Geoff thinks back on how much his company has grown over the last year – not just in terms of profit (although that’s certainly true) – but also in its ability to harness and analyse vital data, giving him, his staff and his customers a true understanding of business performance. It’s all thanks to business intelligence.
When advised to contact the business intelligence specialists, Geoff was immediately struck by their readiness to listen to his business needs, experiences, frustrations and challenges. These were clearly experienced people who truly understood business requirements and, with their careful planning and implementation, had the answers to help Geoff steer the company forward. As Geoff discovered, business intelligence is really about taking all of the information assets from the business, whether it is held in databases or documents, and just getting the relevant information in the right format out to the organisation, allowing it to make better business decisions and drive business efficiency. It’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution; needs are unique to each organisation, but with the right expertise, there’s a solution to be found for any business, regardless of its size.
Let’s face it, not so very long ago, Geoff had barely heard of business intelligence solutions, let alone considered them a means of managing his company more efficiently. Back in the old days, extracting data was a real struggle and pretty much a guessing game – not quite a question of ‘think of a number, double it and divide by five’, but not so very far off. It was fairly unconvincing stuff and made for some very gruelling questioning at Board meetings – and a rather red-faced Geoff, on occasions. Even now, the Chairman’s harsh words reverberate in Geoff’s head… ‘For heaven’s sake, man, just give me the facts. You’re supposed to be the Managing Director of this company, not Hans Christian Andersen…’
It’s a very different story, nowadays. Geoff can access all the information he needs, when he needs it, at little more than the touch of a few buttons. Furthermore, he can be confident in the knowledge that it’s trustworthy, accurate and auditable, or, as the business solutions company describes it, ‘correct, consistent and complete’. A far cry from being armed with a few dull, meaningless spreadsheets and proclaiming meekly to the Board that ‘we seem to be doing okay’, Geoff is now able to impress his directors with stunning, interactive business presentations, filled with dynamic charts and vibrant graphs, in a format that can be easily understood. With the aid of ‘Scorecards’, he can demonstrate how the company is planning its strategy, managing its performance, setting goals and tracking achievements. He can show how clients are benefiting from this information and how the business is using it to monitor internal functions such as administration and finance. Most importantly of all, he can prove that the business is now able to make decisions with real confidence – decisions based on fact, rather than fiction.
Without any doubt, business intelligence has been a major player in cutting cost and bureaucracy, streamlining operations, providing a platform for knowledge and sharing of information across staff and third party organisations, making Geoff’s business far more agile and efficient.
It’s been an exciting journey for Geoff and his team, and one that has definitely been well worthwhile. Come to think of it, the Chairman seems to have a far more benevolent air about him nowadays…