How Do I know it’s Time?

Organizing large and scattered data sets is one of the top challenges businesses face. Most have gotten good at collecting data, but not at investing in and utilizing business intelligence and analytics to bring sense to it all and make it actionable.

So, what are the signs you’re ready for a BI solution? If your reporting is done manually in Excel and is time-consuming, or if you have difficulty joining data from multiple sources, it’s time. If you have difficulty utilizing data and making it actionable as business insights, it’s time. If you experience the infamous “multiple truths” scenario where different stakeholders have different numbers for the same business question, you’re ready. Also, if you have a need for data visualization in real time or with less lag time, it’s time for BI.

Companies using analytics are five times more likely to make faster decisions. Eighty-five percent of business leaders believe big data will change the way they do business. So, why don’t more companies utilize BI?

The most common reason is working the initiative into an already approved budget. So, what’s the magic number? Unfortunately, there isn’t one. There are simply too many variables, including the size of the company, how much data there is and how disparate the sources. If a solution is free or cheap, there is likely a catch in either development or ownership rights. Also, make sure the solution is scalable. One tragedy seen way too often is the purchase of a “bargain” solution that fits the current budget but must be replaced in five years by a more scalable system. Now 100% of the bargain plan is a waste both in time and money, and the scalable solution must be now purchased anyway.

When building your case, figure the time staff is spending gathering, cleaning and preparing data. Also, note that companies utilizing BI average an 8% increase in revenue and 10% reduction in costs. An 18% swing in bottom line can be wonderful motivation.

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