Business Intelligence and Analytics: What You Need to Know

By Alexia P. Bullard September 6, 2017 Articles and Editorials

Regardless of whether you have a successful business that meets all of its sales goals, or you’re a brand-new startup that is still struggling to keep afloat, you need to be able to analyze important data in order to make informed decisions about your brand.

There are so many different aspects to running a business, even though sometimes they may not seem connected.

However, it’s these subtle connections that can make all the difference between a successful company that really takes off, and one that crashes and burns.

By understanding and implementing business intelligence and analytics systems and programs, business owners are better able to keep track of important data and use those numbers to their advantage.

Business Intelligence vs. Business Analytics

Business Intelligence concentrates on a consistent grouping of data in order to organize and track performance and to guide business planning. It answers the questions of “what happened”, “Where can we improve,” and “how often does this occur.”

Business Analytics consists of the skills, technologies, and applications required for exploration and investigation into the data acquired through business intelligence. This data is then used to predict future events, or to find patterns within a business’ data that would have never otherwise been found. This answers questions like, “Why is this occurring,” “what will happen if this trend continues”, “what is going to happen next”, and “Given x, what is the best possible outcome.”

For example, if a company that sells band patches checked their business intelligence and analytics, they would discover their band patches sales tend to peak in July. They would also see that barely any patches are sold in December.

With this information, they could find the optimal times to put their band patches on sale, and when they should stock up on their inventory.

When you compare BI and BA, you will see that BI involves collecting data and analyzing current data with the intent to improve business operations. BA, on the other hand, analyzes past data in order to create predictions of a business’ trends with the intent to improve the business and prepare it for upcoming changes.

Importance of Business Intelligence & Analytics

Business intelligence systems and analytics are essential for the maintenance, optimization, and streamlining of current business operations, regardless of industry or type of business.

For example, most people associate business analytics with Google analytics, Google Search Console, and other popular programs for analyzing the performance of ecommerce businesses and other websites.

These systems offer several key benefits for business owners, making them a salient aspect of the behind-the-scenes business operations:

Increase productivity

Traditional methods of data collection, organization, and analysis are time-consuming and require more manpower than business owners may have the budget for. By using a BI and analytics program, business owners can collect data and create reports with just a couple of clicks of the mouse. This drastically frees up time and resources, allowing employees and other staff members to focus on their core tasks.

Nurture Leads

As a business owner, you’re likely to be very aware of the importance of keeping track of leads and existing customers, as well as guiding them through the sales funnel of your organization. Having business intelligence and analytics systems in place will allow you to collect and organize vital data about your customers and leads, and present that data in a way that makes sense, complete with charts and tables.

This will make it easier to guide your leads through the sales funnel, from initial website visit to email list subscription, on through purchasing to post-sales services.

Reach Sales Goals

By being able to collect and analyze sales data and customer information, it will be far easier to understand how close you are to reaching your goals and to know what you need to do in order to improve. Additionally, BI allows you to keep track of all of that information, so it can be accessible to the partners or other organizations who need it.

Large Return on Investment (ROI)

Business intelligence and analytics systems offer better strategy, awareness, faster and more efficient data reporting, and lower costs and overhead. Employees are able to focus on their core sales tasks, and the administrative and marketing teams gain deeper insight into the behavior of their customers.

By having a better understanding of what your customers are buying or not buying, and why, business owners will be able to offer or develop products that match the current consumer trends for their industry, thereby boosting their profitability and brand visibility.

Final Thoughts

Business intelligence and analytics systems offer business owners the tools they need to gather and organize important data, and then have it presented to them in a way that makes it easier to create actionable plans for improving their business organization.

These systems make it possible to identify key trends in your organization’s data, so you can compare them to industry trends and see where you match up. By having this data, especially sales information and customer profiles, you can create more connections between different areas within your business and boost your sales.

Alexia P. Bullard

Alexia P. Bullard Author

Alexia P. Bullard is an overly caffeinated freelance B2B/tech writer. She has worked with many businesses to help boost their online presence and demonstrate their brand value. If you’re interested in working with her, find her at www.alexiapbullard.com

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