|Business Intelligence; using accounting data to increase profitability|
|(Analysis and MIS)|
|Thursday, 14 July 2011 00:00|
The Business Intelligence (BI) Value Chain:
Data -> Information -> Reporting -> Intelligence -> Decision Making
Where are your clients along the continuum?
Is the right data being collected quickly, frequently, and accurately?
Business Intelligence is the ability to utilize computer technology to identify, extract, and analyze business data to support decision-making. The key to useful BI is the ability of the technology to provide historical, current and predictive views of business operations.
Robust accounting/ERP, customer relationship management, and business management software is well suited for the tasks of generating good BI; with the functionality for converting data into information that supports BI analysis. The choice becomes whether to generate and analyze BI outside, or inside the system.
External to the System
Create and run common reports and/or export data (financial statements, operational statuses, sales results/forecasts, etc.), and conduct the analysis manually, or using spreadsheets.
For example, create a report (out-of-the-box, or export to a spreadsheet) that calculates ratios to measure your client's profitability performance against industry benchmarks (i.e. AR ageing, inventory turns, etc.). Dig back into the contributing data/activity, and management can make changes to increase profitability.
Internal to the System
Measure profitability across products, projects, departments and divisions; get granular, and analyze anything imaginable. Stay within the system, and create more comprehensive reports that automate calculations, compare interrelated information, and generate new reports that provide instant 'real-time' analysis. If the data can be captured, it can then be reported on, in any way imaginable.
For example, create a report that calculates profitability by product, sales region, product, salesperson, etc. Add ratios that compare profitability results against Assets, Inventory Turnover, Revenue, etc. Then, compare those results against industry benchmarks to determine how the company is doing overall against competitors. Dig back into the contributing data/activity, and management can make changes to increase profitability.
Measure profitability historically, currently, and into the future with powerful predictive technologies.
If the company has several years of data, and lots of it, the next level of BI utilizes a technique called 'data mining.' This process is run by very powerful 3rd party software that (based on query settings) goes into the database, extracts the required data, and presents the resulting information in almost any way possible, utilizing powerful algorithms that ‘analyze’ the data for recurring patterns, or other criteria that the user sets. Utilizing Artificial Intelligence to conduct BI has limitless possibilities, and is best explored with a consulting firm that specializes in it.
Profitability. Every company craves it. How sophisticated are your clients getting, in determining how to be more profitable?
Whatever the size of your client companies, they can all benefit from using some level of Business Intelligence. Familiarize yourself with the choices available, costs, ROI, and functionality of the various BI tools. Talk to your clients, and help them improve how they report, analyze and support their decision-making using their accounting data.
They’ll thank you for it!