When a quarter comes to an end, many of us face a slew of drawn-out meetings, file after file of spreadsheets, and tons of data that needs analyzing. Being able to better analyze data in real-time can be advantageous to your organization and significantly enhance reports and end of quarter meetings. But it’s how you’re analyzing data that can make all the difference.
Business Intelligence (BI) provides companies with a big picture view of their data. With this broad view, BI helps determine the latest trends and opens up the door to real-time, comprehensive data analysis. Take UPS for example. On average, a UPS driver makes 120-140 stops per day; by utilizing business intelligence tools, the shipping company was able to analyze all of their drivers’ routes and stops. With this information, UPS optimized their driver delivery routes and reduced the number of miles driven per year by 85 million, which saved an estimated 8 million gallons of fuel. And their savings keep growing (potentially to $300-$400 million per year) as they use their data on a daily, real-time basis to find the most efficient routes for drivers and create process improvements. Want to start saving like UPS? Here’s how BI can help:
1. Comprehensive Overviews
Business intelligence tools allow you to look at a collection of data points from a variety of sources in one comprehensive overview. Internal and external sources can be connected with software components, such as APIs, and data analysis can be performed with your data as a whole. For UPS, it meant bringing together local and corporate repositories, as well as a variety of spreadsheets where data was collected from GPS planners, handheld computers, and devices installed on trucks. With this comprehensive view, your business receives a clear and accurate picture of data as a whole entity, and can use this to determine more accurate, in-depth trends and forecasts for the future. UPS was able to use their centralized data overviews to determine the most cost-effective routes, and perform prescriptive analysis to help predict when packages would be delivered, not only saving them money but also improving customer satisfaction.
2. Visual Dashboards
Determining the big picture numbers is one thing, but BI takes business analytics to the next level by providing extensive visual overviews of your data. With pie charts, 3D bar graphs, and more, BI allows you to take your important data (e.g., statistics, KPIs, metrics) and create the visual representation of your choosing. This allows you to easily analyze and perform trend analysis with your data, in addition to seeing this information in real-time. These dashboards can also be automatically configured so that you can spend time analyzing data instead of just creating graphs.
3. Customizable Everything
BI allows you to customize anything and everything when it comes to your data. From the data you pull to how it’s represented, BI gives you the power to see data in a way that’s meaningful to help inform critical business decisions. Need to report on the month-over-month sales of a specific product at 10 different locations, and then compare that with budget spent towards advertising product in the regions surrounding the 10 different locations? No problem! When UPS was working with business intelligence tools, they needed extremely customized maps and data sources so they could analyze the efficiency of their routes. BI was able to deliver the flexibility needed in order to find the key data trends that were (and are) most important.
Data is something that every business has and needs, but it’s how you’re looking at it that makes the difference. Need help utilizing BI to view your data in a different light? Schedule a 101 BI Clinic to dive into your current BI needs, ask questions, and identify areas for improvement. And, if you want to see first-hand how BI works, join us for our upcoming webinar Business Intelligence: Cloud Data Management Through Power BI.