They say you can’t predict the future. This year has definitely done a lot to support that view. Despite all the unpredictable things that happen in life, there are some ways you can try and predict how your business will perform in the coming months and years. Business intelligence is the art of analyzing the past and the present to predict your future. It can help give you the confidence to make those big decisions in business. It can also alert you to any major problems before it’s too late. Often it can be hard to know where to begin analysing your business. Here are some top tips on how to take data and turn it into real-life improvements.
Find the right tools
Even the smallest of businesses have the ability to produce lots of data every single day. Whether it’s sales, expenditure or even the number of visitors you get to your website on a daily basis, if you look closely there are lots of different things to analyse. The only problem is you could find yourself with too much data to keep on top of. By the time you’ve organised all the numbers and calculated averages, you could find that your sums are already out of date.
Instead of trying to analyse the data by hand, use a ready-made tool to do all of the hard work for you. Whatever kind of assessments you’re trying to make, you’ll find a range of suitable tools here on the Better Buys website. They’ve been helping organizations of all sizes make smarter purchasing decisions for over 20 years. They can provide you with a free BI Vendor Comparison Guide so you can find the right tool for your business.
Know what you’re looking for
Now you’ve got the tools to analyse your data, decide exactly what you want to analyse. The best way to do this is to figure out what big business questions you want to answer. For example, one of the biggest decisions any manufacturer needs to make is the quantity of the raw materials they should be purchasing every week. If they buy too little, their whole operation could grind to a halt, leaving their employees with nothing to do yet still expecting a wage. If you buy too many, you could find yourself paying for extra storage space to hold it all, or even worse have to bin some materials if they have a best before date. To prevent either of these things from happening, any business would be wise to use data from previous months and other industry data to help calculate exactly how many products they’re likely to sell.
Act on the data
Once you have analysed the data, make sure you then act upon the analysis and the predictions. Make sure your whole team is aware so they can all be working towards the same plan. Then in a few months’ time, compare the predictions to the actual outcomes to see how reliable they were and whether there’s anything you can do to make them more reliable in the future.