Business analytics provide the key metrics used to make logical & sound decisions for growth, customer satisfaction, acquisitions, employee retention, and more. A business operating without an understanding of their metrics (reinforced through analytical data) are flying in the dark; ignoring this data happens frequently, which is one of the many reasons why businesses fail.
Key metrics in business intelligence may include:
- Quantities of products, leads, and orders
- Values of every action and transaction
- Discrepancies/differences compared to previous efforts
To determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) one must first gather the data which can come through many different avenues such as sales reports, website conversion reports, and customer service testimonials. Other areas which can have an impact on the KPIs include BI software, which is used to collect, sort, and create action plans based on this dataset (along with the subsequent software that ties into the usual business operations).
Trends are another aspect of the industry which should be analyzed and tracked. Entire businesses are built upon trends; some are wildly successful while others completely miss the mark and fail.
Take, for example, the millennial trends (as far as the election years ago):
- Most are interested in education as their big social issue
- Many are becoming increasingly conservative
- Nearly all feel they can make an impact
- Half do not trust the government
- More than a quarter are on social media
This may not come as a major surprise for those that keep track of trends but it could have a major impact in a business that chooses to ignore the information. As boomers make their way out and Gen X/Millennials become the norm – businesses that did not react off the collected data could find themselves in very sticky situations.
Combine these areas of interest and one may find themselves focusing on the main ones which greatly influence the rest. These may include:
- Demographics – Areas including the geographical location, race, sex, and overall culture will play a large part in the type of business you are likely to target and attract. Society may strive to divide the gap but demographical data will often tell a different story. It would be unwise to fully dismiss the differences in the users attracted to the business.
- Politics – Political affiliate has long since been a key indicator in the direction of industries and the reception of its customers. Look no further than what happens when a major company sides with a political candidate – the other half often calls for boycotts. The politics can play a meta-game of data collection; keep up with the politics and the trends will be revealed the same way as reading the stock market.
- Education – Metrics, outside of the immediate demographics, in education allows a business to use BI software and services to predict changes in the marketplace. The number of individuals completing higher-level education has been on a drastic rise. As the industry increases its understanding of geopolitics and globalization they begin to sway traditional structures (such an example with the recent explosive growth of organics in the marketplace). Education aids in consumer consumption patterns; the same can be said when examining discussions through social media! The World is interconnected and it's empowering the consumer mindset.
These type of trends, when combined with Big Data, generate the “big picture” in business. Having the metrics provided by industry reports and through personal collection, and then utilizing BI software, helps the individual avoid common mistakes with their tools while gaining an edge on the competition and keeping ahead of the curve.
All in all, it would be illogical to operate a business on gut feelings and assumptions. BI tools were created to sift through the mountain of data and provide reports which lead to logical actions and strategies. There are many to choose from, and to each their own, but what's most important is that they are integrated into the workflow and become the resource which helps dictate the direction and growth of the business.
What are your thoughts about BI software, trends, analytics, and the future of our interconnected, big data world? Leave a comment below!