What Every Company Needs to Embrace Business Intelligence

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Despite the advanced business intelligence (BI) and data analytics tools available to enterprises today, many companies are still “struggling with data-driven business transformation.” This is one important takeaway from the NewVantage Big Data and AI Executive Survey 2019 — that despite companies investing in BI and AI, many are falling short of the proportionate results they’re hoping to see in terms of better business outcomes.

While 62 percent of respondents have seen measurable results from data investments:

  • Less than 48 percent say they are competing on data analytics.
  • Only 31 percent of enterprises believe they have created a data-driven organization.
  • Just 23 percent of leaders report they have forged a data culture.

In other words, companies are still falling short of where they’d like to be when it comes to harnessing the power of BI. The same report found only five percent of issues related to technology. Instead, most of the concerns pertained to cultural challenges. Simply put, rather than lacking access to tools that’ll do the job, getting people on board and processes in place are the primary hindrances.

Is your company trying hard to embrace business intelligence to the fullest? 

Here are three tips for doing so.

1. Deploy Intuitive, Accessible BI Tools

The self-service business intelligence tools your company deploys will have an effect on adoption rates and employee perception of your data strategy. Therefore, it is important to prioritize user experience from the get-go. The goal is to make data insights widely accessible to those who need them most — the front-line decision-makers at every level of your org.

The more intuitive, speedy and interactive data insights are, the more often your employees will incorporate them into routine decision-making — the foundation of data competitiveness.

2. Keep Improving Company-Wide Data Literacy

Empowering employees to make full use of your chosen BI tools also means promoting data literacy at every turn. While platforms today are accessible, even for non-technical users, there’s still a lot companies can do to help employees feel completely comfortable pulling, analyzing and using data insights.

Developing a common language with which to discuss data is an important step. The research firm found data executives rank poor data literacy as the second most significant roadblock to data strategy progress. A Gartner analyst said at a recent summit, “As data and analytics become pervasive, the ability to communicate in this language — becoming data-literate — is the new organizational readiness factor.” 

Creating a shared vocabulary to cultivate “information as a second language” is a solid start, as is providing training and examples for everyone — especially for employees with less formal training in how to interpret and talk data.

3. Design a Data-Driven Company Culture

All companies have a culture, whether it’s intentionally designed with goals in mind or unintentionally materializes over time from a lack of direction. Obviously, the former is desirable, especially when it comes to encouraging a company to fully embrace BI.

According to one analytics expert for Harvard Business Review, here are some necessary steps for creating a data-driven culture:

  • Ensure managers are leading by example, using data to drive decision-making and showing employees how they are already incorporating data-anchored choices.
  • Define collaboratively by team and department important metrics.
  • Democratize data access throughout your org.
  • Ensure your approach to analytics isn’t just helping the company; it’s helping employees — by saving time, helping avoid rework and empowering them to pull insights on an ad hoc basis, rather than having to wait for reports.
  • Ask teams to clearly explain their analytical choices, which can provide a deeper understanding for everyone involved as to how to incorporate data into problem solving.

Another simple way to promote data-driven culture is to publicize and celebrate data-driven business outcomes. A data-driven decision cut an operational inefficiency by 17 percent? Make it a case study from which everyone can learn and gain confidence.

Embracing business intelligence as a company requires the right BI tools, a company culture driven by data and a language of data everyone can understand.