As a manager, business owner, CEO or other important cogs in the wheel of your organization, one is continually striving to improve and streamline business processes to increase output, productivity, and profitability. With emerging market trends and changing customer needs, it becomes necessary to alter or at least, tweak the business processes in a way that optimizes the working of an organization. Strategies such as Business Intelligence and Advanced Analytics could largely help; but are they as effective as the promise made by consultants as to their efficacy? Which is the right choice for your organization? Cut through the buzzwords and the jargon, make choices that make a real difference, and facilitate the actual achievement of business goals and productivity targets.
What is business intelligence and what are the benefits?
Business intelligence is the umbrella term used to encompass a range of applications, tools, and methodologies that collect information from an organization’s internal processes as well as from external resources to create a valuable database. Operation managers and key decision makers of the organization can then use that data to analyze standard operating procedures, find solutions to specific issues, and create reports and dashboards. The data analysis can then be used effectively for creative visualizations and recommending business practices that will make an actual difference.
Putting business intelligence systems in place has many benefits for the organization:
- Faster and more accurate reporting and analysis of existing practices to detect lacunae or inefficient procedures
- Better, more effective planning to help formulate superior future strategies and improved long-term market penetration
- Improved, more accurate quality of information to help create a data bank
- The facilitation of better, more streamlined decision-making for the organization
- Improved employee productivity, morale, and job satisfaction
- Increased efficiency of operational processes with a wide-ranging positive impacts from manufacturing to customer service, to procurement to packaging and distribution
- Competitive advantage based on the effective utilization of the existing market information and best business practices
- Reduced costs based on insight gleaned from analytics
- Enhanced customer satisfaction as a result of in-depth analysis and tweaking of customer service processes and product development
- Streamlining of the workforce and effective use of talent
- A healthier, more robust bottom line
What is advanced analytics and what are the benefits?
Advanced analytics is a forward-looking system that helps to predict events and market evolutions to help businesses deal effectively with probable future events. Advanced analytics includes tools such as data mining, predictive analytics, machine learning and big data examination to reveal unknown correlations, hidden patterns, customer preferences and more. With the help of these tools, businesses can alter trajectories and formulate effective strategies to make more informed business decisions.
Like business intelligence, advanced analytics has many specific benefits:
- With enhanced understanding of trends detected in reviewed data, it is possible to reduce running costs
- Analysis of mined data helps to elucidate ways to refine strategy and cut down on time taken for various processes moving forward
- Advanced analytic tools help accurately identify and predict customer needs and help in the creation of future products and services for better fulfillment of customer expectations
- Improved transparency to increase capacity and gain end-to-end supply chain visibility to help managers make more informed decisions
- A superior ability to optimize manual decision-making and execution vis-à-vis automated execution and decision-making
- The creation of an optimized supply chain based on simplified integration processes, removal of bottlenecks, and the elimination of duplicative data modeling resulting in increased speed to market
- The creation of a leaner, more agile supply chain that effectively adapts to shifts in product demand and effortlessly adapts to changes in supply chain alterations
- An improved bottom line as a result of lower inventory costs and improved profitability
Business Intelligence or Advanced Analytics?
As the decision maker within an organization, you would have to ask – what is the right choice for your organization – business intelligence or advanced analytics? The key difference between the two is that while business intelligence helps make decisions based on the study of past data and results, advanced analytics helps to make forecasts based on future projections and calculations.
Business intelligence concentrates on using real-time data to streamline processes and improve operational efficiency; in other words, it can help to transform your business right now. On the other hand, advanced analytics can help businesses make effective decisions for the future and help manage security and privacy challenges. While Business intelligence helps answer questions such as ‘what happened, why, with whom and at what cost’, advanced analytics helps to find out “why it happened, whether it will happen again and what can be done to change future outcomes.”
Business intelligence helps with KPIs and metrics reporting, the creation of dashboards and scorecards, automated monitoring and alerts, management of ad-hoc queries and the real-time, operational business intelligence. On the other hand, advanced analytics helps in data-mining and predictive modeling, multivariate testing and facilitates quantitative & statistical analyses as well as text and big data analysis.
Bottom line – what is the right choice for you?
Both strategies can benefit corporate strategies and streamline processes to increase productivity and profitability. However, the timelines involved could be different. The required outcomes for your organization will help to determine what choice is the correct one for you. Ask whether you need to tweak and transform processes right now or whether your organization is better served by a long-term approach that helps to head off potential problems and improve future processes – and you will have the answer you need!