Here are some of the tell-tale signs that you may need a BI tool....
It is true that years ago we used to do just fine without having Business Intelligence or Data Visualisation tools. Back then though, things were a lot simpler. Data was certainly more contained and not as large as it is today. These days, we have all of this incredibly valuable data, but unless we have the means to actually use the data in a meaningful way, then it’s data that you may as well not have in the first place.
You may have reached the point where you are scratching your head in frustration, but you may not be able to put your finger on exactly what the problem is..
Here are some clues that might help you:
1. You are spending quite a lot of time on Excel reports
If this is the case, then ask yourself:
- What kind of reports are you producing?
- Are they available as standard from your finance/crm system(s)?
- If not, could you look at getting some customised reports from your system?
- Are you combining data from different sources?
2. You have lots of data in different places, but can’t really see the full picture?
Is your data held in disparate systems, various spreadsheets, files and folders?? If so, it is probably close to impossible to get the analysis you need without some kind of dedicated Business Intelligence tool.
3. Each department spends lots of time on Excel Reporting for management, weekly, monthly reports
Here's an excercise worth doing. Add up the amount of time spent compiling reports across the organisation or better still work out the percentage of time that each department manager spends on reporting. If you get a scarily high percentage, then yes you need to re-look at how you are producing your reports. A BI tool could definitely help reduce that percentage number dramatically.
4. By the time you have the data compiled, it is not so “up-to-date” anymore
If your task involves compiling data from various systems and external sources, you are probably working from extracted data. By the time you have done what you need to do in terms of analysis and reports, the data may quickly become "out-of-date". This is where an embedded Business Intelligence tool can really help you to get current, live data without having to extract the data.
5. You have an inefficient way of measure KPI’s against performance?
How can you measure against KPI's if you don't have up to date data? If makes sense that the simpler your task of producing your reports and analysis, the easier it is to compare these against your KPI's.
6. You would ideally like to automate reports to be sent on a particular time/date?
This is another tick in the box for most Business Intelligence tools out there. Being able to schedule reports to auto send on a particular time/date can save you more time and headaches.
7. When you realise there may be a problem, it may be a little late. The damage may already have been done and fixing it may not be so easy now.
This image may be a slightly over exaggerated representation of a frustrated businessman, but you get the picture. Some things are much easier to fix if you know about the problem on time and can react faster. If you are resorting to grabbing a hammer because you didn't know about something on-time, then YES a BI tool would definitely be worth investigating! (maybe even some anger management courses too!).
If you are thinking about how a Business Intelligence solution for your business, check out this e-book from Panintelligence...