5 Questions That Will Help You Re-Think Your Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence tools make your financial planning, forecasting, and reporting much less time consuming and more accurate.  If you find yourself asking any of these 5 questions, you should take it as a sign that you are in need of a little more Business Intelligence.

“Are the numbers right?”

Essential data tends to live in many different locations. Your analysts will spend days, if not weeks manually untangling the data stored in each of these systems to pull together their view of what the numbers mean. The end result of such an exercise are:

  1. Your analysts have different numbers
  2. Different conclusions have been drawn
  3. Data  is not consistently rated and tracked
  4. Time spent on compilation is more than time spent on analysis
  5. There is a time gap between different sources of data

If any of these are true for you, have you considered using Business Intelligence tools such as Corporate Performance Management? You get your data stored in a single system, sorted and organized and rated to allow your analysts consistent access to data. Versioning is built within the tool to allow you to solve all these problems and to allow your analysts to focus on what they do best making you more money.

“Does this tie back to revenue?”

Many companies use software such as Salesforce Online, Microsoft CRM Online, or NetSuite. Having data in different locations in a closed system such as these require special tools and developers to help you pull the data you need to validate your sales pipeline. Have you ever had the time to build out a full sales pipeline from initial engagement to the sale of the deal? Because of this, many companies have a hard time tracking and maintaining:

  • How much effort was made to capture a lead
  • How much effort was used to turn that into a sale
  • How much effort it took to get the deal sealed
  • How much did it cost to finish the deal
  • How much revenue amounted to

Make effective use of reporting within CRM, and develop solid habits of inputting sales pipeline material into CRM and having a dashboard to allow the sales team a quick and dirty look at their pipeline. Once you have the data properly recorded you can enforce good habits by having daily dashboards to rate each sales member and create a bit of competition. Consider a tool called Tableau.

“Are my budgets meaningful?”

Budgets need to be actionable and there needs to be some way to rate and compare budgets. This will allow you to build better inventory forecasts for your company growth figures.

  • Do you have the data and the history to do this accurately?
  • How long does it take for you to complete your budget?
  • By the time you are done is your budget meaningless?
  • Are you capturing key business indicators?

If you answer yes to any of these, consider using a Corporate Performance Management tool such as Prophix. Building out key performance indicators, tracking inventory, forecasting inventory needs, understanding and comparing revenue and sales trends – all of these will help fine tune your business to be leaner and meaner. Having good data, timely data, and accurate data will make budgeting quicker and allow you to move forward and focus on your business.

“Is Excel my savior and my bane?”

Have you ever counted how many Excel spreadsheets you use in your company? If this number exceeds 100, consider how many different ways your Excel spreadsheets could have a mistake, an error, or data that was incorrectly inputted.

  • Have you built logic and custom excel macro to make life easier?
  • What will you do when the person who built them leaves?
  • How many versions do you have of one Excel file?
  • Do you keep all the Excel files in one location?

All of these things make Excel non-viable for any growing company. Consistency, ease of use, access, and reliability are hallmarks of Prophix. Building out standard calculations and standard workflows for data input allow you to build Excel like templates for reporting as well as data input.

“Do I spend more time compiling versus analyzing?”

Data Silos are a common problem in businesses. Each department, each person and each office uses some custom variation of excel spreadsheets or even custom software. This creates a world where analysts need to spend hours and hours trying to sort and organize data just to begin the analysis process. Have you considered the time it takes? Is it already too late? Reaction to data in a timely fashion makes for a more nimble business. By using Business Intelligence tools you can provide:

  1. A single source of truth
  2. Standardize business processes
  3. Allow users scenario’s
  4. Allow users to model
  5. Version Control
  6. An easy to use dashboard

Each of these are crucial aspects that will improve your business performance and make you more money.


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