3 Insightful Features to Consider When Purchasing Business Intelligence Software

If you break the word insight down to in-sight, the power it gives you is easier to comprehend.  It is easier to correct problems, or avoid troubles when they are known and seen.  While spreadsheet reporting will give you insight into the most critical issues, it can be the little issues that impact the bottom lines of those reports.  That is the basic premise behind Business Intelligence tools. Having a visual presentation gives you quicker insight into overall performance. A good BI tool will lead you to those smaller details, once the larger issue is identified. The better your tool is, the smaller the revenue bleed you will experience. There are three considerations, that are often overlooked, that you should look for when selecting such a tool.

1)  Automation

Because it is an automated measurement, it is easier to gain insight more often.  Take advantage if this and look for ways it will automate outside of reporting.  A good BI tool will allow you to drill to the core problem after finding the symptom. That involves bringing the smaller details into the analysis.  This is how the king stores stay on top.  They check and measure these detailed items frequently without drowning themselves in analysis. Yet they catch revenue loss as it begins.  Automation makes this frequent review possible.  Building a process by automating the routing the information it provides to the various people in your company can also have a very positive impact on management objectives.

2) Presentation

Presentation must be comprehensive.  There are a lot of things that could cause revenue to fall.  Falling revenue is usually a symptom of a core problem or, failing process, somewhere within your operations.  29294526_sWhen selecting a tool to gain insight, it is important that the tool tells you the things that could cause the loss.  This is done by setting thresholds.  Having the ability to set thresholds will refine your presentation by telling you the details, only when you need to be aware of them.   Having the ability to view these details easily and, only as needed, will tend to make you use this capability and therefore, respond to the issue more quickly, preventing revenue loss.

If you are fortunate enough to find a tool that has geo-coding where the alerts are segregated by location, you will not only know what the problem is, but where to resolve it.  The best presentation comes down to presenting the analytic findings into a meaningful and interpreted view so you immediately know what to do when issues are presented.  Adding the dimension of the location will tell you where the action is to be taken, and eliminate time spent seeking out the location of the problem.

3) Comparison

Another valuable feature is time comparisons.   How a store is comparing to others in various time periods can provide great insight into marketing, purchasing needs, staffing needs and many other areas of your company.  It is also a great way to set goals and identify trends.  A more intrinsic value is that allows each store to compete with itself, giving them the ultimate apple to apple competition they need to improve.  This type of insight is just so much more obvious when the report is visual as opposed to being spread over multiple spreadsheets.

Operations Tab 09 2015


Purchasing any software can be difficult in a company.  You want to make sure it will meet your needs for it will probably be with you for quite a while.  When you look a these three characteristics of BI software you will find that they are the reason you are buying the product in the first place. You want to be able to gain insight more quickly, to head trouble off as it happens and, use it as a tool that enables you to make the decisions that run your business knowing you have the information that you need, when you need it.

Learn More

3 Important Pillars in Teamwork: An Excerpt from The Serenity of Accountability

“Remember teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability”     ~Patrick Lencioni~

Having a culture of accountability implies an organization that works together. Teamwork is the mechanism that enables it to overcome individual limitations and fears to produce results that cannot be achieved otherwise. It requires members to share, trust, give time and contribute t an overall purpose.

1) Purpose
Team work is a natural desire for many – we want to belong to something of which we are proud. The teamwork required for accountability starts with a vision. Team members that share this vision will naturally enjoy the benefits of having a team working to fulfill it. Such a purpose helps to drive healthy competition. It requires individual talents yet demands adherence to a share a code that puts the group first.

2) Trust
Trust comes from consistency over time. Building a track record of delivering on promises is a great way to build trust. Ironically, making mistakes can also be a great trust builder. Everyone makes them, but not everyone deals with them with integrity. The willingness to admit mistakes saves time and creates trust. After one admits to a mistake, it is much easier to change behavior to avoid repeating the same mistakes. Such changes improve processes and increase productivity. Once the fear of reprisals for making a mistake is removed, there is less inertia to perform new tasks or take on a difficult assignment. Nonetheless mistakes are never fun to admit and share. When they do occur, great teams focus on the future – how to resolve the issue and how the entire team can avoid them going forward.

3) Time
There is no way to avoid taking time if teamwork is to be promoted. It takes time to listen and debate an issue. It takes more time to address performance that is not optimal. Taking short cuts to save time always make things worse. Leaving unacceptable behavior alone sends a message that accountability and responsibility to the team are not critical. In order to have a team participate time is consumed in emails, calls, messages or meetings. How else can the team listen, share clarify and analyze plans, problems or situations? Thus the challenge to teamwork is the regular work pressure that takes away time, focus or energy from the team activities. Not taking enough time to address issues early means there will be time later to address it or the consequences of it Teamwork is the key for organization growth as problems can be solved faster by
a) Bouncing ideas
b) Resolving impasses
c) Using different perspectives
d) Sharing knowledge
e) Matching skills and tasks
f) Improving inefficient methods
g) Balancing work loads
h) Eliminating wasted work

For a limited time, BandyWorks is offering the just published book, The Serenity of Accountability  for free.  If you would like to gain a peace of mind in knowing that processes are in place to identify  issues and have them addressed as they occur in your company, without your intervention, simply call (804) 733-8844 x 111 and ask to have a copy sent to you today!

Learn More