Any walk of life would need intelligence and when it comes to business, intelligence is the top most priority. Usually business depends on Intelligence for Growth, Profitability, Asset / Liability Management, Resources Planning, Market Requirements, Hierarchy Planning, etc. However, with time the methods of business have leapt to different levels. Auditability / Accountability / Participative Management have become the latest mantra. BI has transformed into a tool of regulation in recent times. Detailed analysis was a thing of the past but analysis at depth of beholder is the essence of BI.
Every organization, public or private, has become republic. Management has gone from the top-down approach to being planar, and suggestions and ideas from anywhere are being welcomed. But, before diving into what we can do with BI, let’s get to know what BI actually is and where can it be put to use.
BI allows one to provide the inherent worth of the decisions implemented with a chance to vet the decisions from time to time. It also enables one to provide data for all levels, irrespective of the actions. One can play around with a single version of data by adding colors based on the caliber and the readiness to accept. With strengths come the weaknesses too. One of the major weaknesses of BI is that analysis of data is left to the user’s relevance and this makes decision making confusing for the user as a single person isn’t capable of handling large amounts of data. Also, the relevance of social changes is not incorporated and to be frank, statistics alone cannot make a business.
BI can be put to use in many areas where data is everything. Data is required almost everywhere, from Business Reviews / Appraisals by top management to getting better explanations on past decisions and actions taken. People with a money saving / altered money earning attitude too adore analyzed data and even finance would find it a lot easier to make organizational changes with the right data at hand. However, there are always places where things can go wrong, and one has to be cautious while handling sensitive data. Investment cost and business benefits need to be analyzed properly. Integrity of the data is threatened when process-less organizations use BI for fault finding and use BI in unnecessary places. Thus, one should always be guided so as to not cross the fine line of the scope of the boundaries.
With the knowledge of what BI is and where is it needed and not needed, now we are in a position to assimilate what BI can do:
- Provide useful analysis - Data assimilation, arrangement, readiness to deliver in different forms is the main purpose of BI
- Kindle a thought provoking session on the data available
- Enables participative management at all levels
- Put data on high relevance – from Operational to Administrative Usage
- Data can derive Information as per specific needs of the hour
This highlights the opportunities with BI here. What BI cannot do is exactly the sum and substance of proper understanding of the subject. As we have now realized the essence of BI in today’s context, if almost everything that is inferred is good, then is there a question of boundary to this subject?
Of course yes, there is a boundary to BI. As we progress with BI, we understand that business intelligence can relate to the present in terms of data, events, emotions and market sensitivity. But, it’s incapable of taking in the past in the same sense.
As on date, the Future for BI seems very green. Currently only the major organizations have implemented BI and DW (Data Warehouse). First instances of data analysis have already been seen. Now these organizations would use the data for Performance Analysis and Decision Making. When these steps are taken, there would be much pressure for BI to serve with different capabilities.
Review would take up registering business comments and audit comments on performances as they happen. When this comes through the present pattern of fixing Accountability would change to Integrating Auditability. Probably this change would also bring about incorporating the spirit of business rather than adhering to the laws word for word.
The next change predicted is more interesting, viz., using DW / NI for Decision Making. At this juncture, any management would like to have qualitative data with quantitative relevance. It is here that Predictive Analysis / Forecasting would come into consideration. These ideas are at their infancy, yet there would be enormous and tumultuous discussions in the air on how to create this environment in the near future, in a way which would benefit all aspects including give-ins, take-aways, and cost benefit, of course.