The 2020 playing field looks very different compared to previous years.

In the past, sophisticated business insights were solely the domain of large enterprises that could leverage massive budgets and commit staff members exclusively to the pursuits of: 

  • Collecting data.
  • Crunching numbers.
  • Providing analysis and forecasts.

Today, shared data and sophisticated analytics programs make business intelligence (BI) available to companies of all sizes, giving smaller organizations a chance to use this technology to grow their profits and expand their operations.

The role of business intelligence

In a recent report, Mordor Intelligence predicted that the BI market would experience a 12% compound annual growth rate over the next five years.

Expanding use of big data will fuel increasingly comprehensive BI reporting and visualizations while spurring the adoption of concise dashboards that deliver relevant business insights to decision-makers.

Here's how business intelligence can support your company, and how you can use it to advance your operations in 2020 and beyond.

Cross-departmental information sharing

One of the key drivers of business intelligence usage is the growing desire of leading companies to make data a central component of organizational culture.

According to the 2020 BI Trend Monitor report from the Business Application Research Center (BARC), creating data-driven cultures is a huge priority for many organizations. In fact, it was the No.1  BI trend for North American businesses as well as for financial services companies globally.

BARC describes a data-driven culture as one where shared information influences decision-making at all levels, replacing intuition with verifiable facts in order to increase impact and efficacy. Instead of using select pieces of data to execute individual projects, company data is available at all levels of the organization and woven into the daily functions of junior and senior staff alike.

However, BARC is careful to emphasize that data-driven cultures don't prioritize rational decision-making to the detriment of operations that need not be informed by data. Data doesn't need to lead the decision-making process in all instances. Critical thinking empowers individuals to use data when it's helpful and to ignore it when it's not.

Prior to recent years, information silos limited the ability of organizations to establish this kind of culture.

Modern BI platforms make data accessible – and interpretable – for users at multiple levels and in various departments.

The same stockpile of information can be viewed through customized dashboards and reinterpreted through the perspectives of each associated department, producing a host of business insights. Varied permission levels and unique dashboard configurations for each user help employees focus on the most relevant information and keep them from getting lost in extraneous details. Instead, they're able to focus on what they need to know while still being able to connect that knowledge to the big picture.

Crafting actionable business insights from BI

On its own, business intelligence doesn't change the performance of companies.

People have to be empowered to take the business insights they glean from BI and turn them into action plans that drive performance metrics.

A company that's particularly invested in using BI to advance their operations can implement action plans derived from data at multiple levels. For instance, if the company has end-to-end insight into the customer journey, they can start to attribute different customer actions to specific company efforts. Business leaders can use this information to help allocate funding appropriately.

Midlevel managers can use this information to tweak workflows and assignments on their teams. Individual contributors can drill down to find specific insights that will help them deliver higher-quality work more efficiently.

What drives this kind of mindset?

To begin with, there's the top-down influence of organizational leaders. The company's management will set the tone and influence the actions of their direct reports, affecting culture.

Also, the ability to set goals for those downstream of you, and to monitor and share the impact of those goals, will drive continued improvement and overall buy-in for workplace enhancements.

Ultimately, if BI is easy to understand and integrated with operations that are a breeze to execute, more people will move forward with action plans derived from BI.

Streamlined decision-making and execution

What drives efficiency? Consolidating information with planning and execution is a good start.

First, you need the data, analytics and forecasts that are pertinent to you. That's the BI we've discussed.

Second, you need a data-driven culture in your company where individuals are empowered to think critically and take action based on the information that's available to them.

Lastly, if you can empower those individuals to respond quickly, especially by using the same platform where they access BI reports, then you've created an efficient system.

Integrating business intelligence dashboards with business operation applications enables users to move quickly from business insight to action plan to action.

Company.com provides customizable insights and efficient execution.

The Company.com personalized business dashboard allows users to observe and assess their business's overall health and performance from one easy-to-digest window. Not only does the dashboard consolidate information streams, but it also serves as the user's command center. The personalized interface is set to your preferences, allowing you to launch the tools that are relevant to your unique needs.

To find out how Company.com can help you leverage business intelligence in 2020 and beyond, sign up for a free account today.