Many a company manager is drowned in abbreviations but here are a few that will help you build your business success.
BI - or Business Intelligence - is a powerful software package that sits on the top of your databases and mines them - or burrows down into them, to find the business information that you really need to run your business. To ensure that you get just the information that you want to make key decisions you set up a number of KPIs or Key Performance Indicators that you will use to regularly use to monitor the health and strength of you business. These KPIs are easily set up using the dashboard that most BI software packages come with.
This group of data is then found in your databases and displayed onto your screen, usually in graphically and/or graph format for ease of use. You can then interrogate this data in order to make more informed business decisions.
One more abbreviation - on line analytical processing (OLAP) is the process that enables the manager to investigate and employ this data in an infinite number of different ways. OLAP produces this information, displayed on your dashboard, that is far easier to view and question than conventional reporting. Enabling you to have far more informed decisions within a much more rapid timeframe.
As a busy, evolving company you might have product information in a different database to your inventory information. Financial data is separate from employee information and you have other disparate information elsewhere. This will not phase a good BI system that will interrogate this disparate data and "scoop" it up so that it can produce your required reports directly to your desktop.
The key to great Business Intelligence is to extract the right information at the right time and from the right place - finding the proverbial "needle from many haystacks" in other words.
If you get a really great BI software package installed you will have the option of group reports that all can view, discuss and interrogate. Reports are easy to produce, change and view- the more you can throw at a great package, the more it can surprise you. All with no long weekends coding in that new report that is urgently required, no more database changes - the BI software does it all for you.
The most intelligent BI software packages can data mine through all the disparate databases and find information that you are not even sure you wanted. Just give it a KPI or enquiry and off it scurries to find just the data set that is required. Some of this information could take weeks to find using more old fashioned methods.
Accurate, pertinent and appropriate Information is key to a company's success. It is vital to put this in front of the decision makers a good BI software package understands that - your wish is their command.