BI, or Business Intelligence, refers to the calculation technologies and solutions used to enable businesses to make the right decisions on the basis of available data.

Over the last few years, people have started talking about “data literacy”, meaning we have here a new language, one which has to be learned. Just as it can be difficult nowadays to find work if you don’t speak English, tomorrow it will be difficult if you don’t speak the language of data.

Studies carried out by Gartner estimate that in ten years’ time, people who are not capable of understanding, analysing and utilising data, and therefore not able to use Business Intelligence tools, will face important employability issues.

The main steps of a Business Intelligence strategy

Before embarking on a BI strategy, several steps are required.

Collect data

Today, everything is data: a website visit; geolocation data; a receipt; an invoice; demographic data; socio-professional data; a qualification level; etc. In the context of BI, collecting data is a crucial step. Of course, it is not a matter of collecting each and every available item of data. It is about focusing on the data which are relevant. This then raises the issue of where these data should be stored. For customer/prospect data, a CRM solution is the ideal place.

Streamline and analyse your data

Raw data is as useless as no data at all. If we were to take, for example, the plethora of different job titles people can hold, you will quickly understand why it is more relevant when segmenting the database to have a single-valued field with a reference list rather than a free field with the exact denomination of a person’s position.

Render the data, tell a story

For rendering and analysing data, you can, of course, rely on dashboards and KPIs, the lifeblood of Business Intelligence. It is important to be able to visualise the data. However, this is not an end in itself.

Take action

The final step is to make the right decision. This requires ensuring that the decision-making process is as objective and informed as possible. This is precisely the raison d’être of Business Intelligence: to help decision makers.

BI for making the right decisions

Business Intelligence applied to the Customer Relationship context will enable the different managers who are in direct contact with customers and prospects to monitor business and performance, whether talking about sales, marketing or customer service.

From information to action

The ultimate goal of Business Intelligence is not knowledge, but rather the actions that can be taken as a result of this knowledge. Using your CRM solution to input data which is then not used in BI reports or dashboards is pointless. Clearly, then, there is no point having information if it leads to no action.

Making operational decisions

In a customer relationship context, business intelligence offers new possibilities to managers who work more or less closely with customers or prospects.

Defining the most profitable marketing actions, planning resources depending on the sales pipeline, managing customer support…

These strategic orientations should not be defined based on instinct alone; it should be the BI which confirms or informs these decisions.

You might even be surprised … BI can also lead to some unexpected discoveries.

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