Most organisations have a vision, a mission statement and some very smart strategies. But the execution of their strategies is often a different story, because execution largely depends on “reliable” information which is hard to come by.

Having the latest technology hardware, IT infrastructure and a complex ERP system doesn’t mean you have access to the right information at just the right time. In today’s very turbulent and unpredictable market conditions, it is critical to gain consistent market insight in addition to having the agility to react instantaneously.

It only takes a few hours of watching business news to realise there is an ever increasing adaptation of new business models. Business Intelligence should be a very integral part of this change.

Businesses succeed when they view “reliable information” as their most valuable asset and create an infrastructure that removes all barriers to ensure transparency and effective flow. Those who have understood Business Intelligence and have embraced it have discovered they really do have a competitive edge. What’s more? It’s costing them less and increasing profitability.

Often times, organisations do not realise how much “not having business intelligence” is costing them. They have more head count than required in their finance departments. They have duplication of tasks spread across multiple professionals. The human resource costs itself can be quite significant. Add to this, the time spent on obtaining the required statistics or reports. What should take 15 minutes probably takes a day or more. How about outsourcing and business analyst’s costs? What about productivity? Here’s a big one….what about costs of delayed information?

The execution of a business strategy almost always depends on “reliable information“at the “right time”. If either of these factors fail, the execution fails. Take a second look at your P&L report. Investigate the costs mentioned above. Compare the figures with the cost of investing in Business Intelligence. I rest my case.

Due to lack of BI, most C level executives place no confidence in the numbers presented to them. This also implies most reports generated bear no relation whatsoever to the company’s strategic objectives. Information is only useful if it can tell you “the real” story and help you make better decisions. Else, it just gives you a vague probability. Obviously, key strategic business decisions cannot be based on “probabilities”. The risk is far too much. Why not base your decisions on “evidence” instead?

Unfortunately organisations at the first instance resort to “more information”. They naturally think more information will automatically resolve the problem. They invest in more man power and more time to discover and consolidate the required information. They may or may not get the required result, but in most cases it is a bit too late. The window of opportunity is long gone. The vast majority of reports end up in a file somewhere with little contribution to the growth of the organisation. This only adds another dollar value to an expense account in the P&L. With a huge mass of data in multiple formats, it is next to impossible to produce meaningful comparisons.

A good Business Intelligence solution ideally provides a trustworthy view of the business, empowering all resources with invaluable insight. Execution of the organisations business strategies is now based on evidence and not based on “gut feel” or “probabilities”. With a right implementation methodology like Agile PM, you can rest assured your investment will fetch you an early ROI at a very low TCO. If implemented right, it should have a very positive impact on the P&L.

 

Santosh Chandran is the Business Development Manager for BOARD Management Intelligence at Olympic Software. He regularly blogs about business intelligence and corporate performance management. You can follow him on Twitter  or on LinkedIn.  Please contact him directly if you would like to find out how BOARD can improve your business results through better decision making, phone 09 980 3964 or email: santoshc@olympic.co.nz