How to get your business ready for the future (part 3) – Business Intelligence

How to get your business ready for the future (part 3) – Business Intelligence

In our previous two digital transformation blog posts we discussed the infrastructure you need before you can digitally transform your organization and we talked about how to change your approach to technology so that it becomes a strategic component of your business. In this blog post, we get to the crux of what digital transformation is all about…Intelligence

At the end of the day, Digital Transformation is all about gaining intelligence on your business that helps you to make better decisions, enabling you to engage and help your clients, empower your employees, optimize your operations, or transform your products. 

Using your data

Data is the key to acquiring useful intelligence. Business data is growing at exponential rates and the ways in which you can gather data are increasing every year. Data helps you gain insights into your business and those insights allow you to take actions with more complete information. The real power of data comes from using it in the most effective way for your business. As computing power has become more available through the use of cloud-based computing, your data has become more powerful than ever. Take a look at the different ways that your data can drive business insight.


Lots of people still organize their data using reports. A report, in itself, provides you with limited insight into the state of a small scope of your business. A problem with reports is that they can only tell you what happened in the past. You may be able to look at old reports or compare and contrast reports to give you further insight, but it is limited in its ability and can get overwhelmingly cumbersome when dealing with vast amounts of data. This is one way to use your data, but probably not the most efficient or effective.

Real time dashboards

Dashboards are the next step up from reports. They can gather data from multiple sources and give you real-time, current data in a format that is easy to visualize and monitor.

Sample Microsoft Power BI dashboard

Predictive models

Once you’ve got real-time information, predictive models can take this current information, compare it with historical data and predict, based on past events, the likelihood of an event occurring in the future.

Recommendations and automation

Once the software has predicted the likelihood of an event occurring, it can be programed to send out an alert, and can include recommendations based on historical data and best potential outcomes. Alternatively, if the action is simple and requires no human oversight, it can be programmed with a fully automated response. Pretty amazing, right? This is a quick and powerful way to reduce repetitive tasks, freeing an employee’s time for more important tasks.

Business Intelligence

The ability, described above, for an organization to leverage technology to transform data into actionable intelligence that informs strategic and tactical business decisions is called Business Intelligence.

The graphic below depicts the development of Business Intelligence as your data is used more effectively and efficiently to enable you to more quickly and easily make decisions that will develop and grow your business.

Artificial Intelligence

Taking Business Intelligence one step further, Artificial Intelligence is software that can ingest incredible amounts of data and rapidly analyze that data to generate intelligent responses to user queries. Most artificial intelligence on the market today (like IBM’s Watson and Microsoft’s Cortana) is capable of understanding natural language. This allows data from written sources to be organized and categorized without human intervention. It also means that queries can be done in the form of a question rather than complicated query statements. And probably the best part of artificial intelligence is that it learns more as you use it, figuring out which responses were useful to you and using that knowledge as a basis for future responses.

Prepare your Business for the Future!

Business Intelligence software is readily available. In fact, if you use Office 365, you already have access to Power BI, Microsoft’s Business Intelligence Platform. If you’re not using this incredibly powerful tool to gain insights into your business, you may soon be left behind! Organizations of all kinds are learning how to benefit from this incredible data processing power – your competitors included. Business Intelligence has the possibility to be a game changer to your business and in your industry. Where in your business could you use more insights to make better decisions?

Many thanks to our partner, Noah Ullman, at Blum Shapiro Consulting for providing some of the great visuals above.

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