If knowledge is power, then storing it in a fashion that doesn’t allow decision-makers to use it effectively is an unforgiveable power failure. Binders full of months-old printouts are archaic and rudimentary spreadsheets maintained in the computer network aren’t much better.
Business Tool Advancements
The latest business intelligence tools have moved far beyond their predecessors with the same speed in which smartphones have become the Swiss army knives of communication in a mere decade. “Information about the information” is the foundation upon which business growth and operating efficiency are built in the 21st century.
Whether an invoice, a work order or a payroll document, it can be digitized and deconstructed in a fashion allowing the words and numbers to be put to use in other applications. Marrying bits of information from two or more sources creates the opportunity for valuable insight into a business’s operations.
The data can be distributed horizontally or vertically and can identify wasted raw materials and manpower, shed light on bottlenecks that slow the creation process and develop a roadmap to creating best business practices that will become the basis for improved P&Ls. Business intelligence tools do that work and generate the dashboards that capture the present and analysis that projects the future.
A few of the practical applications of business intelligence tools include:
- Supply chain analytics that help figure out how to get materials in the door and finished products out in the most efficient fashion. It can identify the cheapest sources of products and reduce the expense of storing them ahead of the manufacturing process, cross-referenced against the current backlog of orders and projected future sales.
- Software solutions that merge the existing data to display information in easily digestible charts, graphics, spreadsheets and drill-downs, much of which can be shared back into existing systems. Reports can be automated and run on schedules that give sales reps and project managers essential information.
- Overhauling the existing expense and revenue data. Budgeting can be broken down into weekly segments, with projections automatically adjusted to account for the latest orders and invoices entered into the system. Imagine being able to create what-if scenarios that calculate the added cost when a supplier is late shipping an order and then presenting that insight at the next negotiation.
The newest and most innovative ways to evaluate and process business data makes for smoother operations in the office, on the factory floor or at sales calls. It’s power with a purpose and a means of achieving new success.