We live in a world dominated by information. In any given second, 7,342 tweets are sent, 56,240 Google searches are carried-out and 2.5 million emails sent. In fact, best estimates suggest that at least 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is produced every day (that’s 2.5 followed by an incredible 18 zeros!).
Businesses are massive generators and proprietors of this data, from personnel records and prospect lists through to debtor details and sales forecasts. The decision whether to harness and make sense of this data, can mean the difference between a business operating ‘blind’ and one that understands its position, where it’s going and how to get there.
According to figures from Gartner, Global revenue in the business intelligence (BI) and analytics market is forecast to reach $16.9 billion by the end of 2016, an increase of 5.2 percent from 2015. Gartner also reports that the BI and analytics market is in the final stages of a shift from IT-led, system-of-record reporting to business-led, self-service analytics. So what does this mean for businesses?
This trend suggests that organisations are not only recognising the importance of BI for making sense of their data, but they are also moving away from rigid BI implementations to more agile and user-friendly solutions, which allow people from across an organisation to access key information, from anywhere and at any time.Data visualisation or ‘dashboard’ software, in particular, is experiencing a surge in demand as it ticks the ‘user-friendly’ box and a number are now cloud-based and accessible on a wide range of devices from PCs and MACs through to tablets and Smartphones, supporting mobile working.
Such software systems have the same ‘look and feel’ as a car dashboard, displaying key business information in a simple, easy-to-view format. Information such as turnover, sales by region and staff attrition can be displayed in a visual dashboard format with traffic lights and colour coding to enable people to quickly identify problem areas and potential issues.
The simple answer is: Insight. By harnessing the full power of an organisation’s data and displaying it in user-friendly dashboards, this reveals invaluable insights that empower users to make faster, more accurate decisions. Imagine a retail organisation having an instant view of how its different outlets are performing in terms of sales and profit. A poor performing store can be quickly identified and remedial action taken to prevent further losses or to help boost sales. Or imagine having a ‘real-time’ view of most profitable and least profitable clients, or an instant snapshot of which marketing campaigns have generated the most leads? Would you make changes or take a new course of action to improve results?
Business leaders that have accurate information at their fingertips can steer their organisations in the direction they want them to go while optimising efficiencies and cutting costs.
One such organisation, specialist recruitment provider, Morson International, has made annual savings of £124,000 and is enjoying a four per cent increase in sales conversions year-on-year, as a direct result of implementing dashboards. Morson now boasts a strong position in a very competitive market.
The bottom line is – if organisations want to remain competitive and drive growth, they simply can’t ignore their data. With such a treasure trove of information now available, the old adage ‘knowledge is power’ has never been so true!
Tony Bray, MD of Intuitive Business Intelligence
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