There’s good reason for analysts putting growth in the business intelligence market in double figures and surging to a value of over US$29 billion by 2020: it delivers real value to an increasingly broad cross section of businesses (in fact, Forbes says small businesses have the highest rate of BI adoption in 2018!) But just precisely what can Microsoft’s contender, Power BI, do for your company? Check out these five common problems that this powerful solution can address.
1. Performance Management (get some)
Many small businesses don’t (yet) have any formal performance management in place. With Power BI, you can change that, and fast. Because it provides access to meaningful analysis and reporting by analysing your company’s data, Power BI helps you make well-informed and insightful, long-term strategic and tactical decisions quickly and efficiently. And Power BI’s presentation of analysis, scenarios and forecasts is strongly visual, making performance management something you’ll want to engage with.
Using it, you can establish and then track KPIs, gain insight into your company’s performance and identify new opportunities. And you’ll have the hard data to hand to know how your business is performing now, rather than when it’s too late to take meaningful action.
2. Understand your markets, now
Got a ton of products? Are they supposed to be fast-moving? Do you know if they are moving…at all? Power BI helps you rapidly and easily (read: visually) appreciate where demand is coming from and what for. By knowing what the market is purchasing, you can gear the business to meet that demand. You could also look to stimulate demand on those items which aren’t moving as quickly as they should. Insights like demand in different locations, products regularly purchased together, demographic data, and more, can all combine to drive an improved capacity to respond to the market.
Being able to do this with immediacy means that when the end of the month, quarter or year rolls around, you don’t find yourself stuck with a lot of unsold stock. It also means a greater probability of a profitable period.
3. Retain customers
It’s hard (and expensive) work getting customers on board…and signing up new ones is almost always more difficult than keeping existing customers happy. Power BI gives you the tools to understand your customers’ behaviour by examining multiple metrics and ‘events’. Create detailed profiles that include interests, preferences, history; use this information to anticipate needs, target special offers or particular services, build long-term relationships. And if certain customer behaviours provide hints that all is not well, Power BI can help identify those who might be dissatisfied so you can do something to retain those customers, before they walk right out the door.
One of the most commonly-encountered ‘canaries in the coal mine’ for companies which can’t seem to transition from ‘small business’ to medium or even large, is the humble spreadsheet. Now don’t get us wrong, we love Excel as much as the next guy. But when you have a complex business being run with multiple isolated spreadsheets and reports, containing financial data, sales figures, production numbers and who-knows-what-else, it becomes a spaghetti mess of data. Figuring it all out and knowing exactly what’s going on becomes difficult or impossible.
Not with Power BI. By pulling together all data, contextualising it and then presenting it in a visually appealing, easily understood dashboard, you can take control of operations everywhere and know, at a glance, how the company is tracking. With a single, centralised (and shared, if that’s needed) location for all KPIs, performance metrics and company numbers, keeping track of things is suddenly made easy.
5. Don’t miss the next opportunity
Probably one of the biggest potential benefits Power BI can give your business is to help recognise new opportunities and take advantage of them. By analysing the data you already have, the tool can alert you to any manner of trends or opportunities. What’s more, because the tool is designed for sharing, it means the ability to put numbers to the most important decision-makers of all – your people. Presented with easy to understand, easy to engage with information, your people can apply their minds to come up with great ideas.
And then there’s the power of scenario analysis, or ‘what if’ modelling. This lets you explore possibilities without consequences (and its brand new in Power BI, out this August).
Using Power BI, you can identify and explore opportunities which can give you the competitive edge