Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan

5 Ways to Improve Business Intelligence Value


valueHas your business intelligence software under-delivered on value? I don't only mean the ROI of your BI – I also mean simply how valuable BI is to your organization. Is its use engrained in your company culture? If it's not, you're in the majority. By some estimates, 80% of corporate data isn't accessed by BI users. How important to your culture can BI be if it's only touching 20% of your data? But this isn't an article about big data or social data – this is an article about changes you can make this year to improve how valuable BI is to your company, to increase the number of users who rely on it, and to make it essential to your everyday operations. You've likely paid between $100,000 and $1,000,000 for your BI system – why not squeeze every last drop of value out of it?

1) Pump customer data into your analysis
Is there a company in the world who can say "We have access to all the data we need about our customers"? A 360 degree view of customers is something every company seems to be chasing. Though it might seem like an elusive goal, you can take the first steps by integrating data from your CRM, accounting and customer support systems into your BI dashboards and reports to enable analysis of customer growth, profitability, and lifetime value. Understanding these KPIs can help you spot trends, identify opportunities to cross-sell, up-sell or simply target them more effectively. Your BI platform likely connects data from multiple sources, so why not take advantage of this inherent value by getting your platform to assemble the necessary data for you so you don't waste time manually integrating data from all these different systems. It might not be quick to incorporate customer analytics into your BI initiative, but more companies are finding it essential to the continued value of their business intelligence and the success of their company.

Learn more about customer analytics in our blog series, which starts here.

2) Set up alerts and delivery
Your business intelligence can instantly improve its standing and value by adding alerts and report delivery. Let your BI software act as a personal assistant to decision makers. Notifications in the form of email alerts are useful for leaders to keep a pulse on business operations without having to log into the BI system (especially when they're traveling, this might be difficult). For instance if inventory falls below a set threshold, managers would appreciate an instant alert of this change. Also if a manager is on a business trip but needs to stay on top of her KPIs, her reports and dashboards can be emailed to her on a set schedule. With arcplan, for example, it's simple to deliver reports on a scheduled basis and send event-based alerts about changes to KPIs.

Learn more about report delivery in this video.

3) Reassess your dashboards
Has it been awhile since your BI dashboards were first designed? We've seen this with arcplan's customers, since their average tenure is more than 7 years. We have some customers still using dashboards that look a bit…primitive. Updating your dashboards with modern charts and more stylish fonts might seem unnecessary to some companies, but there's a reason so much is written about "great dashboard design." Attractive dashboards attract more users, and I bet you'll see an uptick in adoption after a dashboard refresh. arcplan is even offering this as a workshop to our customers who want a design refresh (contact your account manager if you're interested!).

Check out 5 reasons you may need a "dashboard comeback" and some examples of modern data visualizations you might want to incorporate in your next-gen BI dashboard.

4) Deploy existing content on mobile devices
You can quickly increase the number of users accessing business intelligence content by making it more available, and a great way to do this is by deploying your dashboards and reports on mobile devices. Especially for decision makers who travel frequently or simply need anywhere/anytime access to KPIs, it's much easier to pull them up on a phone or tablet than to drag out a laptop. With arcplan 8 and our built-in Responsive Design concept, arcplan customers can deploy their BI content to mobile devices with very little effort. We're seeing more and more customers adding mobile BI to their business intelligence mix to ensure that users can access BI the way they want to – making BI essential to their everyday work. Your BI system likely includes some way to make your existing BI content mobile. Taking advantage of it can be a great way to increase the value of your BI.

Learn about the business benefits and 5 principles of Responsive Design.

5) Make it predictive
While BI has traditionally been used to look at historic data, more than ever it's incorporating predictive analytics. You can (and should) use past data to project future performance and make better decisions based on more accurate forecasts. You have access to tons of historic data – why not make use of it in a way that can affect your company'’s future? Once decisions about future performance depend on your BI platform, its use will quickly become ingrained in your company culture.

See some examples of predictive analytics on this blog.

Leverage the full breadth of your BI software's capabilities to ensure that you're getting all the value it can deliver. Modern BI platform offer so many options, from multi-data source connectivity to mobile BI, and few companies take advantage of them all. Are there a few things mentioned here that you've recently started to make use of? Do you have more to add to this list? Leave us a comment!


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