The vital role business plays in the business intelligence equation

As organizations continue turning their attention to technology advancements, to maintain some form of ‘business as usual’, there has never been a greater need for companies to truly understand the data they hold, and how to interpret it. Phillip Smith, the chief architect at workplace data analytics firm Tiger, explains more.
As organizations continue turning their attention to technology advancements, to maintain some form of ‘business as usual’, there has never been a greater need for companies to truly understand the data they hold, and how to interpret it. Phillip Smith, the chief architect at workplace data analytics firm Tiger, explains more.

For years, large and small enterprises have been sat on millions of pieces of insight from every phone call they’ve made, email sent, or screen shared. And the result? They’ve either not done anything to unlock their data – because they didn’t know they could – or have struggled to understand what they should do when they extract it, or even how to apply it to impact their bottom line positively.

That is until now. For many firms operating in today’s fast-paced world, they’ve had no option but to accelerate the adoption of analytics software to ensure they’re not being left behind. Digital transformation alone continues to evolve at a rapid pace and is now said to be years ahead of its time as a direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

And where data might be expected to be a ‘given’ in certain businesses – such as telephony-based or digital-first companies – there is, in fact, a wide range of sectors tapping into the powers of data and business intelligence (BI) and what it can help to uncover in an operational sense.

For example, in the healthcare industry, many managers will be confidently making decisions based on evidence they’ve extracted from their dashboards – identifying patterns concerning the need for additional training, senior staff deployment, and a focus on employee engagement.

In the same way, insurance firms can trigger data alerts to help capture bogus callers – and stop them in their tracks before a fraudulent claim results in thousands of pounds lost – and education facilities are able to better understand student engagement issues, boost staff wellbeing, and the success of online teaching methods.

Utilizing data in a way that tells the bigger picture

Years ago, none of that wouldn’t have been possible. However, following the acceleration of technological advancements, these sectors – and more – are plugging in intuitive solutions to make vast operational improvements and subsequently move their business beyond the pandemic. They’re making informed, business-critical decisions based entirely on their own evidence, and no-one else’s assumptions.

So, in a world with so much insight at everyone’s fingertips – and when one phone call can generate around 600 pieces of data alone – how do company leaders know if the data they possess is being utilized in the right way?

The truth is, organizations could have an array of technology complete with a flashing dashboard full of statistics and percentages. However, if this insight is not applied to their own business’s context – much like earlier sector examples– their investment is completely useless.

Yes, a telephony provider can supply raw data that tells somebody when a call happened, how long it lasted, the extension number, and the quality of the call, but the challenge comes when making sense of it all.

Organizations must be prepared to combine their own business data with the insight their BI provides. Once the context is added in, better decisions can be made that result in a more positive financial and operational impact.

Applying insight is important – but it shouldn’t be done in isolation

For example, suppose an emergency services call centre’s data records its busiest hours, who answered specific calls and more. In that case, managers can then place this detail alongside what exactly was happening in their organization at that time. Combining that information provides a bigger picture, and leaders can begin to answer certain questions such as, ‘why were calls taking longer than usual?’ and ‘who was on shift at that time and how can we help them get up to speed?’

When trends emerge, effective decisions can be made and backed up by evidence. In the above example, it could’ve been that an inexperienced member of staff was taking the calls and therefore they require additional training and further support to help them and their development.

This isn’t a case of having a ‘Big Brother’ solution tracking everybody’s movements though. It’s about having critical detail to hand so, when it’s applied to an enterprise’s own context, it can result in dedicated, individualized decisions that improve a business’s performance – whether enhancing its customer call experience or providing a greater focus on employee wellbeing.

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To make smart decisions that not only bolster productivity but have a positive impact on the business’s financials, the challenge managers must now overcome is how to ensure their technology investments offer value, support, and evidence. BI collects, stores, and analyses data after all, and should never be used in isolation. It’s not there to make the decisions or offer actionable insights, that’s down to the human interpreting them.

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Phillip Smith

Phillip Smith is the chief architect at workplace data analytics firm Tiger