The One Business Intelligence Question Every Company Should Ask

April 03, 2019

The One Business Intelligence Question Every Company Should Ask

Synopsis
3 Minute Read

MNP’s Brian Foster discusses the single biggest success factor of business intelligence programs (hint: it has nothing to do with technology).

Brian Foster
Brian Foster
Manager, Technology Consulting

At its core, business intelligence (BI) involves a great deal of question asking. Regardless of the tools your team uses, you can typically find the answers to several important questions in any given visualization or dashboard, such as:

  • How much did we sell last period?
  • Who were the top performing sales people this quarter?
  • What proportion of revenue did East Region generate?

At more analytically mature organizations, you may find examples of predictive analytics answering even more challenging questions, including:

  • What is our sales projection for the upcoming month?
  • How many customers will respond to this new coupon offer?
  • If a customer buys product ‘X’, what else are they likely to buy?

But the single most important question for any BI team does not appear in the lists above. In fact, this question does not require a database query, algorithm or even a dashboard.

In my estimation, the one question every company should ask is simply:
“How does your business intelligence program align with and support your corporate strategy?”

Lead with Alignment

While certainly not as exciting as the earlier questions, this is supremely important. After all, how can you get the most value from your analytics investment if you aren’t aiming at the right targets?

For example, if your strategy involves retail expansion as a primary growth vehicle , you would want your BI team to deliver meaningful metrics around site selection, new store performance and other competitive measures. You would not be as concerned with reporting on product breakdowns at ‘same store’ locations.

Analytics act as mission guidance. So, if you aren’t on the same page with your business, you will always produce sub-optimal results.

In short, don’t confuse ‘interesting insights’ with strategic alignment. Can your BI team articulate an analytics strategy that directly supports your corporate strategy? If not, I respectfully suggest that it is time for a realignment.

Tomorrow’s technology is shaping business today. To learn more about how MNP can help you can make Advanced Analytics work for you, contact Brian Foster at 204.336.6131 or [email protected].

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