Business Intelligence (BI)
By TJ Doherty
The core value of BI solutions is to convert data into insights. This enables businesses to use clear decision-making processes and ultimately make better decisions faster. The benefits can be equally as valuable for executives making strategic decisions as it can be for middle management, business analysts or operations staff making tactical decisions.
With a business intelligence solution, an organization can analyze:
Product performance. Understand sales trends, product mix and seasonality issues, individual product profitability, and product life cycle issues. Determine which products will bring the greatest opportunity for return on investment (ROI).
Customer trends. Understand customer-buying habits, shift sales and support focus to customers that will bring the greatest ROI, and devise strategies to grow the customer base or retain existing customers.
Marketing campaigns. Reduce the cost per lead and improve the quality of the marketing pipeline by measuring the success of individual marketing campaigns.
Sales performance. Measure sales interactions to help managers identify low-performing areas and spotlight the most successful sales channels.
Customer Service incidents. Analysis of customer service data may focus on evaluating efficiency of the customer service center. It may be desirable to analyze cost per request, per customer, per product, or per customer service representative. This analysis can help management determine if changes are required, such as additional headcount, improved documentation, increased training, changes in pricing structure for service calls, or customer self-help options.
Order and shipment trends. Optimize production through more efficient inventory management, reduce or eliminate shipping backlogs, help sales set accurate expectations for product delivery, and negotiate lower shipping costs by understanding order and shipment trends.
Inventory Levels. Reduce inventory costs by more accurately anticipating inventory needs. Measure seasonal and sales trends to forecast future demand.
Web site statistics. Correlate the volume and origin of Web site visits with marketing and advertising campaigns. Optimize navigation by analyzing traffic patterns.
Point-of-Sale data. Analysis of retail sales data may focus on store operation, including measures and key performance indicators (KPIs) to support sales performance, fraud detection, store performance, and marketing campaign analysis.