I was faced with a simple, yet important question the other day. “What do you think is the best way to innovate as a business today?” I say simple question because it is obvious that business intelligence and data analytics are the answer. I say very important question since this is the same answer I would have given a couple of years ago. How come? Has nothing changed? Is the question I should answer actually be “how to put business intelligence tools to use and innovate as a business today?” I mulled over it for a minute and here’s my answer – make your data actionable.
Actionable business intelligence refers to something that can be acted upon. This means that it helps you and your company react upon meaningful information for concrete business purposes. Actionable business intelligence should therefore help you get an advantage in the marketplace based on the useful information BI process transformed your incoming data to.
Business intelligence vendor market has augmented in the recent years. There are so many solutions that every type of company (small, big, local or multinational) should easily found the one suited to their needs. Many new players are entering the market, that is a fact, but equally so, there are not that many solutions we can refer to with actionable business intelligence.
Actionable business intelligence makes the difference
What makes the difference is whether the revealed data-driven insights are any good. And they are good if they have the potential to generate actionable insights that can guide your future business decisions. That is what you have to have in mind when assessing the BI capacities of your company.
That this is a prerequisite to even consider it, you might be thinking. I agree, but please explain me then how come more than 60% of the practitioners identified the need to turn data into action as the highest priority of their organizational challenges? Because, as quoted, “it’s amazing how little marketers are drilling into customer data and extracting from it”. Businesses routinely collect and analyze their data, it is common practice and part of the business-as-usual mentality. What they don’t do so good is they forget what the insights actually are. They are answers to “where, when, why” instead of simply “what”. Actionable business intelligence enables us to do something with the feedback, remember that.
I said the best way to innovate as a business today is to make your data insights actionable. In order to achieve it, I recommend you start from the back to the front of what is the way of filtering down your data. Start with the outcomes you want to achieve, then determine the factors that influence those outcomes. Don’t forget to determine how to measure those influencing factors, so that you’ll be able to determine where are the data sources for those measurements. Following this way you’ll effectively found the data which directly represent insight you should act upon. Reverse-engineering? Rather say smart and effective use of collected data through actionable business intelligence. And by doing that, the best way of innovating as a business you can find.