The Power Behind the Fortune 500

Every firm dream to be in the Fortune 500. We all love the fancy titles, big buildings and media presence their C-level executives enjoy. The global interaction they often engage in and how the reputation precedes anyone bearing their IDs.

What people often forget is how much resources go into the work they do, and the complexity of their structures and deals at times. So how are they able to manage all these complexities with large amounts of inflows and outflows of cash? How are they able to effectively manage their human resources, know what is going on at every point, manage their vast IT infrastructure with ever looming security threats, investments and the large chunk of information coming from so many systems, devices and even sensors, while still being able to remain in your face socially and remain forward thinking?

The answer is Data.

In this modern era, information technology solutions drive a lot of things if not everything, even in business. It has taken center stage as mobile computing and applications are beginning to flood the business space. More and more business tools are increasingly built for mobile from the ground up.

With the advent of HTML5 and cloud, the idea of rich dynamic mobile content in an integrated ecosystem is not farfetched in virtually every leading business space. Considering the widespread adoption of mobile technology, and ease of transactions and social interactions, data has become ubiquitous.

And there is need to crunch this data for clearer understanding and insights, and that is where the concept of Business Intelligence and Analytics comes in.

For those that are not familiar with the concept, I would do my fair best to bring you up to speed or probably just let Gartner do the talking.

“Business Intelligence is an interactive process for exploring and analyzing structured and domain-specific information to discern trends or patterns, thereby deriving insights and drawing conclusions. The business intelligence process includes communicating findings and effecting change.” (Source: www.gartner.com).

The analytics experts at Sistema Technologies have taken the pain to offer somewhat of a process flow describing how actionable intelligence is gotten from the data stage to the desired business result. You can peep at their Information Management Solutions and BI Services guide at www.sistematechnologies.com to consume this enlightening content.

Now that you understand that Business Intelligence and Analytics readily gives you access to the current state of your organization, it is easy to see that it offers to a large extent forecasting through predictive analytics. While it is obvious in this second decade of the twenty-first (21st) century that to stay in the competition, you must be a step ahead in your knowledge. Know yourself, your customers and competition, and your environment (both far and near). However, if you are still in doubt about whether you need to invest in BI, if the mere thought that industry leaders have invested so much in it is not convincing enough for those wanting to play in their field, then maybe our friends at Sisense (with a lot of BI knowledge) can help. Here are a few reasons they believe would convince you to invest in BI;

  • When you do not have any real information but a lot of data.
  • When you need to reach out to IT or someone for your reports
  • When you hit scalability limit with Excel; filtering restrictions, lower speeds, etc.
  • When joining data from multiple sources is tedious.
  • When your supposed intelligence (in form of pie chart) is meant to deliver KPIs that tell how your organization is doing.

And I add this one;

  • When as a business user, analyzing or accessing your data requires what I call manual automation, in the sense that you are using an IT tool but have to write complex queries and do so much manual work on the tool.

If the Fortune 500s had to use their data in the manner listed above, they obviously would be slow, failing to adapt quickly enough and probably missing out on a lot of business opportunities.

By now, the importance of Business Intelligence and Analytics has obviously sunk in. The next big question you would ask is likely “What BI tool is the best?”. While this is not exactly a valid question, what is more, appropriate would be “Which best suits my business needs?”. A look at Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms would provide a reasonable guide on the strengths and weaknesses of most of the well-defined BI and analytics platforms; from the traditional BI vendors that built robust BI solutions that were IT-led, to the disrupters bringing fresher business-led perspectives to the industry.

Brendan Wilde, marketing manager of Freeparking Domain Names NZ, one of the world’s biggest web hosting companies, says business intelligence and analytics is closely linked with good online presence and branding. “(It) is the ultimate extension of your business. It’s round-the-clock salesperson, customer experience manager, order taker, and an excellent way to build customer brand equity,” he says.

At this point, I would like to believe you are more aware of the importance of data and analytics. And if you want to play with the big boys, you need to be big yourself. In this data-driven era, every organization needs some form of business intelligence regardless of their size. However, ensure you have a BI strategy in place when you decide to invest in Business Intelligence and Analytics, and talking to the experts in analytics is sure to put you on the right track.

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