Business Intelligence Reporting: What, Why, and How
For a company to be successful and generate a significantly positive ROI, it would require a system to collect business information and analyze this data accurately. Simple solutions like spreadsheets and power points are not suitable, especially for brands dealing with big data.
Companies would require a system that would allow them to effectively collect data, analyze this data, and then transform the insights into actionable strategies. This is where business intelligence reporting comes into play.
In this article, we would see a full overview of what business intelligence reporting is, the benefits it offers your business, how you can get started with it, and what data visualization software can be used.
What Is Business Intelligence Reporting?
Business Intelligence is a system that allows you to gather data (such as observation on industry trends) and extract actionable insights you can implement in your own business. To enhance the system, business intelligence reporting, or BI reporting, helps to analyze and visualize the trends emerging from the data.
To fully understand BI reporting, you need first to break it into parts - reporting and business intelligence. While they are closely connected, they can also mean different things, depending on your business goals.
Reporting shows you the progress that has been made in your business for a period of time. These reports can be on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. These reports are usually a set of data or records that would help employees and managers do their jobs better.
For example, a daily report would show the sales representatives of a company the number of sales quotas they must meet at the end of the day for them to meet the revenue goals of the company.
With business intelligence, you can analyze data and transform this information into insights to help you make data-driven decisions. This would essentially show you how things happened in your business and the steps you can take to improve future performance.
For example, by analyzing sales representatives' performance over time, you would gain insights into how to improve their performance, competitiveness, and help them meet their sales quotas faster.
So, business intelligence reporting enables you to recognize valuable data, analyze it, and make it more understandable so that you can act on the insights to optimize your business processes.
Why Is Business Intelligence Reporting Important?
There are several benefits a business would gain from BI reporting. While the main goal is to analyze data and develop actionable insights from the reports comprehensively, there are other crucial advantages that you would gain.
Here are some of the benefits of BI Reporting:
1. Efficiency in Utilizing Data
When you use traditional means of reporting, spreadsheets as an example, it can be challenging to analyze vast amounts of historical data. Valuable information can get lost easily, and it can be challenging to create an actionable presentation out of the data.
With BI reporting, processing data is straightforward since all the information is analyzed through an online reporting tool. These tools make it easy to process any information related to your business.
Since business intelligence reporting tools are powered by AI and machine learning algorithms, businesses are offered a ton of features that increase their efficiency when utilizing data. Some of the features include identifying patterns and trends, automating data alerts, and forecasting future trends and data values.
2. Real-time Data Analysis
Another benefit that business intelligence reporting offers is the ability to analyze and utilize data in real-time.
Unlike reports that are written in a word-document, BI reports analyze the data in real-time and show the areas where there are anomalies and poor performance. The reports also proffer solutions that you can use in increasing efficiency.
3. Increase Work-Flow Speed
When you have a ton of data coming from different sources, it can take days for you to analyze the information from this data effectively. This can be detrimental to the business because if the analysis is not done on time, issues that might affect the growth of the business might not be discovered until it's too late.
With business intelligence reporting, all this data can be collected into one central location for easy analysis and accessibility. With just a few clicks, you can manage all your business data.
Another advantage is that reports are shown as visual data.
This is beneficial since humans process visual information 60,000 times faster than text. So the information is processed faster when you use a reporting tool. Interaction with the data is also faster, and it becomes easier to gather insights.
4. Customer Analysis
At the core of any successful business is its customers. Every business has a product or service they are offering. Without customers to purchase these offers, the business would not survive.
The goal of your business should be to give the customer the best possible experience. To get them to purchase from you, you need to predict their behaviors and tackle both their physical and emotional needs.
With BI reports, you can give the customer an excellent user experience by gathering information on your target customer and adjusting your business strategy/goals to meet the user needs.
With the rise of technology, gathering data on your customers isn't difficult. Through the use of social media, chatbots, emails, or direct interaction, you can collect information on your customers. With Business intelligence reporting, you can consolidate all this information in a single place for seamless analysis.
Customer service reports give you a full overview of the customer, evaluate the strategies that aren't working, and the steps you can take to improve your performance.
5. Improved Data Quality
It becomes hard to know which data are of value while which should be discarded. Especially when your business is generating a ton of data. With so much information being generated daily and thus little time, it can be challenging to properly manage data quality.
With BI reporting, you can intelligently explore tons of data and get insights on metrics that indeed hold value. The dashboard on business intelligence tools offers you 24/7 access to important metrics and insights. This would allow you to make data-driven decisions at any time, thereby increasing productivity and efficiency.
Business Intelligence reporting tools also ensure that you have access to KPIs and metrics that are relevant to the success of your business goals. The devices work with a curation and filtration system to remove redundant data also.
How to Get Started With Business Intelligence Reporting
To successfully implement BI reporting into your business, these are the steps you need to take:
Step #1: Identify Your Objectives
The first step to getting started with business intelligence reporting is to identify your core business objectives and goals. Defining your business objectives would help you determine the best way to use business intelligence to grow your business.
Some of the goals you can have include:
- Increasing customer satisfaction
- Improving revenue
- Expanding into existing markets
- Increasing market share
- Optimizing production process
Step #2: Verify Data
Data is at the heart of the business intelligence reporting process. It is crucial that you evaluate and verify each and every source of the data you are feeding to your reporting tool. You need to ensure that the data you are getting is accurate and delivered promptly.
At every stage of the process, ensure that you validate the data for the best result. Failing to do so can cause you to get the wrong insights, which can lead to big problems for your business.
For example, if you are using unverified data to determine customer sentiments towards a new product, you might end up thinking they like the product when, in reality, they don't. Wrong data would give you bad results, and you would end up mass-producing a product that is bound to fail.
Step #3: Choose the Right Software
It is vital that you choose the best reporting software when you are getting started with BI. There are several business intelligence reporting tools, but you need to select a device that reduces BI implementation time, ensuring that you save valuable time and resources along the way.
Most BI tools would offer basic features like an interactive dashboard, data analysis, data visualization, and key performance indicators. To go the extra mile, you need to look for certain advanced features that would benefit your business.
Here are some of them:
- Secure integration: Since you would be dealing with sensitive data, you need to choose a BI reporting tool with a high level of security. It would be best if you had a tool that would protect confidential information like customer records and product pricing. Your BI reporting tool should also have internal security with access control and user permission. That way, you would know who has access to your data.
- Ease of use: Avoid business reporting tools with complex systems that you can only operate if you have IT know-how. Go for tools with an easy to use interface tailored for individuals with different experiences and skill set. It would help if you had a tool that you can operate on your own without needing to push tasks to the IT department.
- Mobile use: Smartphones and desktops are becoming prevalent, so business applications must be adapted for mobile devices. This would allow ease of access and will enable you to get jobs done faster. Choose a tool that is mobile-friendly while still providing a range of capabilities and security.
- Full integration: Using different tools to analyze your data and run your reports can compromise usability and security. It is also costly when you are using various tools at a time. Your BI reporting tool should eliminate the need for separate technologies. It should offer all the critical functions in one solution.
The business world is continuously changing. To keep up with the competition, you need business intelligence reporting to help you analyze data and come up with actionable strategies to help grow your business. By making use of BI reporting tools, you can make forecasts on business trends, perform customer analysis, and figure out the areas of your business that require optimization.
To get started, check out this list of best business intelligence software in 2020.