While business intelligence of late has mostly centered around data collection, and by extension, investment in IT infrastructure, there has been a demand for change in how data is collected and processed. While IT investments are a part of business intelligence gathering, the need of the hour is to optimize the data. This involves sophisticated analysis, categorization, and application of data.
The right information can be a powerful tool to energize business. However, if not used correctly, any investment made in technology fails to provide good results. Timely and effective business intelligence, on the other hand, offers the following benefits:
- Higher performance at lower cost
- Better risk management
- Provides real time data to create an effective enterprise
- Standardization across the board
Some of the innovative ways that business intelligence can be used in are described below:
Integrate delivery mechanisms with tablets and mobile phones
Having information locked up where people cannot access it at a moment’s notice is not the right way to use data. Instead, ensure that the information can be accessed by authorized people when they need to. Mobile phones have reached a stage where installing apps to help them access information takes just a few minutes.
Update information frequently
Businesses should never depend on outdated information. The frequency of updates depends on factors, such as nature of information, markets, and cost of review. However, there should be rules in place as to when information is to be updated, by who, and how.
Find newer sources
It is a good idea to keep looking for new places to find information. The internet has opened up many possibilities in that direction. From social bookmarking to blogs, company websites, and Twitter, there are a lot of places to unearth information. From understanding how customers view brands to get updates from real people about competitors, there are a lot of useful ways to leverage social media as a source of information.
Apart from social media, information may also be found through other sources, such as emails, memos, and even photographs. Managers have typically steered clear of these sources, since organizing this information takes more time than say, going over inventory lists. However, these sources offer a wealth of information to those who know how to use it.
Present information as graphs and tables
The human brain cannot process vast swathes of information, unless it is organized in smaller chunks. When presenting information, the least that can be done is to break them into smaller parts, numbered lists, and so on. One of the most effective methods of processing information is to go through graphs. Graphs can be easily processed and the required information can be quickly pulled from the formatted data.
While technology remains an important aspect of business intelligence gathering, it is equally important to ensure that information is being correctly utilized. Without proper mechanisms for information use, data gathering efforts often come to naught and expensive infrastructure investments remain underutilized.