Business Intelligence as an Enabler
By providing information across the organization, BI enables better decisions that support organizational objectives. It also can facilitate communication that in turn can enable buy-in of organizational directives.
Even though business intelligence enables better decisions, it is important to remember that BI is not a silver bullet, nor is it an exact science. Decisions are made by people, who have an amazing capacity to consume and process all kinds of data and information. A BI solution provides one part of what goes into making a decision. For example, a CFO checks her financial dashboard and sees that her company has experienced a drop of 4% in sales for this quarter. This does not necessarily mean that the best decision is to cut 4% of the staff for the coming year. Looking at her other performance measures, she sees that customer satisfaction has shot through the roof, and looking further into the overall performance of her industry, she sees that the industry as a whole lost 20% in sales. Processing all these points of information, her 4% drop in sales begins to look quite different, and she concludes that it is best to actually increase staff because she expects that sales next year will skyrocket.
BI also enables better communication across an organization. In another company, the CFO looks at KPIs and scorecards to measure employee productivity against revenue versus nonrevenue projects. In consultation with the Human Resources group, the company uses the scorecards to communicate to employees the necessity of moving the organization toward a more efficient operational model. Employees have access to the scorecards that track hours spent in revenue versus nonrevenue projects, and they can see the imbalance in how time is spent and the need for more effective models of work.