May 10, 2021
Implementing business intelligence practices requires solid data management practices and processes every step of the way. In our experience, we usually see organizations begin to drown in a sea of data after a few months of beginning to put BI into place. As companies grow, their data increases as well, and it can be difficult to keep close tabs on what’s happening in the company from day to day. At that point, they need to address how to shift from data collection to data analysis and insights that are vital to developing the business’ strategic plan.
So, executives might be considering adding a business intelligence or data analyst team to their full-time staff to keep in touch with their data to continue making vital business decisions. But hiring an in-house team can be costly and, quite frankly, isn’t always necessary at this point. Business intelligence experts (we know a few) can help business owners navigate this sea of information and create a sustainable, maintainable BI approach.
Here are five ways savvy business owners can build a lifeboat to keep from drowning in an ocean of data:
The first step to building your lifeboat is to tackle your reporting. Report rationalization is a way to assess your organization’s data strategy and use those insights to develop a plan. Having too many reports is a waste of time as they keep an organization’s leaders mired in mundane details that are too tactical for their expertise. Secondarily, the employees who must create the reports become less engaged and less productive, decreasing organizational efficiency.
Through report rationalization, business owners can identify critical reports, determine ownership and the KPIs for each report, the report’s frequency, and evaluate the efficacy of each report. This makes data reporting more proactive by simplifying demands and streamlining processes to deliver greater value.
While too little data is obviously detrimental to a company, decentralized and unorganized data can also be problematic. Companies can end up with multiple spreadsheets that create silos, and meaningless data as endless rows of numbers are more difficult to understand at-a-glance than graphics and charts. Having your data centralized in one location allows you to get a holistic view of your organization and ensure there are no blind spots.
One benefit to business intelligence is that organizations no longer have to rely on the efficacy of the reports provided by the individual software systems they use. And while utilizing a CRM like Hubspot or a POS system like Square might create reports, these reports often don't answer specific questions or can require more downstream manual process to get to the answers you seek.
But business owners who leverage business intelligence have a better way to track trends year over year because they can access the data at any time. Having a BI platform and all the historical data captured in a different location than the system makes the business less reliant on a specific software. Building on the idea of centralizing discussed earlier, it also gives you the ability to look at data from several platforms in one location where it’s easily accessible by the data analyst team. By taking more ownership of data and its reporting, an organization can be nimbler when making critical decisions.
As a business owner who wants to create a data strategy, you must first look at where you are and where you want to go. The data management piece then comes into play by deploying a roadmap for success with strict governance and achievable goals along the way. Accountability at this phase is critical in establishing milestones and a review cadence to evaluate progress and iterate as appropriate.
When you have a strategy in place and stick to the plan, your business model is proactive instead of reactive. It creates a culture and organizational structure for data governance, a key component to business intelligence.
More than 70% of employees have access to data they should not, and 80% of analysts’ time is spent simply discovering and preparing data. Data breaches are common, rogue data sets propagate in silos, and companies’ data technology often isn’t up to the demands put on it, according to the Harvard Business Review,
Through automation, businesses can build trust with data across the organization through auditability and traceability, which results in time savings and higher-quality data.
Automation also removes the risk of human error that’s easily caused by manual reporting.
An organization’s data is the linchpin to planning company growth. At Salos Services, we help clients discover and decipher data, build optimized reports with the correct KPIs and centralize data into one place so business owners aren’t reliant solely upon software.
Salos Services is named for Salos, a mythical navigator who helped sailors steer a course through stormy seas. Salos Services does the same for organizations that are awash in a sea of data. With our proprietary software and systems, we give organizations a holistic view, enabling high-level insights that drive intelligent business decisions, which, in turn, lead to revenue and productivity optimization.