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Using BI to drive shareholder value

Most of the time BI is implemented in a haphazard way. A business could take the data it has, and start building some dashboards around it. Although this business discovery process will form part of a BI strategy, it can also just be unstructured, poorly managed and lead to lots of wasted time and wasted resources.

Jeremy Hurter, BI developer at BIPB, says there is a better way. Hurter will be presenting on: "Why bother with BI if it's not going to drive shareholder value? How can you leverage your company data and use it to make better decisions?" at the ITWeb Business Intelligence Summit 2016 on 1 and 2 March at The Forum in Bryanston.

"A better way to start is from the company strategy; work out what should be measured and reported on. Following this, BI and business teams can then work out how to access the relevant information and present it back to the stakeholders in a format that they can relate to and take action on."

He says to remember: "Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."

Speaking of how businesses can better leverage their data and use it to make better decisions, Hurter says the information held within a business is the memory of the business. "It records a number of facts every time something is sold, purchased or even when an event takes place. By correctly interpreting these memories through the use of effective tools, BI becomes like another manager or board member who can impart their knowledge and lead to growth and increased shareholder value. Using data to make fact-based decisions may not be a perfect science but it certainly is better than a guess or using gut feeling to make decisions."

He says effective BI can provide a number of advantages, such as really fast feedback on key KPIs, extensive time saving through the automation of information gathering and delivery, and a tactical advantage through the analysis of historic information and gaining insights. "BI can provide one version of the truth and can form the backbone of strategy management."

In terms of what businesses are doing wrong with BI, Hurter says companies are drowning in static reports; spending hours recreating the same error-prone spreadsheets every month. "Rather than finding actionable analytics and KPIs, these companies tend to produce more reports and data noise which has to be trolled through in order to find any answers. This can lead to multiple versions of the truth and is a massive waste of time and can lead to incorrect decision-making."

To better leverage data for improved decision-making, he says to first think about how to develop a small number of key performance indicators (KPIs) and then develop interactive dashboards. "This will allow all stakeholders to see their view and interrogate the KPIs. Delivering these as close to real time as possible ca really lead to better fact-based decisions being made. In this way, the company is also able to adapt in an agile fashion to changing conditions rather than waiting for the end of the month to find out what things have changed."

Moreover, he says with the use of analytical and statistical tools, company data becomes a valuable tool for driving revenue, reducing costs and managing risk.

Delegates attending Hurter's presentation can expect to come away with a guideline for developing BI strategy, tips for creating dashboards that will be used and will add value, viewpoints on which tools are working well in the market, and pointers for aligning BI strategy with company strategy, he concludes.


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