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.
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.
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. When 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.
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.
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.