Intelligent businesses need business intelligence

With the arrival of business intelligence (BI), marketing is becoming demand-driven. What people all too often forget, however, is that data alone will not lead to a revolution in marketing – in the future, all leadership activities and business processes must be based on big data. For many businesses, this means a major change in direction – and saying goodbye to old leadership strategies.

Business intelligence is relevant across all business activity. While businesses used to be managed based on stereotypes and assumptions, with the arrival of big data, business models and strategies will now need to be re-configured so they are information-driven.

The prime focus for many Finnish businesses still seems to be data gathering rather than data utilization.

Although many organizations have enthusiastically embraced digitalization, the prime focus for many Finnish businesses still seems to be data gathering rather than data utilization. However, robust data analytics and management by data are needed in order to ensure ongoing competitiveness.

From data gatherers to data users

Historically, Finnish people were gatherers – and when it comes to data, we still are. We are actively engaged in developing our customer databases and channels into technically sophisticated data gathering systems. However, few have the ability to use that data to underpin their entire business and their management strategy.

The volume of data is growing day by day, and as the data grows, it evolves. This is why data management as a business process is crucial. When existing big data can be processed further, it will deliver significant benefits to support decision-making and business planning.

Harness your data resources and processes to benefit strategic decision making.

Even now, the term ‘data management’ is often used to refer to the development of data collection systems. However, what ultimately matters for your business is being able to recognize the important data, analyzing it and disseminating it to key decision makers at the right time.

You must harness your data resources and processes to benefit strategic decision making. Often an organization’s own in-house data capabilities will not be sufficient and what is needed is a partner that can harness all data relevant to the business and render it useful.

What is genuine management by data?

Oftentimes, the thorough analysis of company measurables and individual KPIs are incorrectly taken to be a form of management by data. In actual fact, it is no use talking about management by data if the data is retrospective and not used to shape everyday business activity.

Often, there is too disproportionate a focus on IT systems and data gathering and generation – while the actual application of that data falls by the wayside. The data cannot generate added value for the business if it is not proactively used to inform all activity and business planning. Endless staff and IT resources can be used for data gathering if the senior management lacks vision for how that data should be put to use.

It is no use talking about management by data if the data is retrospective and not used to shape everyday business activity.

Above all, management by data is a matter of culture and attitude: when you opt to manage by data, it is the decision-makers who are responsible for assimilating and utilizing the information made available to them. The data you have gathered turns to gold only when it is used to re-create organizational processes and is involved in reshaping the entire business ecosystem.

The most switched-on managers will go a step further and lead their businesses based on cause-and-effect analyses and complex data tools. Data must be used to inform business activity form an early stage, starting with product development and market capture, not just to measure outcomes.

Management by data is a matter of culture and attitude.

A traditionally managed business, where data analytics are used on a scatter gun basis, is not ideally placed to respond nimbly to the impending digital transformation, and any talk of growth will remain just that. It is only when the entire business, including all processes, is determined by data, that you can start referring to management by data.

A completely new direction

Data-based decision-making introduces a totally new way to manage a successful business. You should never become too attached to historical data, stereotypes and standardized models.

Business leaders committed to management by data will use facts and information to make tangible decisions, casting aside emotionally driven or product-focused management approaches so typical of their profession. Data is constantly evolving and this very same idea must be applied to business, too.

The way we think about and conduct business must change across the board, on all levels.

Business management culture is about to undergo a monumental shift. The way we think about and conduct business must change across the board, on all levels. The change will begin with senior management and should trickle down to inform the company’s entire culture as quickly as possible. Once everyone’s input is informed by data, it will be possible to achieve that much-discussed competitiveness.

Managing and developing a business in a data-driven environment demands drastic changes to existing processes, but what sort of potential does data analytics offer?

We can now have a prototype ready for testing within a couple of weeks.

The quality, credibility and accessibility of data are crucial to management by data along with user-friendly applications. While we would previously spend a couple of years developing a product, we can now have a prototype ready for testing within a couple of weeks.

Unlock your data competence, find the right partners and turn your data into success

Above all, business leaders need data competence so that they can apply real time data to their business development and to enrich the data available using other data processing tools. Data’s real potential lies in the opportunities it offers for business development. At best, it will lead to product innovation and new markets.

What matters is not your customer’s history but developing a comprehensive picture of all their activities as well as a human understanding of your entire customer base. No customer will endlessly repeat the same patterns of consumer behavior. People’s needs and circumstances, as well as the markets, are shaped by a number of variables. Business must follow the same logic.

All business functions and processes must fall in line with solutions and practices derived from business intelligence. Companies can use their data competency to process information and proactively apply it each day to develop their business activities and to support their decision-making.

Business leaders need data competence so that they can apply real time data to their business development and to enrich the data available using other data processing tools.

If data gathering is already underway, the next step is to find partners offering the most potential and strongest data competence and to unlock your business’s ability to thrive with change.

Similar business paradigm shifts have occurred in recent history. We have moved from faxes to e-mails, from landlines to mobile phones. Wireless networks, mobile devices and applications that effectively utilize the available business data have effortlessly established themselves as part of our everyday working practices.

Businesses today are both able and willing to embrace change. In the past 15 years, we have made more changes to business and decision-making processes than we may realize.

If we cling desperately to BI jargon and retrospective analytics, nothing will happen. At the moment, what matters is making sure that you are working with partners that offer the best data competencies. The right people can be found in-house or through recruitment. Sometimes, the smartest solution may be to look for an external partner.

What matters is making sure that you are working with partners that offer the best data competencies.

Big data professionals can help you boost your business, overhaul your management practices and really pan for business intelligence gold – and dominate any market in any sector.

Faced with this kind of opportunity, you would need to be a bit of a dummy not to unlock the real benefits offered by big data, right?