Why do I really need Business Intelligence?

Companies must be able to change and to adapt to respective market and economic conditions.

The pressure to adapt the company’s strategy at this fast-moving age and to partly change the portfolio as well as the access to markets is increasing for managing directors and senior managers.

But based on what data about my company do I then make decisions? Am I able to already use Business Intelligence at this stage? Usually, all finance oriented evaluations like the balance sheet, the profit and loss statement, Balance Sheet or revenue evaluations and customer turn-over reports are available.

The question now is if these data are sufficient. How often do you as decision-maker wish to get more detailed data or information, such as revenue per article, per group of articles, per customers or based on customer groups. In relation to articles varieties like color and size must be considered. In relation to customers topics like country and postal code areas as well as company size and NACE codes must be taken into consideration. At this point, you will hear from other companies the reference to Business Intelligence.

This sounds like a report from an ERP system. But exactly this report does not exist like this in my system. And even worse, we do not even have all required data in the system. We are not only using the ERP system but we also have a CRM system that is not connected with the ERP. And most information regarding the articles are in a PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) or an Item Catalogue System.

At exactly this point, the topic Business Intelligence comes into effect. Each system has its own database. Microsoft offers, by using existing standard tools, the possibility to create evaluations of several databases and to analyze, understood as “Business Intelligence”.

Interfaces between different systems are most often elaborative and costly. Here, the investment makes sense. By means of a pure Business Intelligence evaluation of data with simple tools it is possible to achieve very good results.

For such a data query, initially, it is irrelevant how and with which tool we evaluate these. Do we create a report directly from the database (e.g. Microsoft Reporting Services), do we use spreadsheet formats like Microsoft Excel or do we use a Business Intelligence system like Microsoft Power BI?

The tool depends on the requirements how you want to deal with the data. Is a simple report with the above- mentioned information sufficient or do I want to consider different views when evaluating the data? For my approach, is the simple pivot table from Microsoft Excel sufficient or do I want to view the data graphically and conveniently on data record level and implement the Business Intelligence tool Microsoft Power BI?

No matter how complicated the requirement sounds, provided that the data exist in the company, the data can be analyzed by using standard products in the area of Business Intelligence.

How relevant are my data in the evaluation? Do I use current data from my productive system or do I ask for a so-called copy of the data that I need? (Data Warehouse).

Business Intelligence is not only a product for evaluation of data, although you are able to achieve an outcome very fast by using the above-mentioned tools. Here, the management is asked to define a clear approach which systems shall be used and how shall the data be kept current.

Let us jointly work on the strategy and approach and use the experience from other customer projects.