliminate a number of touches in the supply chain to reduce failures?
Supply chains are complex. A breakdown in the supply means disaster to the business. Probability of a breakdown is directly proportional to the number of touches in the entire chain. Executives are constantly looking to reduce the number of touches in their supply chain in order to minimize the chances of a breakdown. But how do they decide where to reduce? Intelligent guesses are good, but using company’s data, BI can help precisely identify whether touches can be eliminated.
How effective are our learning programs? Does employee behavior change as a result of training?
HR continuously strives to improve employee skills & behavior by offering various learning programs. But are the programs actually having an impact on the employees, or is the business just wasting money and time on them? Without measuring KPIs, it is just not possible to ascertain this. Using internal HR data, BI can help orient learning programs to ones that actually make a difference to employee behavior and, by extension, business performance.
Do certain regions have an affinity for purchasing our products? If so, what problem are they solving?
Marketing departments are always on the lookout for information telling them where to focus their efforts. Different geographies react differently to the same campaign; an angle that works in one area might not have an impact in another area. In order to determine that, however, BI is needed. If the marketing department needs to determine what problem a product is solving for a certain region resulting in that region to have better sales, BI will be able to help them get the answer quickly and efficiently.