Customer expectations are now at an all-time high and competition is always increasing. Businesses are under constant pressure to increase efficiency and improve results.
At the same time, the amount of available data is also growing. Companies can now collate information from across their organisation and industry. This gives them a serious competitive advantage in seeing where improvements are needed, where trends in sales have increased or decreased, and where there are potential gaps in the market.
It’s therefore no surprise that data analytics has become an important tool across organisations. According to Robert Hetu, research director at Gartner: "Advanced analytics tools enable deeper insights and discovery that will challenge business assumptions. They also put information in the hands of business analysts and business users and offer significant potential to create business value and competitive advantage." Among many benefits, using data can help companies save thousands of pounds, improve their procurement efficiency, develop their marketing strategies, support business growth and, critically, differentiate themselves from competitors.
By bringing together data from across the business, companies can get real-time insights into finance and sales, marketing and product development, and much more. This data enables each team within the business to collaborate better, achieve better results and outsell rival companies.
Using networked business intelligence to link up different departments’ data across a company is also leading to change in the way operational tasks are done. With increased access to data, Networked BI provides more opportunities to spot trends in customer behaviour and peaks in sales, thus improving the relationship with customers and enabling a competitive advantage.
Further, if employees can view data in context, they can make smarter business decisions to achieve improved products and services. For instance, in the supply chain, real-time intelligence into deliveries, orders and returns can hugely improve efficiency. Thanks to gathering data, companies can bring together order information, customer requests and thousands of different configurations of products, services and bundled deals.
However, if this valuable data is handled inefficiently it can lead to problems, such as different departments within a company not understanding how to use it or share it. In this case, the data isn’t being used to its full potential or becoming a benefit to the company. Instead, it is just creating additional work and effort.
On the other hand, data has become a lot more accessible and is no longer suitable for only data scientists or analysts. Now, it can be used by everyone within a company to increase productivity and improve decision-making. Better use of data ultimately has a positive impact on the bottom line of any business.
Southard Jones is Vice President of Product Strategy at Birst