At the core of any business is the need and the ability to make the right decision at the right time. Many seasoned professionals run on experience and gut feeling to make thumb rule decisions. Whether or not you have that skill, rational and calculated analysis of your business performance can at the very least reinforce your knowledge and at best give you a totally new insight into your company. Business Intelligence is the process by which data collected from your business activity is transformed into information that you can use to fine tune your performance.
Data collection is done through human interaction or automatically depending on the nature of your business. Data come from various sources of activity, measuring quantities sold, bought, processed, time taken to complete tasks, or even qualitative feedback and/or checks from a verification process. The data collected are unitary measurements of your business activity, they are the building blocks that define the health of your business. They relate to any or all aspects, may it be financial, material resources, human resources, intellectual property or plain technical performance.
Business Intelligence is all about how to make sense of this data, how to analyse it, plan it, modify it, summarise it and extract the bigger picture of your business. The collected data will be stored and maintained for future reference. Monthly rational data analysis reports are produced in the form of dashboard made up of graphical figures and tables that provide you a continued tracking of your performance. After several dashboard reports, a clearer picture of your strength and weaknesses arise allowing you to fine tune your attention to key aspects of your company that require close monitoring and management. These key aspects can be grouped as a series of KPIs (Knowledge Performance Indicators), indicators that are part of your Business Intelligence reports, but which added performance limits and goals. A KPI is a business indicator that tells you how close you are to achieving certain goals you have determined to achieve, they also indicate possible failures points in the near future, for example a continuing trend in a KPI may indicate that a certain activity is getting close to being unsustainable.