Business intelligence continues to be one of the most sought-after assets for enterprises, but without a clear goal in mind, business intelligence tools can’t possibly offer the results that you need to optimize operations and create more efficient workflows. The goal of business intelligence is to answer questions that you might have about your enterprise, and how you can improve the way it works.

To find out just what your enterprise is seeking to learn from its business intelligence endeavors – and the best ways to go about obtaining that data, consider the answers to these four crucial questions.

Who is the Subject of the Data?
What exactly does your business intelligence data represent? Does it focus on the performance of a specific internal department, or does it represent the efforts of your entire company? Does it take a look at current customers or prospective clients who have only made it through a specific checkpoint in the marketing funnel? Regardless of your answer, without a clear understanding of who the data you’re analyzing is focused on, your enterprise can’t possibly benefit from it.

What Does the Data Tell You?
Once you know the subject of the data, you’ll want to focus on what it actually tells you. Without an understanding of what the data contains, you won’t be able to use it to its best advantage. For example, you could collect all sorts of data on consumer behavior, but if your goal is to improve internal operations, this data won’t be of much use–at least not on its own. Another great example of how to determine what data tells you is the use of KPIs–key performance indicators–which can show you how well your employees are working, whether they are meeting production standards, or even where your internal processes run into a bottleneck. By putting these indicators into place, you’ll be able to better understand and interpret your data in terms of what specifically you’re analyzing for.

When is the Data Being Captured?
When was the data that you acquired actually captured? In other words, ask yourself how recent it is, as this will play a part in how useful it will be in the future. For example, let’s say that you have data captured from both three years ago and three months ago. A lot can happen in three years, so the more recent data will likely be more reliable and useful in the long run than data captured in the past. However, understanding that you have two sets of data, gathered over a specific period of time, you can set up a comparison of the two and determine how the two data sets differ, which can be very valuable information for some types of data analysis. By understanding when data was captured and what timeframes it was captured between, you can make much more efficient use of it than if you just glance at its face value.

Why is this Data Important?
Why is this data important for the future of your enterprise? You should be able to look at the data that’s been captured and apply it to specific instances where it can be useful. If you can’t look at data that’s been collected and immediately see what it is useful, you might consider consulting a business intelligence expert who specializes in data might be able to show you ways to use data that you had yet to consider. It’s a growing industry and companies are taking every opportunity to gather data and find a way to use it to improve processes. Basically, it’s of the utmost importance to both understand why you’re using business intelligence systems to collect data, how you plan to use the data, and what using that data will accomplish for your organization.

Actionable Insights to Resolve Deficiencies
Ultimately, the data that you collect from your business intelligence systems will be for the purpose of the following actionable insights:

  • Resolving procedural issues: Taking an in-depth look at your in-house data can be a great way to eliminate inefficiencies, like network bottlenecks or wasted of time and resources. Be on the lookout for data that represents opportunities for improvement, like optimizing data flow or creating a workflow that keeps wasted time to a minimum.
  • Cross-selling and upselling: Business intelligence can help you keep track of which services and products your clients are taking advantage of, as well as providing valuable insights into what other services they may want to take advantage of in the future. You can then use this information to upsell services to those who may find them helpful.
  • Identifying new or alternative markets: Examining data from business intelligence solutions can help you target new markets, providing more opportunities to make revenue and expand your target audience. It’s a great way to educate yourself on what a new market could want or need, and adapt your strategy to meet those needs.
  • Integration and collaboration: Since you will be more informed thanks to your business intelligence solutions, you’ll be able to think more in terms of future decisions that you might make. This can provide more opportunities in the form of collaboration between clients or vendors, as you can make an educated guess about the results of such a partnership.

Does your enterprise need a hand with implementing business intelligence solutions? To learn more about how BI can benefit your organization, reach out to IronEdge Group. Our trusted technicians will work with your enterprise to build a specially-crafted strategy that caters to your business intelligence needs. To learn more, reach out to us at 832-910-9222 or read more on business intelligence and analytics here.