Business Intelligence Software Is Critical for Growth

The savvy utilization of data is essential for the success of a business. Corporate leaders have finally realized what a large value added business intelligence (BI) platforms bring in terms of access to more structured data. This trend toward acceptance and integration of such tools is showcased by the fact that BI software is now rated as a top investment priority by CIOs.

BI includes a variety of instruments, applications, and methodologies that allow to collect data from internal and external resources. BI platforms then prepare that data for analysis, and generate reports that are comprehensible to decision makers. BI also allows to plan and model future situations and assess risks. It doesn’t solve problems, but one can identify otherwise undetectable issues with the help of BI, and then take corrective actions to reach growth objectives.

The BI and analytics market is undergoing an evolution. Analysts predict that cloud-based BI technology investments will grow 4.5 times faster than those in on-premises solutions. The adoption of machine learning techniques and the development of smart data delivery tools also attract more funding. In addition to that, companies are more inclined to use intuitive self-service business intelligence software that doesn’t require profound technical skills. Ideally, the IT department can train the rest of the team on what data is available and how that information can be accessed and used. Once the data warehouses and data marts supporting the business intelligence system are set up, managers should be able to query the data and easily create custom reports.

The ideal business intelligence software is composed of several parts. One of its parts will source data from various databases used by a company. When it comes to sourcing data, every company is unique and it’s highly unlikely there’s a third-party solution that can simply integrate with all the company’s sources of data out of the box. For that reason, a company may want to consider custom software development for this portion of the BI tool.

The other part will process and visualize the information. A friendly User Interface and User Experience at this point is crucial for this portion of your new software. If the employees actually using this tool will not know how to use it properly right away, there will almost certainly be problems and unnecessary expenses in the long term. Investing in usability is a big must. At the same time, the value of a user-friendly interface is diminished if the system does not work properly. Thus the front-end and the back-end of a custom business intelligence software should always be well aligned.

This is why it is important that the logic behind such a product gets ironed out well before the development of the tool. A company’s leaders, therefore have a set of questions they should consider before investing in a custom BI software.

1. What is expected that the system should do?
2. Why is that needed?
3. How will success be measured?
4. When should the desired goals be achieved?

When business owners have answers to these questions they need to remember that the BI tool is an investment that yields results in the long run and only if it is actively used with the appropriate adjustments based on the company’s growth strategy.

CIOs invest in business intelligence systems in order to make informed, data-driven decisions. As a study has shown, decisions backed with data result in significantly higher ROI and sales numbers. These tools can also leverage information in order to gain a competitive advantage, cut costs, and reduce risks. Thus, investing in a good business intelligence software is worth considering.

Use Machine Learning to Produce Higher Value

Facebook uses machine learning (ML) for face recognition, Apple uses it to make Siri sound more human, and Google minimizes energy use at data centers with the help of ML. Machine learning is a trendy element of artificial intelligence that is being successfully used in many industries. Regardless of the industry your business operates in, consider using ML to improve productivity and receive higher ROI.

 

What is machine learning?

In traditional computer science we need to explain the task we wish to accomplish to the computer. For example, if we plan on creating a tool that calculates salaries, then we need to write a program that translates to the computer how to perform each operation in a language that it understands. This limitation hinders innovation because the machine cannot find and fix problems on its own, which can require much more energy from a development team.

Machine learning could simplify this process by a lot, as it involves “teaching” computers to learn on their own. This is done via an algorithm which educates computers to perform a task without having the developer explicitly code “instructions” in the program. In the supervised learning technique, the processor studies previous examples in order to run a machine learning algorithm. The more data is processed, the more accurate the algorithm becomes.

 

Case studies

The Royal Bank of Scotland has launched Luvo earlier this year. It is a bot that can answer customers’ questions and perform money transfers. It uses machine learning to provide customers with continuously better responses over time. McKinsey points out that some European banks that use machine learning techniques saw a 10% increase in sales of new products, 20% increase in cash collections, and a 20% decline in churn.

Dataminr transforms tweets into actionable signals for stock traders. It classifies them based on location, relevancy, and ranks them by their levels of urgency. An alert sent to a trader even a couple of minutes earlier can result in a significant profit.

SailThru learns customers’ interests and purchase behaviors. It predicts when a customer will make a purchase. For its client, The Clymb, it increased the total email revenue by 71%. It also collected data from all digital channels. This predicted top buyers’ next actions, and identified marketing trends.

A startup from London helps its customers generate reports. The company’s technology can scan text documents and establish relationships between concepts. It has increased workers’ productivity by 25% and saved 40 hours of engineers’ work per month.

Machine learning is not limited to the aforementioned case studies. It can be used in fraud detection, cybersecurity, search, manufacturing, medicine, robotics, personalization, and other industries. To implement machine learning technologies, one needs a strategy and a deep understanding of a company’s KPI’s.

If you plan to use ML in your business, define your criteria of success. It is not enough to know what your customers are about to do; the most important thing is to understand some of the reasons behind their behavior.

 

Tech Skills Will Make You a Better CEO

A set of technical skills will bring each CEO closer to the IT department. Tech skills allow leaders to understand more about methodologies in which software is developed. Even basic knowledge of how software operates gives managers ideas about how it can be improved or modified. New tech skills help managers communicate and present their vision more effectively. Managers who continuously learn new things and foster innovation are perceived as better leaders by their employees.

Kevin Systrom explains on Quora that he has become the CEO of Instagram because he spent his nights learning to program. At some point, he was able to build a prototype of his idea in HTML5. He showed it to investors and raised $500k. Instagram appeared thanks to Systrom’s determination and new skills he acquired.

Get acquainted with programming languages

Basic programming courses will help dig into the world of programming. Personal experience with coding greases the wheels with everything from time management to delegation. Signing up for IT newsletters helps keep track of major trends. A CEO has to understand what  the IT department is talking about at least on a conceptual level. He or she generally must have an opinion about it, so acquaintance with the terminology will let them feel in their element.

Master technical writing

Technical writing allows one to engage in a project. In the process of describing technical tasks and features, one remembers the information about the process and timing during which an IT project is created. Technical writing brings the CEO closer to speaking the same language as software engineers.

Learn about Agile

Agile project management methodology turns work in a collaborative, flexible process. It allows to find out more about employees and ways in which they react to exceptional situations. Additionally, projects are delivered based on evolving business requirements which increases competitiveness.

Be proficient in SQL

A leader who knows how to create queries using SQL can work with different types of databases and generate reports that are important for the decision-making process. Data analysis plays a major role in the identification of customer preferences, trends, and issues at early stages. A survey conducted by PwC says that 63% of CEOs are using digital technologies for strategic decision-making.

Develop your eye for design

It is hard to grow a business if website design and marketing materials are lagging behind. A CEO needs to know the basics of composition, color use, and typography to communicate their vision to designers and web-developers clearly. A leader needs to understand the difficulties that designers encounter and provide argumentative feedback.

Understand IT security

Understanding network security principles helps realize what must be in place in a secure network. When a manager can assess the financial risks accompanied with the usage of a vulnerable network, it becomes easier for managers from the IT department to get more funding for security.

Learning new tech skills is beneficial for CEOs because new abilities help look at business processes from a different perspective. New skills help communicate with colleagues, understand needs and requirements, and ultimately be a better manager. Learning new tech skills is one of the best ways to stay on top of things and formulate your company’s growth strategy in a clear and efficient way.