Many SMBs still struggle with implementing the right business and financial analytics solution. While there are many BI (business intelligence) tools in the market, they are best used for professional developers and used for building management dashboards. It is difficult to harness them for day-to-day decision-making.
But what about the FP&A team, the financial analysts, and other employees that have no professional experience in financial analytics tools?
They are left out to use Excel, which has several downfalls:
- most tasks need to be repeated again and again, which takes a lot of time
- it is not integrated into the existing corporate systems, which requires a lot of back-and-forth to update the actual decisions in the corporate systems. All these systems are an integral part of the corporate decision-making process.
To get the correct insights into the corporate decisions, the FP&A team need to use Business Analytics Platforms (also called BI – Business Intelligence Platforms) that have more features and provide a deeper level of business analytics than Excel. These platforms take care of many business tasks.
The Benefits Business Analytics Platforms
- consolidating data that is in silos – in many cases, the organization uses many disparate data systems. It is difficult to see and understand the underlying connections and implications between all types of data. By putting it all in one place, it is easier to analyze.
- publishing data in dashboard format that is easier to analyze – by using one methodology for analyzing and “slicing and dicing” the data, more insights can be uncovered. No more exporting to Excel and doing a lot of repetitive work in consolidating data.
- some platforms offer various predictive algorithms such as using machine learning based capabilities. These help companies improve their forecasts and get a better grip of the future scenarios.
If your company is running the most advanced technology on the planet, you should not be stuck with Excel and Excel only.
The companies that are leveraging technology and leveraging technology very effectively are the ones that are easily able to leverage data from the most diverse sources to their business. It is important to also consider external data sources, for example weather data, changes in the economy, and so on.
Leveraging all this data across different geographies and from different data silos will allow you to make better decisions, faster.
What Kind of Platform Does My Business Need?
Each company and industry has different needs. If you are doing some small part of your business process on Excel, or if you are the FP&A team that does not have technical knowledge in technology, then you might be interested in a custom BI platform that would help you maximize the potential of your business.
If your business is running complex global projects, you may be interested in a complete enterprise-wide analytics platform that can manage all your business analytics needs. Or even, you may have an in-house team that will build for you a custom solution, just what you envision.
If you are a budget-conscious company, you can go for a freemium platform that does not require a subscription to keep up with the latest functionality that is out there. If you need everything that is out there, you can go for a paid subscription platform, which typically starts at around $50-200 per month.
Why Do You Need to Implement Business Analytics?
Business analytics provides better insights into the decisions made by your management team and customers. It also helps you in the following ways:
- direct Impact on the bottom line – by making the most important decisions, finding where there is the biggest potential for impact on the business
- Increase customer satisfaction – by measuring all KPIs, including customer complaints, satisfaction, etc. you are able to improve on these as well.
- Cost savings – analytics systems can help you find where costs are growing and address these issues
– Employee and customer engagement – even these can be studied, analyzed, and improved
– Improve transparency in the internal and external business processes – you can share the results among the stakeholders of your company
With the right business analytics platform, you will be able to make decisions from greater depth of information, more quickly, and with better results.
That’s why you need to hire an FP&A team, an FP&A manager and/or an FP&A expert. When you hire this person, you are hiring the best person to tell you what the next strategic steps should be for the business.
From the decision of the investment to the sales efforts, from choosing which product to acquire to what kind of service to provide, data analytics and business analytics will help you in making the right choices for your business.
How to Manage Business Analytics?
While data has always been available, the struggle is in being able to process and analyze it and be able to make the right business decisions. Analytics has become the lynchpin of modern business. Analytics will help you find the signals that point towards the right direction. Analytics will help you in finding the potential problems before they become real issues and also in diagnosing the ones which are likely to be very expensive.
With business analytics, the company needs to create an environment that gives its people the tools they need to use the data effectively.
Organizations need a chief analytics officer (CAO) to spearhead the efforts to make the business more analytical.
The job of the CAO will be to create the right conditions to make sure the tools are available to employees and also make sure that the metrics used are the right ones and that data used is in line with the organization’s goals.
With the right leadership in place, the analytics team will create an environment where they can communicate well, create trust in the process, and make the workforce more analytical. The ultimate aim is to make the organization more agile and to provide the organization with the tools it needs to do the job in an optimal way.
So, the next time you want to make a decision about your business, first ask yourself what do you need to improve. If you still feel that your business can do with business analytics, there are several companies that offer the best solutions to your business requirements. So, start your search from a decision point by using google and review sites to find the best tools and services.
While each of the companies offer a little bit of something different, their role is to provide the best solutions to your business needs.
With the available solutions, you can make better decisions about your business and will be able to make sure that your decisions are aligned to the business’ goals.
This is how you make the right decisions and make the right business decisions to improve your business.