Restaurant managers may feel that they don’t have enough time to pursue advanced business intelligence (BI) analytics. In this article, we introduce different concepts concerning business intelligence and provide easy steps for getting started. n-a
It’s not easy running a small business or managing your company through a growth phase. You’re so busy trying to stay on top of everything that you probably don’t have time to look at adding another technology solution. However, failing to formally incorporate business intelligence (BI) and analytics into your organization might put your company at an insurmountable disadvantage versus competitors. With dramatic improvements to BI tools in recent years, what is keeping you from adopting data-driven decision making?

What Is BI or Business Intelligence?
The term business intelligence refers to the technologies used by enterprises for the data analysis of business information. Any tool that helps you interpret data to identify trends or insights qualifies as a BI tool.

Do You Need “Big Data” for Successful BI?
As with most technology, there are a lot of buzzwords surrounding BI and data analytics. “Big data” unfortunately is one of these terms and has likely contributed to many companies choosing to pass on developing their data capabilities. Terms like this conjure up images of vast data centers with dedicated IT departments managing massive infrastructure.

Businesses of all sizes use data to make decisions on a daily basis, whether from point-of-sale systems, accounting systems, spreadsheets, scheduling systems, etc. When combined, all of this data provides valuable insight into a company.

Should You Use Self-Serve BI Tools?
In recent years there has been an explosion of self-serve BI tools. Many of these tools are excellent and reasonably priced for businesses of all sizes. However, you should avoid mistaking a BI tool for a BI strategy. Companies lacking analytics experience often rush into deploying the latest BI tool, and in the process, they start drawing the wrong conclusions from their data. BI is not a one-off activity to be performed intermittently - it is a valuable insight that should be incorporated into your business processes.

Organize Data With Business Intelligence Software
Problematic data is probably one of the harder issues to address. If you have old, legacy systems, like an old ERP or HR database, at some point you will need to face the issue that it’s just not easy to access this data. Don’t be dismayed - almost every business of every size has this problem. Data is going to be hidden away in many places, including spreadsheets and even filing cabinets. Since this is such a common issue, many expert firms can help sort out access to this information.

Is it worth the effort to incorporate these old systems? Yes! Business intelligence is most powerful when data is analyzed from different sources, especially when we uncover insights that we didn’t realize were there in the first place.

Use Business Intelligence and Analytics to Improve Your Business
The good news is that you don’t need to make a huge investment to benefit from BI and analytics. Just look for a firm, or software program, specializing in BI who can help you build a data strategy, integrate data, and develop BI reporting tools. Insist on working with a company that can deliver results relatively quickly - any project taking longer than a month should be viewed with some skepticism. Also, make sure to start small with a particular business issue you’re looking to address.

BI and analytics are incredibly powerful technologies that companies of all sizes can take advantage of. If your business is not one of them, perhaps it’s time to ask why.