BI is the Holy Grail for Start-ups

Akanksha Bhadoria, Business Development Manager, Canny InformaticsOne needs to be self-motivated to succeed. The external factors do play a role but if the person has an internal locus of control, one will continue with the endeavour. If you are working towards growth and development of your start up, you hope for it to be a going concern. Your vision will motivate you to strive for success. You will have to make the decisions based upon solid facts and figures. There is literally no chance of success if you base your startup's decisions on judgement calls. To manage the show one has to move from intrinsic to extrinsic factors of motivation, because these are the ones with numbers and facts. Beliefs and opinions can change an individual's life but it’s not the way for an organisation.

The measure of success and failure is indicated by numbers, and so is for their magnitude. With this we have taken the first step towards proper decision making. Obviously, more steps need to be taken to reach the sky. How to assure effective decision making when one is not aware of the reasons or the causes behind decisions. Sales Maximisation and Profit Optimization is one such general objectives, every company aims to achieve. One can find a direction and an objective and can conquer the market, but in reality this is when the game begins. The question is how to do better than others, faster.

A great number of Start-ups and SMEs are struggling in the era of tough competition. In many cases many cases they can’t find the reasons for this. They find it too cost ineffective to be well informed in the times when even a small piece of information can affect big decisions. Thus, end up paying the cost of their ignorance.

The gap between the right direction and the goal is bridged by effective decision making. During the journey they face challenges such as competition, incapability to adapt to the dynamic market, and the lack of resources. These are perceived weaknesses which the new entrants or small organizations face. The above challenges have a single solution - Information. Once a company understands the importance of data and knows how to convert it into meaningful information, the master stroke is played. Spending money on information is not a cost, but a crucial investment.

Business Intelligence is the protagonist of this show. The prerequisite of BI
is an objective and the key drivers which help attain it. We know the destination and the means to reach there. Just like fuel is to transportation, BI is to business.

Manual reports for sales may showcase some of the following numbers:

1. Number of Customers
2. Quantity of Sales
3. Credit Period
4. Sales Cycles
5. Revenue and Sales

One thinks that decisions when based upon numbers extracted from transactional systems will prove to be effective; it might not be the case. The numbers related to the above information may also be periodically created by the employees. This will result into fragmented information often leading to confusion. As the human are prone to err, there will be drawbacks with the reports. Even if worked with precision, it is time consuming. The manpower must be utilized for better tasks which BI is incapable of doing.

BI tools assist in validating the data and create a consistent master data, thus assuring authentic information and helps in achieving the competitive advantage

The numbers that assist in decision making are in the form of relations. For example:
1. Trend analysis of customer behaviour
2. Frequency of sales per customer
3. Analysis of credit period with the market
4. Conversion Ratio
5. Gross Margin
6. Cost and Revenue Analysis

Such analysis can easily be done by Business Intelligence. BI tools assist in validating the data and create a consistent master data, thus assuring authentic information. Generating a sales number cannot give you decision assisting results, but sales with respect to date (periodical time durations) acquaints you with the trend (upswings, down swings, seasons etc) and there on a predictive analysis can be done. Time Period is one simple dimension for such measures.

Key advantages of BI are:

1. Assurance for quality of data and authenticity
of information
2. Faster Decision making process
3. Automated near real time results
4. One data source, thus having all the employees and departments on the same page
5. Capitalizing on manpower for what they are capable of

By using technology, a win-win situation for the organization can be created. The team can extract crucial insights from the dashboards. It can relate all the charts and graphs on a click and generate revolutionary insights for the decision maker. The decision makers get a micro as well as a macro picture of the organization. Such an implementation of technology propagates a healthy work environment and promotes brain storming and now employees can deploy their time in strategizing.

There are open-source self serviced and cloud tools for BI, making the financial aspect no more a barrier for SMEs and Start-ups. Unveil the expanse of mystifying business data on your own. Monitor the business health. There is an opportunity loss decision makers have to bear with delayed results. Get right information at the right time; act fast. With this simple statement you can achieve competitive advantage.