Think about your average weekday. You likely have a schedule and routine. Perhaps a typical day for you includes exercise, coffee, commuting, online purchases, texting, sleeping—and any number of other tasks. Consider for a moment if someone followed you all day and logged every activity you did; its start time, duration, discreet steps, and other details specific to each action. That would be a of lot data!
We already have some of that tracking in our lives. For example:
- When we exercise, we wear fitness trackers that log our heart rate, steps and calories
- When we drink coffee, we make it through a wifi connected coffee maker or purchase it using an app specific to our favorite java haunt
- As we commute, our mobile devices record our GPS location, navigation gives us the best route to work, and traffic data is recorded
- Online purchases allow for the develop of robust profiles of our likes and habits across multiple online retailers
- Texting apps track our words to create targeted advertising as we surf the web
- As we snooze wearing a smart watch, it knows how long we are sleeping and the associated quality
While this type of tracking is fascinating (and a bit unnerving) it generates information that is the lifeblood of whole businesses. For instance, ponder your favorite search engine. Mine is DuckDuckGo because it doesn’t track, but I often use other engines. Using engines that track our searches, creates a personal profile. For example, last year I was searching for a car with manual transmission. To this day, when I (occasionally) visit Facebook it suggests I check out the group “Save the Manuals” when I never searched for detail on the subject within Facebook nor posted about it.
Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Now think about your customers and how they interact with your business. Do they come into a physical location or call over the phone? Perhaps they use your website or a mobile app to more easily interact with your organization? No matter how they are interacting, they are providing you a treasure trove of information on their likes, dislikes and behaviors.
Your employees also generate a lot of useful information that could tell you about your company. How long do they spend on certain task or using certain tools? How are they interacting with your customers?
Data Rich, Information Poor
Regardless of what your business is, you have a lot of data. However, many organizations find themselves in the situation of being “data rich and information poor.” This means having plenty of data (probably in disparate systems, locally and in the cloud, and siloed in applications), but not a lot of information; meaning they can’t do anything with it. The data is not actionable.
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For this reason, many organizations are considering or developing a Business Intelligence (BI) strategy. BI can mean different things to different people, so it is worthwhile to define BI and related terms:
- BI: The business and technical processes and the infrastructure used to collect, store, analyze and visualize data related to a business.
- Data Analytics: Focused on the analysis of data to draw conclusions and insights.
- Data Science: The discipline practiced taking a statistical approach to data analysis.
- Big Data: The technical and analytical approach to the enormous amounts of data collected and available.
- Machine Learning: Field of artificial intelligence (AI) where data is used to help machines statistically improve their understanding through data and not through direct programming.
BI tackles the what of data, focusing on past and present to inform the future. Data analytics is more of the why, focusing on data trends to uncover details that may have gone unnoticed.
Why Organizations are Focusing on BI
Most organizations are early in their data journey and can extract tremendous value from the BI stage.
At Trilix, our business focus approach and nature of the services we provide, including custom application development and systems integration, we see much of our client’s data and gain insights on how to best leverage that data using BI.
We are pleased to be able to offer BI as a service to our clients and help organization define and implement a plan to utilize BI within their organizations. Once users get a taste of properly executed BI dashboards and reports it opens a new world! Sometimes it means changing process to improve efficiency, defining a new strategy or providing enlightening and unexpected insight.
BI is a worthwhile investment because it provides tools to be more competitive in an increasingly challenging business landscape.
What is your organization doing to leverage its data and transform it into actionable information? You need a BI strategy, because it will help you better serve your customer, leverage your employees’ efforts, stave off competition and move your organization to the next level.