When it comes to looking at options for Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics, organisations can often feel that there is an avalanche of software available to them and for most this world can be a bewildering landscape of specialist technology and niche tools. In many cases those being tasked with looking at analytics are not IT focused, causing additional confusion.
Furthermore, technology and tools are moving on all the time with more features being added to software and additional capability being created as people try to differentiate their offering.
When Zizo talks to companies, most, especially SMEs, don’t have a standard sales reporting system in place that they can rely on. So when asked ‘where do we start in order to get BI for our company?’ I would recommend what all businesses, regardless of their size, do in the first instance is; look at what data you actually have.
Questions to ask of the business include:
- What data has been reliably collected and stored by the business?
- What is the quality of the data?
- In this instance ‘quality’ doesn’t mean anything fancy in terms of data quality – just has the business got a complete set of data?
- Is the data up to date?
Once you know what data the business has, then, and only then, can you ask what questions can this data possibly answer.
For example, it’s no good trying to work out Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for a business first. Deciding how your business is going to be monitored and managed and agreeing this with the management team is one of the most difficult things a business will ever do, is fraught with difficulty and will undoubtedly be faced with a lot of internal politics.
BUT, a CEO, CIO or CFO equipped with the knowledge of the data the business already has, will be able to convey the vital information he or she needs to be able to convince the business or management team the organisation is ready to move forward. This provides the impetus to start to reviewing the tools and analytical capabilities that could be used to gain meaningful and valuable insight.
On the other hand, if results show the business doesn’t have the right data stored or the data stored is incomplete it may be decided that the business won’t be able to answer any of the questions it wants to ask and the next action would actually be to start collecting data regularly and look to get BI further down the line. An example of this could be sales performance, where you are looking for sales by month but you may discover that the business deletes this data at the end of every week, meaning a change is needing to deliver your insight.
Simply put – you can’t analyse data you don’t have. If you really want to do BI, you really need to start with looking at what data you have. Then, by working with a analytical partner, like Zizo, who can put the data you do have in a format that will enable the business to do some initial analysis quickly and without having to make a big commitment on the BI front, will ensure you can start on the road to achieving insight at a price point that works for the business.
If you would like to learn more about Business Intelligence, please do give one of our team of experts a call on 01908 366662 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org