In the corporate sector, you cannot simply rely on instinct when making decisions. To make smart choices for your company and to stay competitive, you need to make sure that your decisions are 100 percent data-driven. But how can you achieve that? The answer is simple: through business intelligence (BI)

As technology offers the corporate environment all the solutions one might need, a complex BI tool should be the core of any organization that wants to get the most out of its data. A business intelligence solution will allow you to use the data it generates to see and understand exactly what is going on in your company. That way, you can draw correct conclusions and make forecasts to improve the decision-making process inside your corporation.

But how does BI do this? What are the steps you need to take in order to reach the best decisions, based on accurate data? Well, here goes: first, you need to implement the right tools. Then, you must learn how to interpret the data correctly. After this, you will be able to translate the knowledge into better business strategies. You do not have to be a data strategist to get the expected results: nowadays, you can choose self-service BI solutions that are intuitive, so that anyone can satisfy their information needs and generate their reports. It has never been easier to make your business decisions more data-driven.

What to do in order to take your company towards data-driven decisions?

Given the above information, there is no reason not to start building a more data-driven decision-making process. To that end, here are some things you could do:

Think strategically

A well-tuned decision-making process starts with the most important strategies of your company in mind. This means that you will have to be selective and choose the data that is relevant and helpful for your business. Start by identifying your goals and see how data can help you build towards those objectives. Maybe you are seeking new leads, or you want to find out which internal processes are delivering the best results – this has to be clear before you implement a BI solution. Otherwise, you could be overwhelmed by all the possibilities you discover by means of data analysis.

Set focus areas

With information coming into your company from all directions, from tools used by your workforce to customer interactions, it may become difficult to maintain a clear focus. To solve this problem, it is essential to find the balance between your many different data sources. Which area is the one delivering direct results? Which one helps you achieve your business objectives? Identify the ones that will bring the most benefits and focus on them.

Target data sets

Once you have established which business areas will benefit the most from analysis, you need to find out which data sets meet your needs. Based on the issues you will address, start looking at the information you already have and classify it based on sources. The ideal situation is that your Business Intelligence solution can cross-analyze data from different sources because this prevents inaccurate reporting among distinct departments.

Collect and analyze data

Useful information will be gathered at all levels, from both internal and external sources, and is normally used by company decision makers – usually heads of departments – who will be managing data to devise strategic business directions. To have a well-rounded view of the business, you need a Business Intelligence solution that can connect and aggregate the input, regardless of its source. Make sure you pick a provider that offers self-service BI, because the more accessible the data is, the easier users will find it to gain relevant insights.

Transform insight into action

The reports you generate from the information analyzed determines how much you will get from that data. Many BI tools can deal with complex data, but you have to choose one that gives you access to comprehensive reports and with a visualization feature that makes it easy for decision makers to understand what they are looking at. Once they do so, they will then translate it into concrete action steps.

How will data-driven decisions help you?

It is clear that when it comes to business decisions, instinct cannot win over data. Today, the largest companies in the world use business intelligence to make forecasts and decisions, and it has been proven that this offers them strategic advantages over their competitors. However, this does not mean that medium and small businesses cannot benefit from BI solutions. In fact, the opposite is true. No matter what type of company you are running, you will be at the top of the game if you make decisions based on accurate information, instead of trusting your gut instinct.

Here are just some of the improvements you will soon notice in your day-to-day operations once you learn to treat data as a real asset:

Remain competitive. Without a forward-looking strategy, there is no way you can compete with your rivals, given how fierce competition is today. Fortunately, BI enables you to foresee and use data to your advantage.
Increase sales. Companies that make decisions using data analysis are more customer focused because they get better insights into their customers’ journey and behavior. This is why they know exactly what to offer to their clients and this has a beneficial result on sales.
Generate more revenue. By identifying new business trends and patterns, and seizing the opportunity, you will definitely obtain more profit.
Streamline employee collaboration. The right Business Intelligence solution means all the decision-makers in your organization can understand historical data, and thus reach the same level of knowledge.

Becoming a data-driven company is mainly about developing your organization’s culture towards understanding the importance of translating data into decisions and actions. And this can also be done if you show people how analytics will add value to your business. For this to happen, you will have to use the right analytics and BI solutions, ones that can keep up with both internal and external dynamics.

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