What is the impact of business intelligence in digital transformation? Given the sheer volume of disparate unstructured data that modern organizations have to deal with, you’ll need some technology to enhance data quality and speed up the delivery of valuable insights for your strategic and tactical decisions. Business Intelligence (BI) can become one of the drivers of your transformational efforts.
In this article, our expert reviews how BI can help you create the right conditions for achieving the ultimate goals of digital transformation, such as agility, resilience, efficiency, and transparency. Explore BI technology and discover real-world examples of how it transforms data into profit.
What elements of digital transformation can be entrusted to Business Intelligence?
A fundamental component of any digital transformation is making well-informed decisions and tracking the impact they have on your business. This is exactly what BI in digital transformation is responsible for.
- Enhanced quality of information
Huge data volumes aren’t of much use in their raw form. To clear the way for accurate data analysis, you first need to take care of data quality. Business Intelligence involves ETL processes when you extract structured and unstructured data from various channels, transform it according to your business rules to get standardized sorted data, and load this information into a unified repository. Only then is the data suitable for use in analytics tools, such as Power BI, Tableau, Qlik, etc.
Forming an integral part of business intelligence platforms, ETL processes can be also built as part of an open-source BI project, amplifying the quality of your data at an affordable cost.
- A holistic view of an organization’s operations in real-time
Besides grasping large volumes of information in the blink of an eye, you can uncover hidden patterns that would be barely deciphered from numerical data. Moreover, these improvements can be implemented across the entire organization with custom dashboards for each level of decision-making. Staff from different departments will benefit from the operational dashboards with detailed visualizations of their current activities. Analytical dashboards can save a lot of time for department leaders by providing them with a comprehensive overview of crucial data by periods and categories. Meanwhile, C-suite members can rely on strategic dashboards with key statistics when making fundamental decisions.
- An opportunity to track whether you are moving in line with your business strategy
With its basic functionality, Business Intelligence in digital transformation is responsible for reporting, analysis, and monitoring. It helps you answer all-important questions such as “what is happening?” and “why did it happen?” Beyond that, coupled with Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), BI is extremely beneficial for forecasting, predictive, and prescriptive analytics to get responses to “what might happen?” as well as “when and why will this happen?” Making predictions based on historical data, patterns, trends, and complex interactions, your system serves you as a dead-on fortune-telling ball.
- Improved customer experience
When all the data about your customers from your website, CRM, social channels, etc., is gathered in a single location, it’s easier for you to analyze, segment, and target various customer groups. That way, you can enhance customer relationship management and increase customer satisfaction.
Moreover, adopting BI in digital transformation allows you to avoid wasting time analyzing data manually. The system handles it for you. Therefore, the information is available ad-hoc – you don’t have to wait for the weekly or monthly reports and can make decisions immediately. Your employees don’t have to waste their time on the operations that can be entrusted to the technology and can dedicate it to more responsive customer service.
Want to get actionable information on time to make well-balanced business decisions? Transform data into value with Business Intelligence consulting provided by our team.
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Real-life examples of how BI transforms data into actual profit
Business Intelligence is a heavy hitter that empowers you to follow your digital path and become a data-driven organization. It sounds great in theory, so let’s see how the technology works when you put it into practice.
Imagine that there’s a chain of gas stations. Not only is the fuel itself a source of income, but the sales of related products can generate significant revenue as well. However, without proper data analysis and visualization, it’s easy to overlook this potential as the organization doesn’t realize how much data it has and, more importantly, how it can be turned into business-oriented information. Having a clear idea of how much fuel people tend to fill up per visit, how frequently they come to gas stations, etc., you can target promotions more accurately. For instance, if your customers fill up at an average of 6.5 gallons, you can offer a promotion “Fill up at 7 gallons and get a free coffee”. Also, accurate and timely data analysis can uncover what services should be added to the existing ones to increase the average check or the number of customers.
