Written by Oksana Slipenkyj.
Our article on Business Intelligence begins with a story….
It was a dark and stormy night, when you needed to drive to a restaurant that you’d never been to before. Your car was covered in ice and snow, you didn’t have a snow brush, the wipers stopped working, your headlights were dim, the dashboard gauges barely visible and the GPS wasn’t turning on. Driving through a blizzard to somewhere you don’t know how to get to, without any aids or tools is almost impossible, and not something most of us would like to try.
Now imagine the car you’re driving is actually your organization, and the blizzard is our economy. That restaurant you’re trying to get to – that’s your company’s strategic objectives – increased market share, improved cash flow, new products and so on. The navigational aids are the Business Intelligence tools that help you steer your organization.
Business Intelligence is a set of tools or techniques that transform raw data into useful information for analytic purposes.
These days, lack of data is not the problem. Your various systems – ERP, Quality, Warehouse Management, CRM, HR – all produce large amounts of raw transactional data about customers, products, sales, production and so on. The challenge is to be able to transform this data into meaningful, actionable information that you can use to gain results.
So what has your data done for you lately?
Information is an asset, and one that can help you gain a competitive advantage.
However taking all those gigabytes of raw data and coming up with meaningful measurements takes a few steps.
What are your company’s Key Performance Indicators?
Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are metrics that help you evaluate your success – these can be things like sales targets, sales opportunities, product performance, manufacturing bottlenecks – whatever your company wants to track and measure. KPI’s can help you answer basic questions like:
- Who is buying what? And who is NOT buying.
- Where do our sales come from?
- Is our inventory at the right levels?
- How can we make our production even more efficient?
- What have our Account Managers been doing?
KPI’s can lead you in making both operational and strategic decisions that directly impact your bottom line.
Transform your Data into Information and compare to your KPI’s
Analytic tools take your raw data and turn it into something you can actually use.
Phoenix Systems offers a variety of BI tools that work with your SYSPRO data and other databases.
There is no one size fits all solution, there is a suite of tools that you can utilize in the way that makes the most sense for your organization. These range from customized reports, automated report delivery, Analytic tools, Dashboards, and more. They can be available on demand, on a desktop, or on a mobile device or through email.
Business Intelligence tools are also scalable, you don’t have to do everything all at once. Pick a few key areas to focus on, and some key performance indicators and this will give you the most payback.
Visualizations help with decision-making
Present your information in a way that makes sense to you – you can go far beyond traditional grids and use graphical elements – they aren’t just a pretty picture – they can help you visualize large amounts of data quickly and aid in understanding and decision-making.
If you don’t have this kind of information today, how do you make these decisions? Do you go by gut feel? Do what you’ve always done? Do what your competitors are doing?
There is a better way. It’s called Business Intelligence. Running a business without BI tools is like driving a car in a snowstorm without working headlights or gauges. It can be done, but you can get there faster and safer with a few tools.
Luckily our dark and stormy night story does have a happy ending. While the current economic forecast is challenging, you have lots of data, and there are many options for how to use this to help your company succeed.