Deep down in the enterprise, there’s a movement that is tactifying the domain of BI which was previously isolated to strategic planning activities. Businesses – mostly mid-level managers responsible for operational performance – are reshaping the fabric of BI and the core definition of this term.
A story in Computerworld magazine indicates that this strategy is paying off. It reports, that at 1-800-Flowers.com, users with access to real-time sales data created a quicker checkout process for fast-selling items, and likely reduced costs and increased customer satisfaction. Bobby Nix, director of BI and analytics at consumer services company Allconnect, noted a 26 percent sales increase in 2011?s first quarter to staff access to business intelligence data. The cause — it helped sales associates focus on the best sales opportunities. And the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden realized a 30.7 percent per-capita increase in food and beverage sales from October 2010 through the first quarter of 2011 that the director of park operations attributes to availability of BI data deeper in the organization.
So, why aren’t more companies using BI to increase sales? The article says there is as a “reluctance by IT groups in general to embrace the democratization of BI, which underscores a general attitude in the IT community concerning the definition of BI. IT groups have a traditional view that BI must include a hefty dose of analytical processing, a task reserved only for “analysts” capable of making sense out of data. However, there are really two hemispheres of BI – one concerned with big data, analytics, and strategic objectives. The other BI hemisphere – the one used by companies in the Computerworld article — is kinder, gentler, and focused on performance indicators, micro-strategies, and delivering information that improves operational decision-making. This is a more tactical tilt to BI and in some regards, it suggests that there’s an ongoing evolution of how IT and employees view the separation of strategic and tactical information.”
So, get working on your BI strategy. It doesn’t have to be that difficult and you can get big rewards.