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Why Companies Are Putting So Much Money Into Business Intelligence


Organizations are increasingly investing in business intelligence (BI) — either by deploying new platforms or making improvements to their existing systems. Why are companies putting so much money into BI these days? The short answer is that an effective data analytics strategy fuels growth; how a group approaches data is a competitive differentiator.

According to Forbes research, 85 percent of companies with a successful, enterprise-wide data analytics strategy are experiencing revenue growth of seven percent or higher. In stark contrast, less than a quarter of companies who are self-admittedly lagging in their data analytics strategy can say the same. The takeaway? Data-driven businesses are seeing higher growth, among other outcomes. 

Top BI Objectives for Companies Today.

Looking at what companies are trying to do with their BI is a great way to understand the potential of this technology — which in turn helps explain why so many organizations are making it a priority.

Here were the top BI objectives for companies in 2018, according to a study from Dresner Advisory Service:

  • Better decision-making
  • Improved operational efficiency/cost savings
  • Revenue growth
  • Increased competitive advantage
  • Enhanced customer service

And here were the top BI technologies and initiatives companies are using to pursue these objectives:

  • Dashboards
  • Reporting
  • End-user self-service
  • Advanced visualization
  • Data warehousing

Modern business intelligence platforms are poised to help companies meet these objectives because they give employees self-service access to features like search-driven analytics (which can answer typed and spoken queries in seconds), interactive visualizations, automatic artificial intelligence-driven insights, embedded analytics, and more.

When Is Spend on BI Not Warranted?

It’s a tough outcome for business leaders to entertain, but it is possible for companies to invest heavily in BI only to earn a disappointing return on investment (ROI). Rather than letting this possibility keep your business from forging ahead in its data strategy, use it as a learning opportunity — guidelines for what not to do.

Spend on BI is not automatically warranted; the value you’ll derive from BI depends on more than just the tools and tech you’re putting in place. It also depends on your ability to “implement a modern strategy that covers the people, process, and change management aspects of BI critical to creating an environment that promotes data-driven decision-making.”

Pumping money into a legacy system that requires your organization to pay for consulting and training fees is a moot point if adoption rates remain low. Think about it: If only one out of three employees is currently using BI, is that 30-percent adoption rate really justifying the expenses associated with running your system? The answer is likely no. In this case, you’d need to evaluate why adoption rates remain low and address those pain points. You may discover challenges like siloed data, complex tools, and long wait times for insights are holding users back from taking full advantage of data analytics, in which case you’d want to upgrade your tools to address them.

Getting the Most from Your BI Strategy.

Better BI can bring myriad benefits, like optimized decision-making at every level and reduced operational costs. But to reap these benefits, you’ll need a combination of the right BI tools, a data-driven culture, a well-defined data strategy, and engagement from employees across the company. Taking the time to get all these ducks in a row will maximize the chances of your business earning the ROI it needs to justify its original investment into data analytics.

It makes sense why companies are putting so much money into business intelligence these days. Investing in the BI systems your organization needs to get the most out of data is a start; just don’t forget to set a data strategy, develop a culture around data, and boost adoption rates, too.