How Does Business Intelligence Help an Organization?

John Show
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First, it would help to define business intelligence, or BI. BI is data analytics and the technologies and strategies used to collect it and apply it. BI can provide past, present, and predictive views of business operations. BI is connected to everything, from member engagement scoring to marketing, helping organizations work smarter and more efficiently. BI technologies can handle large amounts of structured and sometimes unstructured data to help identify, develop, and otherwise create new strategic business opportunities. They aim to allow for the easy interpretation of these big data. But how can it help specifically? If you think about your organization as a web of sources connected by data, you can understand how business intelligence is supposed to work. It connects everything so that you can accurately understand your entire organization and how improving each element will improve the whole.


For example, collecting data about your members to perform member engagement scoring will also provide data on how to improve your marketing campaigns which will in turn continue to encourage engagement which helps with member retention. Once you start to let data guide your decisions, every aspect of the organization will also be improved. Collect data from your email marketing campaigns to discover what most interests your members by looking into what they click and click through to further explore. Is a certain demographic more interested in courses and certifications than another? Strategize your marketing around that by continuing to market more diverse options to the most interested, and your most popular offerings to your least interested. This may also reveal to you that you aren’t providing certain courses that your members are looking for and that you should start offering it.


Another important aspect of BI is its predictive abilities. Using data gathered about past events, for example, you can make an educated prediction about how your future events will do for things like registration, attendance, and satisfaction. BI may also help you predict your future member retention rates and whether or not your organization will continue to grow. It can help you plan now for any future possibilities, so you feel more prepared going forward. This can be especially important right now with the world feeling very uncertain. We may not know when we’ll be able to have an in-person event again, but at least we can prepare for and predict the success of our virtual events.


BI is also meant to be as digestible and understandable as possible to increase the amount of people who can use it to its full potential. Data analysts play a very important role in an organization to ensure that the data is read and used properaly, but one can only have so many data specialists. Sometimes, everyone from the most junior marketing coordinator to the most senior executive needs to be able to use that data effectively, and they don’t always have the background or training to easily interpret raw data. Utilizing BI technologies like data analytics platforms can democratize data so that everyone can read it and understand it enough that it improves their performance. If you choose to, you can even send data reports that are legible to your members so they can see the data you’ve been collecting as member facing data analytics, or you can send reports to your board without also having to send a data specialist to explain the report to them. Using BI, you can take out the middleman, increasing efficiency and saving money.


One of the best things about BI is it can help you strategize long term goals and priorities at the broadest level to pricing of individual products and services. It can be tempting to see these as very separate topics for strategizing, but how can you make your long-term goals without knowing the pricing of your products and how can you decide on your pricing if you don’t have a goal in mind. These things need to go together, and BI allows you to make these plans concurrently so that everyone in your organization is on the same page. BI can even make some of these decisions for you. If you know your goals, a good business intelligence technology can help to suggest pricing and scheduling to make those goals happen. It doesn’t negate the need for human intervention, but it allows your people to dream and have lofty goals without being bogged down by the minutiae of it all.


BI is undeniably helpful for recognizing and visualizing how your organization operates, both as smaller parts and as the large whole. Being aware of the minute data of each element of the organization is good, but when you combine all the elements together and compare data across the entire org, you will find that understanding your business environment, your members, and even your own staff will become easier and more productive.

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