It’s that time of year once again when we pour over industry analysis and predict what the coming 12 months might bring. Today, it’s Business Intelligence’s turn. We’re looking at trends in the world of Business Intelligence (BI) and what these mean for your organization.
1. More Integration
We often see BI software integrating with part of an organization’s technology stack, but not all of it. That approach is missing out on a lot of useful information. Businesses can do more with their data, but only if they can access it when it’s needed.
Trust us, a spreadsheet or a management report that pulls together information from disparate systems is out of date the moment you hit “send.” And on top of that, it’s an incredibly time consuming way of doing reporting.
Business Intelligence software is designed to integrate with all kinds of data repositories and do the heavy lifting for reporting on your behalf. The more integrated your systems, the more access you have to the data that sits within them. The more data, the better the analysis you can do of your current market position and efficiency. At minimum, your business needs a working Operational System of Record that links financial, resource, project management, and collaboration systems together. Think of the BI layer as the glue that joins the data in those applications and makes cohesive, intelligent management reporting possible.
What it means for you: If you already have a BI layer, make sure your 2019 plans include integrating it with more of your systems. If you don’t have a BI layer, make that a New Year’s Resolution!
2. Wider Adoption in Service Organizations
BI use in services organizations is growing. We expect that to increase in 2019.
In Mavenlink’s State of the Services Economy 2018 report, 44% of service organizations reported their top pressure point as increased competition. It’s easy to see that businesses who can make better decisions are likely to get ahead of their competitors. BI is the solution more and more companies are using to gain the insights needed to improve business efficiency.
With nearly a third of respondents saying that winning new clients is a top priority, it’s even more important to have data at your fingertips. What’s more impressive: a detailed report available on a secure cloud that your prospective client can access to understand your past successes, or a hastily put together slide deck that might have conflicting data points?
In 2019, transparency and trust are going to be huge in service organizations. Clients need to be sure that they are doing business with firms that can adapt to the changing economic environment. Good BI solutions let you pivot faster, respond in a more agile way, and build better relationships with your customers, all without having the burden of manually sourcing data for reports.
What it means for you: As a service organization, make sure your 2019 plans include creating a set of reports and dashboards that show business insights in real time. Ask your clients what BI insights would be helpful for them, and add value by providing detailed analysis on the topics that matter to their projects.
3. Moving Beyond Reporting
BI has traditionally been seen as a way of creating reports. Whether you’re looking back at historical information or forecasting the future, the “standard” BI output is some kind of report. That’s the core of BI and unlikely to change radically. However, how people use those reports is changing now, and will continue to evolve into 2019 and beyond.
Reporting for reporting’s sake is coming to an end. Executives no longer want a regular monthly status report just because they’ve always had one. This type of information really only provides a look back at what has happened. Today, execs want data that can be used to take action. They want information that lets them identify and improve processes.
This shift toward actionable insights is changing the way BI is used within organizations. It’s helping teams optimize their processes, especially resource allocation.
Real-time resource utilization, linked to project financials, provides information that can directly impact profit margins. Businesses can review trends and forecasts to improve how resources are allocated, minimize bench time, and plan training and development for your team more effectively, without impacting the overall profitability of the firm.
Service organizations are going to be the huge winner here. When you have the data you need to manage each project as if it were a profit and loss account, you can drastically influence the success of your business. And the best thing about it? You don’t need to capture any new information. Your project teams are likely already recording everything you need to make better decisions. You simply need better ways to access that information in a timely way. BI is the layer that does exactly that.
What it means for you: Take some time as a team to consider how you are using Business Intelligence. Are you just using the outputs for reporting? How could you extract information to help you improve profitability through streamlining processes? Start with resource allocation and then spin out to your other core business processes. Look for at least one actionable step for each process: your bottom line will thank you.
What do you think will impact BI and service organizations in 2019? Tweet @mavenlink and share your thoughts!