Many firms are data rich, but information poor. Thus, a good measurement of a business intelligence system is how quickly raw data can be converted into usable information. Automating BI systems and processes is one of the best ways to optimize this golden ratio of efficiency.
Let’s cut right to the chase – here are 5 ways that automated BI will save your firm time and money.
1) Optimize ROI in Marketing Efforts
One key decision enabled by quality BI could save or earn your company hundreds of thousands of dollars down the line. For example, BI that accurately measures the effectiveness of various marketing channels improves the return on every single dollar put into marketing in the foreseeable future.
Automated BI can take this one step further. For example, using Kloudio a company can schedule an automated report of relevant marketing info to be pushed into an Excel or Google Spreadsheet daily. As time progresses, employees and their managers can see the effectiveness of varying marketing strategies in real time as they are executed – all from within one Google Sheet or Excel file.
2) Better Track Your Performance Against Competitors
There is no shortage of tools that provide firms with valuable data points on their competition. Some are as follows:
- Google Alerts– Tells you when a competitor is mentioned online.
- Sprout Social– Lets you look up your competitor’s tweets.
- Google Keyword Planner– Use it to find a competitor’s keywords.
- SpyFu– Allows you to find the keywords your competition is targeting with their ad dollars.
- Alexa– You can see the global rank, links, and traffic of your rivals.
The problem is not the quantity or ease of acquiring data regarding competitors, but how you sort through this data for nuggets of information. BI can identify the key metrics that define the performance in your industry and help you find the data points that most accurately correlate to you and your competitors’ competency in these key metrics.
With automated BI systems, you can constantly keep track of your position amongst your competition in various key metrics, and view in real time as the margin of your competitive advantages increase or decrease by the month, week, day, or even hour.
3) Help Your Employees Love Data (And Discover New Ways for Them to Work)
When your employees love data they are more productive because they focus on objective metrics. Data is not only for the marketing or analytics team. A good example is the guys over at Counsyl. Their billing department, not traditionally a “data-driven” department at any company, fell in love with the use of data through their innovative and easy to use BI platform. This allowed for optimizations across the board in how they did their work.
4) Boost Data Visibility in Your Organization
Silos are a dangerous thing in business. Just ask Sony. The successful Japanese conglomerate had a prestigious hardware department, which contributed products like the Sony Walkman. They also had a media department, which held their music licenses. These two organizations didn’t share information. They even competed against each other and cannibalized their own company.
The iPod revolutionized the music business. At the turn of the century, Sony was in a better position than Apple to make a game-changing product. They released digital players in 1,999, yet they were doomed out of the gate. The media side of their business was worried about piracy, and hampered their hardware side. Apple filled the hole in the market, and they’ve gone on to become the most valuable brand in the world.
Disharmony in organizations isn’t exclusive to Sony. Data silos are a problem in many large organizations. Different departments act in self interest at the expense of the company as a whole. Sharing information between groups is often left undone. This is especially true when sharing is inefficient, or worse – not wanted by individual managers. Automated business intelligence can force and streamline data communication between departments, breaking down silos and allowing information to flow freely that wouldn’t otherwise, due to human resistance or negligence.
5) Save Time Pulling Data for Presentations/Meetings/Pitches
It’s not a question that employees across a variety of functional departments waste a lot of time looking for and compiling data. Therefore, your business is losing money if your data is unorganized or difficult to pull. Automated business intelligence can save you and your employees thousands of hours by automatically creating reports with the necessary information for weekly meetings, presentations, etc.
For example, Kloudio can be used to pull relevant BI data into end-user tools like Google Sheets or Excel on a scheduled basis, with no need for manual querying (or worse, asking IT for a custom report). This is what Netflix product managers use Kloudio for, and it saves them 10,000 business hours annually.
The above 5 examples will probably apply to you on different levels depending on what kind of firm you work at (or run). Regardless, the same overall message holds true – BI is a critical component of nearly every functional area of a business and when it can be automated there are immense benefits.
Did you find this article helpful? I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below!
PS: Our friends over at Konsus wrote an excellent piece on how they use Kloudio and Zapier to automate business processes with limited engineering and programming resources. If you found this piece interesting, you might want to give that a read!