Data is everywhere. It comes from what you do as a business, how you do it, and through other various streams. It tells you stories on time, cost, revenue, operational excellence and more.
Data is important. It lets you do your business better. More efficiently. More frugally. It opens up new revenue streams and improves the existing ones. However, it is not the data itself doing all those by lying down on cells of a spreadsheet. It is the product of it, which brings up the concept of data analytics.
Being able to truly apply data analytics on the matter lets us understand the issue better, explain the problem statement to others, comment on the question, speculate on possible answers and, finally, find a viable solution via insight generation on the available data. This is not bound to a business and it applies to almost any issues that we are facing and aiming to solve in life.
If you did a Google search now, the first result that pops up on your screen would tell you that Business Intelligence (BI) is a technology-driven process of analyzing data and delivering actionable information that helps executives, managers and workers make informed business decisions. The definition is pretty standard that you could find on the Web; though I would like to draw your attention to the parts that I underlined: Technology driven data analytics that is restricted to the business domain with the purpose of creating actionable items to the owners of the business brings us to what we specialized on – business intelligence.
Let’s assume we have collected all the relevant data in the world that is somehow connected to our business. We accessed the right equipment, analyzed what we have using the finest technological tools and generated insights that could be very helpful to drive our business towards the right direction. How do we pass our findings to the people who are responsible from applying those decisions?
It’s the reporting process. Regardless of the frequency, type or level of it, a healthy reporting pipeline is crucial to the data driven management of any business.
We discussed what data analytics is, how the business intelligence emerges and why reporting is extremely significant for any business operating in today’s market conditions where every competitor is heavily involved in the usage of technology regardless of the industry. It is quite easy to argue that those concepts must be embraced in any organization and must exist in some form. Yet, the impact of the quality of those solutions is yet to be discussed further.
In the journey of utilizing data and technology wisely in order to gain the upper hand in your business domain, the following concepts should be considered carefully:
- Technical Toolset
- Progressive Mindset
Let’s dive into the topic utilizing all these dimensions by referring to different levels of analytical maturity in each. Your people and business processes will be a product of those above in the multi-dimensional space of technology-backed development. We will discuss four levels consisting of different states in our dimensions.
- The most primitive level of BI is simply reporting of the data. In level 1, we see that the tools are quite basic, such as Excel. In this level, adoption of the technology in the organization is low. Therefore, the mindset is mostly focused on support. Consequently, people are mostly reporters. The data dissolves easily before making it to higher levels, findings don’t get converted to ideas, non-existing pipelines fail to generate data-driven decisions. People and the processes are insufficient. These businesses are, or will be, failing.
- As the adoption process starts, the maturity in dimensions increase. Reporting starts turning into analysis. It is not only the numbers anymore; we start seeing trends. Excel based data storages turn into standardized data systems, like databases. In these organizations, people see the changes and start joining others to contribute. It is not all about the early adapters anymore, the first line of the business joins the movement. If this sounds like your business, we can say that you are now in level 2. You will see commentators in your business, talking about the data. This is fantastic but it still has minimal impact on the growth of the business. People and the processes need to improve more so that you can benefit from this growth.
- Once, numbers were dominating your operational or financial reports, and then it started to be some line and bar charts. Now with further improvements in BI, data patterns met business knowledge and you could tie what you see in the report to what you do in the field: Welcome to the insight level in business intelligence. This was not easy, because it took analytical tools to start playing role in your smarter You, or your data professionals, are no longer running a process in individual level anymore. Organizational influence is high and advisors among the analysts emerge. Welcome to the level 3. This will be the bare minimum requirement just to survive for any business in the very near future.
- What does it take to claim level 4? For not just to survive but to control and direct your field of operation? Well, predictions (L4) will be made using the insights (L3) that you generate from the analysis (L2) of the data that you report (L1). This level requires a high level of fluency in technological solutions, such as tools for visualizations, analytics and discovery. The organizational mindset in this level needs to be impact By achieving all these, the human capital in your business will become strategists. Your people will be leaders and your processes will be pioneering the industry. The journey of the data will be less about showing and more about seeing. The decisions will be independent from gut feelings and will emerge from the data. At this point, anyone can prove, cross check and validate the one true form of the decision that needs to be taken.
Where we stand
We aim to take businesses from wherever they are in their journey of becoming the future’s data-driven companies and enable them to reach their full capacity. We take each client individually, seriously and passionately.
Ultimately, we help our partners collect all useful historical input in terms of what we call it data. We help our partners analyze this data in present time, so we can enable them to make predictions of their future. Want to be a part of the time machine? Contact us.