- How is business in the sales department?
- What product line is doing the best in the Southeast region?
- Where are my customers focused geographically?
- How many orders are we able to process daily?
Data has been entered into ERP and CRM for years and yet there is always a question about the best way to interpret that information. Do you simply run a monthly report or do you run several to get to the ultimate answer? Before Business Intelligence (BI), those were your only options. With Business Intelligence, you can add multiple variables and dynamically change the results to view exactly what you need. But how do you get started?
First, ask the question. Because business intelligence is so flexible, it is important to narrow your focus. Make a list of questions you have about your business. Above are just a few sample questions to get you started. Identifying a clear and concise question (or two) will lead to clear and concise results.
Second, identify the data you will need to get to the answer. Let’s say you are coming into your busy season and would like to know how much inventory you should have on hand to meet your upcoming production requirements. You would need data from the following areas:
- Inventory items currently in stock
- Usage history during busy season
- Current open orders that require production
If you are unsure of all the data you will need, start with what you know then add to it later. Business intelligence is dynamic and will allow you to easily change your parameters as you review results.
Third, create a business intelligence view to tell you the answer. Most BI tools offer a dashboard to show the data and how it all relates to and affects each other. You can also drill down into any of the areas to get more information about that specific topic. For example, if you want to view usage history overall then drill down into specific product lines, you can do that directly from the BI dashboard. This view can then be saved so that you will have it available the next time this question comes to mind.
Business Intelligence is designed to help you leverage the data you have already entered in a way that is easy to understand and interpret. Start asking the questions and BI can help you to dig up the answers.
What business questions have been on your mind? If you aren’t getting the answers you want, leave a reply below or give us a call. We’ll be happy to help you get the information you need.