Leveraging Business Intelligence to Improve Business Operations
Written by: Vanessa Begley
In a recent survey of over 1300 Global CEO’s, 77% ranked Operational Efficiency as their primary focus of driving 2019 revenue growth. When tasked with how to turn this focus into an actual strategy, the answer should be to take advantage of Business Intelligence cross departmentally.
Business Intelligence (BI) takes advantage of anything from historical and present data, real-time and mapping analysis, and dashboarding. These different types of data and tools are ultimately used to help make informed data-driven decisions.
Tools such as Power BI can be used to deliver insights to enable fast, informed decisions by supporting the traditional ad-hoc reporting that is seen in a plethora of operations departments and by aggregating data in one centralized place for self-service reporting.
Here are examples of ways that BI can be better leveraged to improve business operations.
Business Intelligence for Human Resources
It is no secret that even with the rapid emergence of technology in the work place, employees are an organization’s most important asset. Thus, it is important that a Human Resources department can identify how to improve the end to end employee experience. So how does BI play a role in said improvement?
The vast amount of data that is available allows for a much more extensive hiring process. In the past many decisions for a company, including the hiring process, have come down to gut-feel and questions of “does this decision feel right?” But that is no longer necessary. Analytics can now allow HR departments to find the right candidates by refining the recruitment process. How?
Measure and Track Sourcing Analytics
Lead Scoring to enhance new hire quality
Measure and Track Speed of Hire
BI tools have new and advanced visualizations capabilities and features to allow us to surface information. This gives way for companies to identify not only WHO to hire but WHEN they will need to hire, and if done right it is a huge step forward for operational efficiency. Through using the reporting capabilities of a BI tool, an HR department can gain further insight to departments that may need more staff, departments that may have higher or lower productivity than others, and even further go straight to asking the why’s.
Business Intelligence for Financial Accounting
Accounting departments are often at a battle with the clock. This means that finding efficient ways to generate reports and capture meaningful and key information from large amounts of data is and should be at the forefront of every company’s mind. Why? Because the more efficient each department is individually, the higher functioning your organization can be all together. With tons of data rolling into their department daily, BI should be leveraged to help alleviate these common issues:
The most evident benefit to using a BI tool is the beautiful and simple dashboards and data visualizations that can stem from using them. With the influx of data that gets placed into the hands of the finance department it can become tedious to keep up with what all the data coming in can really tell you about the operational and financial efficiency of the organization. Tools like Power BI can leverage data from tools like QuickBooks to monitor, visualize, and communicate concepts like:
Dashboards and data visualizations not only help alleviate this problem but can enhance the departments reporting capabilities.
Budget Planning / Forecasting:
Budget planning can be on a company-wide basis or project basis. When formulating KPI’s with the business, it is important to maintain and compare budget versus actuals over time. Within Power BI, budgets can be used in the following ways:
Projects over/under budget
Timeline for project completion
Forecast benefit by strategic alignment
Budget comparison by initiative
Having a strategy and a Business Intelligence tool in place to help track these KPI’s saves not only a significant amount of time, but will likely have an output of more accurate reports.
Having a successful cross-departmental BI strategy and the right set of BI tools in place, will open doors for your organization to make more educated business decisions to drive success. From your human resources department to your accounting department, having a solid BI strategy should allow you to drill deep into your data, and provide a consolidated view across the whole organization. With the majority of leadership in organizations across the United States putting high value on Business Intelligence initiatives to gain a competitive advantage, there's no better time then today to get started with building out a BI strategy in your company.