Quick Guide to Business Intelligence

Why is BI important?

Data is more available and more accessible than ever before but if you do not know how to measure the data that you have accurately then it is of no use in of itself. Data is useful to business only when it can generate insight. BI reporting looks at the state of play as it is. Data analytics can then extend that to envisage what key data reporting could look like if you tweaked some of the numbers. This is when reporting can turn data into actionable insight.


What is your Business Intelligence vision?

Most organisations have a good idea of what their overall business key performance indicators (KPIs) look like. Some businesses use weekly or monthly board packs to help the senior team to understand the state of play. Many companies that we speak to do already have a good idea of the reporting that they would like to see but they are frustrated at the length of time it takes to generate the reports, or there is a key data source that needs a manual intervention to include in the reports and often the reports are just not allowing the senior team to feel confident that they are being given a complete picture.

So we advise that your BI strategy should start from some of those key fundamental reports that the business must have. We can then work backwards from that to identify the data flow.


What types of BI reports do I need?

Start with the basics. If you have a limited amount of reporting then it makes sense to start with some core metrics around stock, product, customer, resources, marketing, budgets, pricing and costs.

Once you have identified what are core metrics for your business then we can help you to identify what systems you have that will contain the data that can answer those questions.

When you know what information you want in your BI reports you can then start to think about who you want to have access to what. This is where the data model comes in. BI tools can lock down access rights and permissions but you have to think about that prior to implementing the platform. Looker have some good examples of BI dashboards.  

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