What is Business Intelligence?
Business Intelligence comprises a variety of methods, tools and processes, so that one speaks of a BI system as a whole. On the one hand, this system includes methods ranging from classic data analytics to data mining, the recognition of patterns in large amounts of data. On the other hand, tools from established software companies such as Microsoft, SAP or Oracle are used, which offer visualizations in addition to statistical evaluations. The basis is a database, the creation of which is also part of the business intelligence system through a systematic process.
What are the advantages of a Business Intelligence System?
Managerial decisions can be made subjectively from the gut or they can be based on objective data. Which way you decide is up to you, but we can help you with the latter. Well-founded data analyses can support you not only in far-reaching management decisions such as the outsourcing of business areas or in questions of location selection. In everyday operations, too, you are well advised to always check the efficiency and effectiveness of activities and to take countermeasures if necessary. Here, too, your business intelligence system supports you with ad-hoc reports and KPI dashboards. We keep in mind that the advantages of a business intelligence system are:
- Sound decision-making process
- Cost reduction through increased efficiency
- Information advantage over the competition
- Reaction speed due to high information availability
How to organize the data?
In most cases, BI dashboards are not directly based on e.g. ERP systems. This is because not all information is available in the ERP system. Or it is available in the wrong structure or aggregation. Also, the database is constantly changing which is another argument to organize the database separately from the ERP data. Therefore, the data basis for BI systems is usually formed by so-called data warehouses or data marts.
What data is needed?
Businesses are increasingly connected and digital. Inevitably, you build up a data pool that, when organized, can provide valuable information. So how can this data be put to use? The data in your business can be roughly divided into master data, inventory data and transaction data. The sources of information are many. These include your planning and control tools of individual business units as well as cross-company ERP systems. Other sources can be real-time machine data, but also handwritten inventory data. If information is still missing, we can supplement it with extensive market knowledge and benchmarks. In sum, this results in the data basis on which the further steps of your business intelligence system are built. We find out exactly which data you need in an individual workshop, so that it is tailored to your strategy and task.
Where do dashboards make sense?
In the meantime, the required data is not only available in large corporations but also in small and medium-sized companies. This is why business intelligence systems are now used regardless of the size of the company. Within a company, business intelligence systems are most often used in controlling, e.g. to support periodic reporting. But also in operational areas such as production and logistics, KPI dashboards are replacing the old handwritten information boards. In marketing and sales, analyses and evaluations from BI systems are used for trend analysis. So the areas of application are numerous. Inquire about possibilities in your company today.
How to create a Business Intelligence System?
The systematic approach to the conceptual design and implementation of a business intelligence system by Bross is based on established processes of data mining, especially in order to master large amounts of data. It is important to understand the BI system not as a finished product but as a step-by-step recurring process for the continuous improvement of the system.
Step 1: Strategy and target setting
The goal of a BI system is to aggregate company-wide relevant key figures both horizontally and vertically. Only in this way can correct decisions be made without gaps and conclusions drawn. Accordingly, a strategy is required at the top level, e.g. based on market studies, where the journey of your company should go and with which key figures the achievement of the goal can be measured.
Step 2: Data collection and analysis
This step comprises four sub-steps, consisting of data collection, data description, data exploration and ensuring data quality. You can find more information on the procedure for data collection and analysis here.
Step 3: Need for action and continuous improvement
The third step is to convert the data obtained into information and derive the need for action. An example would be that a profit margin could not be achieved because some products have negative contribution margins. The key figures and analyses have revealed this and the corresponding decision would be to adjust the product portfolio or to adjust the price.
Business Intelligence with Power BI
Bross use Power BI from Microsoft as their BI tool. Power BI is a cloud-based business analytics service designed for the end user and has the following components: Power BI Desktop, Power BI Service and Power BI Report Server. Creating a BI system in Power BI offers the following advantages:
- Multiple data streams (on-premise & cloud) can be connected
- Reports can be accessed at any time and from anywhere
- Integration into existing environments and systems is possible
- Data can be updated automatically
- Simple and intuitive use for end users and admins
- Low time and cost for configuration and maintenance of analyses and reports
Do you need advice on implementing a BI system in your company?
Contact our BI experts for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Your contact person
Dr. Florian Bross