In today’s saturated, highly competitive business landscape, great instincts are no longer enough to sustain success over the long term. Having a good feel for decision-making is certainly an advantage, but with so many sources of information available, to stay competitive organizations must be able to access and interpret that data in real-time.
In fact, the Harvard Business Review found that companies in the top third of their industry that use data-driven decision making were, on average, 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors.
With that in mind, here are five crucial ways that business intelligence (BI) and data visualization tools can help businesses transform their operations and improve their ability to uncover the valuable information their data is hiding:
- Improving Marketing: BI solutions can be invaluable in determining how organizations target customers and prospects with marketing campaigns and how they spend their marketing dollars. For instance, can help marketers understand what kinds of subject lines in email marketing messages tend to achieve better open rates. By tracking and producing reports on this information, businesses can reach a larger percentage of their target audience with better frequency.
- Cutting Unnecessary Costs: Perhaps nothing is more damaging or frustrating to a business than suspecting it might be wasting capital but not being able to identify exactly where or why. BI solutions, like dashboards, can help organizations solve this problem. For example, a company could track its inventory ordering and consumption rates over the course of several months to determine if it is over-purchasing specific items on a consistent basis. Correcting this problem could lead to significant savings.
- Improving Website and Application User Experiences: Put simply, the ease with which customers and prospects can use a company’s consumer application or website is a significant part of customer service today. Therefore, it is critical that companies are able to measure how satisfied—or unsatisfied—users are with these experiences. BI solutions—like big data visualization tools—can help organizations better understand the way consumers interact with them in the digital space. BI tools, as an example, can track statistics like load times and bounce rates for all pages on a website to identify places where user experiences (UX) need to be improved. Similarly, organizations can track data for their consumer applications to determine which features and functionality are most popular and which could potentially be eliminated or tweaked.
- Turning All Employees into Decision Makers: One of the biggest productivity killers in business occurs when employees are forced to consult upper management to make any decision. While some choices will always require input from managers, forcing good employees to consult their next level managers for even minor decisions causes bottlenecks and stifles operations. For instance, an experienced sales representative taking over a new account should not be forced to consult with a supervisor to determine what products he or she should pitch at an upcoming meeting. Rather, the representative should be given access to data that empowers him or her to understand trends and analyze what their new client will need, such as the company’s purchasing history or what similar organizations have been purchasing during the current quarter,.
- Creating a Better Work Environment: While tracking customer behaviors and preferences is always critical, it is equally important for companies to understand how their employees are thinking and feeling. For instance, businesses can provide surveys and hold exit interviews to compile and track information about how employees feel about their employers. BI solutions can help businesses understand what factors might be causing employee turnover or dissatisfaction, allowing upper management to rectify problems. Conversely, organizations can determine what programs—like health and wellness initiatives or company child care—have the most positive impact on employee sentiment and expand those programs accordingly.
- Understanding Your Business: Identifying the factors that are impacting your organization is the only way to address problems and accentuate strengths. And considering that businesses across nearly all sectors are increasingly focusing on BI, leveraging these solutions is likely to become a prerequisite to success for organizations in the near future. Consider, for instance, that Market Watch projects the global BI market to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25 percent from 2015 to 2019.