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Big Data Company Culture

The Value of Making Business Intelligence Actionable

on February 12, 2014

This is the third and final entry in my series on the evolution of business intelligence, from challenges with deriving value from traditional business intelligence solutions to driving significant and ongoing value by enabling action with these solutions. You can reference the previous entries here:
(1) The Challenges with Traditional Business Intelligence and 
(2) A Better Way to Drive Value from Business Intelligence – Make it Actionable!

This final entry focuses on the most important reason organizations leverage business intelligence (or any solution for that matter), and that is the why.

Any change adopted by an organization has to provide benefits that significantly offset the risk of adopting the change, or mitigate unaddressed risk. Performing extensive cost-benefit analyses and developing business cases to assess the worthiness and appropriate priority of suggested changes are key factors in evaluating these decisions.

For business intelligence, the why is simple. There are multiple goals associated with adopting any BI solution, but when distilled come to two key elements:

  • Improving profitability
  • Reducing risk

It’s that simple. Traditional BI provides valuable information at an aggregate level.  However, these solutions make it difficult to distill that information and enable ready action to be taken. Taking action is critical to affecting change in the organization. Therefore, realizing the full value of the why remains a challenge.

This is where the value of enabling action becomes so important. Businesses live and die on many little decisions that get made every day. Alone, each individual decision typically has a minor impact. However, in aggregate, these decisions add up to significant impact. When many of these little decisions can be positively influenced by the right information, at the right time, and at the right level of detail, this significant impact can be tremendously positive for the organization.

This is the value of making BI actionable: enabling many better decisions across the organization by 1) providing necessary visibility into business operations and 2) providing the ability to seamlessly act on that visibility.

Call it democracy in analytics. Call it actionable business intelligence. Call it operational analysis, smart advisor technology, or a host of other names. Either way, if you’re looking for a terrific method to drive ongoing profit increases and lower risk, it’s worth evaluating BI solutions that enable action.