Business Intelligence: Why Are There So Many Service Providers?

24 Apr 2021

#Business Intelligence

#Idealogic Insights

#Useful Information

Assumptions and management’s own judgment may be a good foundation for smart business decisions. But as it turns out, they rarely are. Often, especially when a company has already grown to a medium- or large-sized one, understanding all the aspects and nuances of a business becomes very challenging. But it’s possible — with the right data and approach.

In the era of the internet and Big Data, it’s no surprise that data is becoming an increasingly valuable tool for generating useful business insights and making smarter decisions. However, while not so long ago corporate data was solely the domain of IT professionals, analysts, and R&Ds, the emergence of Business Intelligence brought corporate data analysis to the masses — HRs, management on various levels, developers, etc. can now make use of data on par with analysts and information scientists.

Defining Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence (usually BI) implies technologies and strategies that businesses use for corporate data analysis. This analysis helps managers, executives, and staff members to make informed and smart business decisions.

The scope of Business Intelligence functions is fairly broad but among the most common are:

  • Data mining (or data gathering) — implies collecting information from every source possible and funneling it into one place. It helps to organize unstructured data and make use of seemingly uncorrelated information. An example of such technology would be Segment, a customer data platform.
  • Data storage — allows for safely storing corporate data in a data warehouse. Amazon Redshift is a good example.
  • Knowledge management — this function answers the question of how all the corporate data circulates throughout the company.
  • Analysis — the quintessence of Business Intelligence. Data analysis means making use of all the data that is available to the company. It aids in the decision-making process significantly.

Business Intelligence service providers

The goal of every businessman is to make his business prosper. But with constant advances in technology and high competition, it takes lots of time and money to step forward. To establish themselves in a new market or to strengthen the existing position, business owners need to conduct an in-depth analysis of their product or service. And with that, Business Intelligence service providers may lend a helping hand. BI helps to capture a comprehensive view of business processes, identify bottlenecks, remove them, and work on the business’s strengths.

While there may be quite a few similarities across businesses, their needs still vary. That’s why the market is ripe with Business Intelligence services of various types. The majority of BI services have a fairly narrow focus such as:

  • risk analysis
  • reporting
  • fostering delivery and supply chain efficiency
  • sales optimization: measuring, tracking, and forecasting future sales
  • analysis and optimization of overall financial performance
  • business strategy alteration
  • customer relationship management
  • analysis of client behaviors and specific buying patterns
  • benchmarking
  • dashboard development
  • overall business performance management, etc.

As seen above, BI platforms often provide niche solutions to specific business requirements and needs. Thus, to make the most use of data for the company, businessmen usually need to use several Business Intelligence service providers or establish some kind of an in-house analytical center — or both.

Who needs Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence will boost each and every company, no matter its size or industry. However, there are some facts that may be indicators that you should employ a Business Intelligence service as soon as possible. Firstly, you may have numerous data sources or enterprise applications and thus need to integrate the data in one place. Secondly, your company may lack visibility into its day-to-day operations as well as finances and news or events. Thirdly, if the volume of your users rapidly grows, you need to analyze their profiles and use them for upselling or future customer acquisition. Let’s now consider some use cases of companies boosting their businesses with the help of Business Intelligence service providers.

Business Intelligence in practice

1. Chipotle and disparate data sources. Chipotle, a popular American restaurant chain that has over 2.5 thousand locations globally, had a problem. Despite having lots of data, it struggled to come up with a unified view of its restaurants — mainly because that data was unstructured and Chipotle didn’t know what metrics and markers are better to use. A Business Intelligence service helped the company to get a centralized view of its operations and thus track each restaurant’s operational effectiveness worldwide.

2. Coca-Cola and manual reporting. Coca-Cola, an American beverage corporation, implemented Business Intelligence services to smoothly handle reporting for delivery and sales operations. Together with report automation service, other enterprise system integrations allow for sales teams to have the most relevant and actionable data in the form of mobile dashboards. The Business Intelligence service on automated reporting alone helps the company to save over 260 hours every year — that’s more than six full-time work-weeks.

3. HelloFresh and inefficient digital marketing reporting. HelloFresh, a meal kit company, used to have manual and time-intensive reporting in digital marketing. The emergence of a Business Intelligence software helped HelloFresh to conduct an aggregated analysis of customer behavior and come up with the three client personas that helped to further guide the company’s marketing. Seeing and tracking real-time data helped HelloFresh to significantly increase conversion rates and improve customer retention. Moreover, a BI platform saved up to 20 working hours per day for the company’s marketing analytics — only by automating the reporting processes.

How To Choose

The Business Intelligence area is way too complex to easily define what solutions and what approaches work exactly for you, your business, or your clients. The variety of solutions that Business Intelligence service providers offer has one main attribute that may simplify your search. We’re talking about the software origin – it may be popular (or not) out-of-the-box software, like Tableau, SAS Viya, Geckoboard, etc., or custom software built from scratch exactly in accordance with your needs.

If you aim at accomplishing an internal task that doesn’t consider any multiple scenarios for different facilities/clients/etc, the Business Intelligence software option is the best one. In this case, you may look for a couple of local partners that would be ready to help your company with integration, setup, and maintenance while you won’t need to worry about technologies, developers, data storage, and other technical aspects.

We, at Idealogic, focus on the design and development of custom web (sometimes with mobile version) applications that are mostly used as SaaS in order to provide end-users with numerous insights for their sales and warehouse activities, like Scraps, a web platform that helps UK FMCG manufacturers to analyze the presence of their goods in online shops, compare visibility with other players, and obtain other important data. Despite the fact that product owners are interested in using top-notch technologies, the use of other software will destroy intellectual property that is inappropriate.

Summary

Who has the data has the power, that’s no doubt. The beauty of employing Business Intelligence services is that they can translate raw and unstructured information into meaningful and actionable insights that foster smarter decision-making. However, as businesses have some “universal” needs, they may also have more specific, niche requirements. Thus, the market of Business Intelligence is full of various solutions with a different focus, and businesses have to either establish an in-house analytics center or use a few Business Intelligence platforms.

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