Imagine the frustration of spending hundreds of millions of dollars developing the perfect driverless car and then having the prototype totaled in a head-on crash because faulty mapping sent it the wrong way down a one-way street. That’s what businesses face when they compile volumes of data from daily operations and then don’t get the information into the right hands in a timely fashion.
Business intelligence tools have progressed beyond merely storing data like high-tech manila folders. Sophisticated systems now ingest information and process it, creating advances in data literacy that can greatly improve daily operations and the bottom line.
Any invoice, customer order or payroll file can be digitized and broken down into smaller pieces that can be fed to other applications. Combining bits of information from multiple sources is how companies spot inefficiencies in operations, trends in their business and paths to greater prosperity.
The newest developments are coming in the area of augmented intelligence, which produces insights and processing efficiencies by interpreting operator questions and answering in everyday language.
A few of the practical applications of business intelligence tools include:
Supply Chain Analysis
There’s nothing more fundamental to a manufacturer than figuring out how to get materials in the door and finished products out without bottlenecks forming. Good business intelligence systems can help identify the cheapest suppliers and reduce the expense of storing material destined for the factory floor by keeping tight control of inventory information while accounting for the backlog of existing orders and projected future sales.
Easy Understanding of the Numbers
Software makes it a snap to display information in easily digestible charts and graphics built from spreadsheets that can be shared back into existing systems to generate even more reports. All of the processes can be automated and run on schedules that give everyone from the sales staff to the chief operating officer essential information to do their jobs.
Overhauling What Already Exists
Budgeting can be broken down into weekly and monthly segments, with projections adjusted on the fly to reflect new orders or invoices entered into the system. Imagine the leverage that can come from having business intelligence tools create projections of what it costs when a supplier is late shipping an order or a customer asking for rush delivery.
The newest and most innovative ways to evaluate data are making for smoother operations in the office, the manufacturing facility and in sales presentations. It’s the roadmap to newfound success.