When people talk about a business’ efficiency, it’s typically referring to the ability for the organization to bring a product or service to market quickly with a small amount of wasted resources. The prevailing theory is that an efficiently-run business costs less, makes more, and grows faster than one that is inefficient. With the way business is headed--that is, with smaller profit margins than ever before--boosting efficiency has become a core business strategy. In fact, in today’s technology-driven marketplace, there are many that would argue that the efficient business is the only good business.
Today, with nearly every business leaning heavily on some sort of computer-based technology, it becomes important for decision makers and business owners to analyze the performance of their tech, and of their staff. In the past, the eye test worked just fine, but today there are ways to measure the productivity and efficiency of every department of your business. It’s called business intelligence.
Business intelligence (BI) refers to the practices of (as well as the technology used in) analyzing available information to help you make the best decisions for your business. In the past, business intelligence was very much as it is today, finding practices and procedures that create a better business without all the bells and whistles that contemporary BI practices provide. Every business has plenty of people that depend on it, and the better the business is run, the more it can do for those people. So while it’s easy to think of business intelligence in the 21st century as a complex process, it is just the process of doing what every successful business owner has done from the day they put out their shingle.
While BI has been around for some time, modern BI is the practice of using the enormous amount of data your business creates to help you make better decisions. How does this work? Your business has loads of information stored in various places, but most of it is in databases. One stand-alone database may not help you, but if you are able to bring all of your data together in what is called a data warehouse, you can then begin to link the information. Once the information is in this repository, you can begin using state-of-the-art BI software to crawl the data and deliver reports that take this enormous amount of information and provide relatively easy-to-read reports.
The best part about this BI software is that you can customize definitions to get the specificity you are looking for out of these reports. The software will return detailed analysis. So whether you run a retail store, a product manufacturer, or a high-volume restaurant, you will be able to ascertain what the best decisions are going forward. These metrics work for operations, marketing, distribution, and any part of the business that can be represented in numbers.
The small business has begun to use technology in new and interesting ways; and, using it to bridge the gap between their larger competitors. Many times BI analysis can surprise even the most savvy business owner with truths about their company. BI lets business owners build efficiency through analysis, not through conjecture. This targeted and analytical approach is sure to be a huge benefit for any business that finds itself battling operational inefficiency or any number of other deficits they encounter.
MERIT Solutions wants to provide our clients with the information they need to build a more efficient business. We offer small and medium-sized businesses comprehensive IT support and other proactive IT services that are designed to eliminate downtime and build overall efficiency. Call us at (757) 420-5150 today to see how our professional technicians can help your business be more efficient.