The way we capture, transform, and analyze data determines our decision-making velocity. Making the right decisions faster becomes extremely important when it comes to human lives. That’s why, using BI technology in the healthcare industry provides an opportunity to improve medical services and patient care.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 era, when the whole healthcare system was in a shake-up and had to really transform its approach to patient care, we created a BI solution for hospitals. The point was to analyze the staffing levels of the hospitals and check available places, ventilators, etc. To keep the intensive care unit running non-stop, you should calculate the number of resuscitators per unit, considering how many patients one can take care of. Data on available doctors was crucial, given the rate at which the number of patients was increasing.
How have we, with the help of BI, made it possible for hospitals to cope with such a workload? We collected primary data on available doctors and put it on the map so that there was an understanding – if a hospital has extra resuscitators, it can send one of them to a hospital that lacks these specialists. This way, you can quickly reallocate resources while considering the distance between hospitals since doctors are humans after all, and they get tired too.— Alexandr Obolenskiy, BI Analyst, *instinctools
BI can help track not only the people’s condition but also the state of mechanisms. An example from the manufacturing industry proves this. You can leverage BI for predictive maintenance. If you couple the technology with the Internet of Things (IoT), you’ll be able to analyze sensor data such as temperature, the vibration of your machinery, etc. With this data, you uncover even minor issues and fix them before they become severe problems that can cause downtimes. From that standpoint, BI is a way to unlock the pleasure of working with a minimum of accidents.
Digital transformation is especially urgent in industries that haven’t changed in a long time and are craving for reinvention. One of these is education. You can take advantage of BI to create personalized experiences for the students instead of a one-size-fits-all approach. How does it work in practice? Teachers can be empowered with custom interactive dashboards that show their students’ academic progress.
Here’s an example from our guide about EdTech trends that shape the future of education:
On this dashboard, you can see and assess the progress of any student in one discipline. Green columns mean that the student has mastered the topic perfectly, blue identifies students who need to refine and consolidate the topic, and red marks denote underachieving students. With technology support, you can spot gaps and issues in time to help students achieve their best.
BI is full of outstanding capabilities with each bringing value on its own. By simply monitoring the actual state of what’s happening within your organization, a BI system helps uncover anomalies that you’d like to know about before they hit your wallet. Before the implementation of BI software, one of our clients, a tech retailer that sells devices, once mispriced a category of items on the site by charging $1 instead of $100 for them. As the sales data was analyzed once a week in spreadsheets, the problem was identified later than it should have been and hit the company’s wallet hard. If their data was organized conveniently enough and checked daily, they would notice that the average price of the product had dropped drastically and that would have prompted further investigation.
Be proactive: what to start with?
Implementing technology on an unprepared basis is like stacking bricks on top of bare ground, without a foundation, in the hope that you’ll end up with a livable facility. Just as it doesn’t work for construction, it’s not an option for business either. To make use of the Business Intelligence part in digital transformation, the core processes in a company should already be digital and stable. What processes are considered to be core? It depends on the industry that your company represents. For example, for healthcare, it might be patients’ scheduling, for banking – lending and mortgage operations, etc. They have to be in your system in a digital form, not on paper. So, before rushing into advanced analytics, you first might leverage RPA technology for end-to-end document processing.
It is also crucial to standardize the basic functions of the organization. For example, a medical company that deals with patients should have a standard digitized process for making appointments, etc.
The fundamental point is that until there are no standard processes and data in a digital format, the technology has nothing to analyze and visualize. Hence, you can’t wrap large volumes of data efficiently.
If you want to benefit from custom dashboards but can’t identify core processes that should be automated, or have other questions about the stages that precede digital transformation, take advantage of the dedicated team’s expertise.
Fuel your digital transformation with qualitative business analytics
To succeed in digital transformation and build a data-driven organization, you should organize processes around customers and technology around data. Technologies such as Business Intelligence improve the quality of data and, therefore, the quality of decisions that fuel your business. BI offers easy-to-grasp dashboards and provides a transformative speed to business insights.
Reach out to our experts to discuss your perspectives on leveraging BI during your digital transformation journey.