It’s a fact. Putting intelligence back into business intelligence (BI) can boost your career – forever. Sure, I’m biased, but I’ve seen it – and it wowed me. A few clicks to a portal for the latest and greatest insights; a quick, informative check of my marketing dashboard; and I’m a believer. It’s so much better than fussing with spreadsheet after spreadsheet after spreadsheet.
A well-known marketing executive, who has been CMO for a few top software companies in Silicon Valley, catapulted her career when she introduced a BI solution to the marketing folks. It wasn’t the technology, necessarily, that floored them; it was her understanding of the difference between reports and business intelligence. She could share data insights, rather than just report the numbers. She quickly separated revenue generators from marketing expenses. And she introduced new insights into expenditures that maximized that lucent marketing spend.
By ditching spreadsheets, she was able to gather data on every campaign and dive into the metrics to understand immediately where the leakage was and stop the flood. If marketing leads weren’t performing, she could identify and launch new campaigns optimized for success. This was all done in real time, when the business needed it – not at the end of the quarter, when it was too late!
This future CMO was smart, but BI made her smarter. Reports tell you where you are; BI tells you where you’re going. BI gives you multi-dimensional analysis that allows you to dive deep into your metrics and see the details that enable better decision making. Since reporting is more of a snapshot, a single-dimension of the truth, any decision maker is missing out on true insights into the business. She knew if her department could do better, her company would as well. For this CMO, the rest is history.
Reports vs. Business Intelligence: a Side-by-Side Comparison
|Comprises static data||Is dynamic|
|Shows transactions or events||Provides insights|
|Provides moment-in-time views||Drills down into details; offers what if scenarios|
|Enhanced with pie and bar charts||Shared via dashboards or other cool visuals|
|Used for controlling business activities||Asks questions, improves decision making|
Trying to force “intelligence” out of reporting tools can leave you frustrated and somehow incomplete. The best solution, particularly for small businesses, is to ensure that the day-to-day operational-type reporting tasks blend with your BI tool.
IDC’s Insights on Business Intelligence and Improving Job Performance
According to a report by IDC, Driving Business Innovation and Improving Job Performance, no matter what your title, analytics gives decision makers “…the best possible intelligence about customers, finances, operations, suppliers, and the market.” This is why, according to IDC research, business analytics is among the top-five IT investment initiatives in 2012. Seventy-two percent of large and midsize organizations plan to invest in business analytics in 2012. You can earn more about how this applies to your job function at http://www.innovationsinanalytics.com.
Now you’re probably thinking, sure, I can propel my career if I had millions to do it! That’s true; budget helps, but it isn’t a deal breaker. There are desktop solutions that offer robust functionality suitable not only for small business but also departments in larger organizations. These solutions offer the opportunity to move you from a beginner to a more advanced BI player. Don’t be surprised by their low price tag. Study what these solutions can offer you today and tomorrow, so they can grow with you.
You don’t need a big budget or a complicated instruction sheet to launch business intelligence, but you do need the desire to take your company or department to the next level. If you haven’t ditched your spreadsheets yet, give it some thought. See where it takes you – and your organization.