Business intelligence, or – how to make your most valuable resource, data, count

You probably have heard that data is the key resource of the 21st century. In 2017 “The Economist” wrote that not oil but data is now the world’s most valuable resource (cf. The Economist 2017). But just as raw oil data is not valuable on its own. It needs processing and especially data needs to tell a story to make a difference. Business Intelligence provides a great solution for this.

The term Business Intelligence was first introduced back in 1958 by H.P. Luhn (cf. H.P. Luhn 1958). The company Gartner who shaped the term now defines it as “an umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance” (Gartner n.d.). In other words, BI combines data, innovative technologies, and economic knowledge with mathematical and statistical methods to communicate facts and generate business opportunities.
Possible use-cases of BI can be found throughout all parts of a company from HR, marketing to procurement, storage and logistics, production, sales, and controlling (check the following blog article for further details: People Analytics | Vindelici Advisors). In addition to the applied area also the requirements and recipients of a dashboard vary a lot from internal specialist over management to external stakeholders. Therefore, in BI-projects we take great care that the selected information and visualizations are tailored to the recipient(s) by holding special workshops on questions the different stakeholders are interested in. This guarantees an active use of our dashboards and that they offer great insights.

But let’s take a look at a few real-world examples where we developed BI-solutions for (and together with) our clients:
A global consumer goods company wanted to get a comprehensive overview on their online-marketing activities. Here, we combine data for the global marketing campaigns from various sources like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and others in a single dashboard. Those datasets are complemented with sales- and weather data to optimize advertising campaigns and analyze customer needs.
For another client in the health care sector a new dashboard is a key part to track the progress of a large digitalization and restructuring project. The goal is to reorganize complex work schedules of specialized employees to increase employee-satisfaction and profitability at the same time by reducing off-times, over-booking, and bureaucracy.

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To track the impact of covid-measures and the introduction of new technologies on the business of a public transport company, we implemented a mobility-dashboard. It allows to analyze sales activities in combination with passenger data on short time scales and depending on many variables. Thus, we generate new insights and significantly improve the negotiant position of our client in funding rounds as questions can now immediately be answered with a recipient-oriented visualization of the relevant data.
While the specific requirements and challenges are very different in all these projects, the key phases of a BI-project are similar. First, together with our clients we formulate the overall goal and recipients of the dashboard. Based on that we define the key performance indicators (KPIs) with their relevant dependencies and design the report layout. In the next phase we identify the important data sources. The data is then extracted, processed, and finally combined it in a flexible data model. A high level of automatization reduces the manual working steps to a minimum. Afterwards we set up the visualizations and validate them in close contact with our clients. We finalize the project with a complete hand-over of the dashboard and a documentation. Specialized courses for the employees working with the dashboard enable them to use, maintain, and further develop it.

In addition to the immediate benefit of having the existing data accessible, a well-designed Dashboard is a great starting point for future developments. At first, it shows areas where additional data collection or processing is needed while providing good reasons to do it by showing the advantages of well-maintained datasets. Second, it can be the seed for a more self-service oriented and agile company culture. Modern BI tools allow employees to generate enlightening insights without in-depth programming skills and tedious data “picking”, creating space for important tasks and decisions. Thus, activating another key resource: human knowledge and creativity! BI-tools also can also set the cornerstone for using more advanced predictive analytic tools to get even more insights from your data. Or if they are already in use, their results can of course be included communicating their results to a broader audience.

We, as Vindelici love to accompany you on the way to turn data from a valuable resource into a key success factor! With our technical and entrepreneurial expertise, we set up BI-solutions that can give you new views on your business and significantly improve your decision-making process.
So, don’t collect data just for the sake of it but to improve your business!

Dr. Valentin Tenorth_Senior Consultant
Dr. Valentin Tenorth
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