In a data-driven world, it’s odd that gut instinct still plays such a big part in business decisions. But why isn’t surprising: Not only do businesses have more data than they can handle, but they’re also using a tool never designed to gather BI (Business Intelligence) in the first place.
That tool is Excel; approximately “1 in 5 businesses are using spreadsheets as the main tool to communicate data internally”according to Bernard Mar (Forbes). Excel is a great tool for certain business requirements, but gathering and organizing corporate data isn’t among them.
Mar explains why spreadsheets don’t work for businesses:
Further, many users are running old versions of Excel. So, why are so many businesses depending on Excel reporting tools to do Excel business intelligence?
One of the most common concerns we at 3AG hear from clients is that they’re drowning in data. They have more information than they can access and no efficient, thorough and repeatable way to do so; instead,
Not many people are capable of making well-reasoned decisions when their heads are under water. In a business context, this leads necessarily to an overabundance of gut decisions—otherwise, no decisions would be made at all.
This is an issue for companies across industries and of all sizes, but mid-size enterprises are most vulnerable. Mid-size businesses are large enough to require superior business intelligence and data reporting, but their resources usually aren’t sufficient—even if they have a clear idea of what BI could do for their business.
Without an expert data analyst running your BI strategy, you won’t get a complete picture of your company’s information. Being able to connect different databases or build data lakes, for example, are necessary to gain meaningful insights, but are not among most business Excel users’ skills.
Choosing a visualization tool like Power BI vs Excel is not enough. Yes, you will need the right tools to develop and share dashboards and reports, but remember that tools are just tools, not strategies.
If you’re not happy with how your company currently manages its data, consider these questions:
If concerns about time and money are keeping you from researching or adopting a more sophisticated BI solution, that’s understandable. It might also be fatal. In the age of big data, the price of mismanaging, losing or misunderstanding corporate data will be incalculable in the long run—and perhaps crippling in the short term.
If your in-house support isn’t sufficient, consider working with a respected business intelligence and business analytics (BA) company. (BA comprises the technologies and skills used to analyze both historical and current data, to inform business planning now and predict future business requirements.)
The BI/BA partner worth your investment should be able to:
An expert BI/BA partner should take you from consolidating and analyzing old data, to analyzing streamlined data sources in real time and finally to predictive analytics—so you’ll be set up for a very profitable and far-reaching future.
Matthew Gierc provides a quick take on the concept in this video.
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