Business intelligence: The key to agility

The business world is one replete with buzzwords, trending terms that seem to appear out of nowhere and either become absorbed into the general lexicon, or disappear into the ether. A good example of recent years – and one which seems likely to stay – is agility.

Agility boils down to an organisation's capability to read the changing tide of the market in which they operate, and how quickly they can adapt their own operations to take advantage of new innovations. Intuitive technologies and streamlined workflows are regularly being developed, so those businesses that capitalise on the latest advances can generate a significant competitive advantage. 

Business intelligence solutions are one such technology. The collection and analysis of operational data – as well as any additional information relevant to individual industries – allows organisations to examine the past and derive insight that helps them to strategise for the future.

Businesses that capitalise on the latest innovations can generate a significant competitive advantage.

The path to greater agility

Before trying to increase your organisation's level of agility, it's worth educating yourself about the key ingredients. According to McKinsey & Company, evolving into an efficient and adaptable organisation depends chiefly on two factors.

"Agility needs two things. One is a dynamic capability, the ability to move fast – speed, nimbleness, responsiveness," says McKinsey's Aaron De Smet.

"And agility requires stability, a stable foundation – a platform, if you will – of things that don't change."

The central tenet of running an agile business is adapting, making decisions quickly in response to an array of unpredictable variables. Despite technology allowing organisations to speed up many processes and procedures, there are a number of areas that seem to have slowed in recent times.

Take the hiring of new employees, for example. Fortune Magazine research indicated that the recruitment and onboarding process took an average of three weeks longer in 2015 than in 2010. Whatever the reasons for this slowdown, it's a critical decision-making process that is becoming stagnant.

Business intelligence solutions can help guide your organisation through change.Business intelligence solutions can help guide your organisation through change.

Following the two tenets outlined by McKinsey above, in order to generate the speed and responsiveness of an agile organisation, businesses need access to a solid base of consistent, usable information. More and more companies are turning towards business intelligence solutions to gain that stable footing – Gartner indicates that statistical analysis, predictive modeling and decision-optimisation technologies are being widely embraced. 

Speeding up decision-making with business intelligence

There are obviously a number of challenges facing businesses today. In its 2016 CEO Survey, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) identified the two most pressing as understanding what customers value – 63 per cent of respondents – and changing direction – 61 per cent.

Businesses need access to a solid base of consistent, usable information.

The two issues are inextricably linked; if you can gain greater understanding of your customers' desires, your organisation can change direction to meet them. On the flip side, any changes to internal operations should ultimately be made with the goal of delivering a better service to customers. The biggest problem in the pre-digital era was gauging customer experience and sentiment to highlight where operations could be improved, but modern data analysis tools are designed for precisely that purpose.

By implementing business intelligence and analytics tools, any organisation can rapidly develop a much clearer perspective on their customer experience and operational processes, and devise strategies to optimise the two areas. Solutions such as Qlik present intuitive self-serve analytics that help businesses adapt to patterns with much greater agility, and make decisions with confidence and speed.

As Australia's leading certified Qlik solutions provider, AtoBI is dedicated to assisting businesses throughout their business intelligence journey. Getting in touch with the team will be the easiest decision your organisation makes today.