Business intelligence - or BI - is a term used for a number of approaches that are designed to gather, store, analyse and provide access to meaningful and insightful data. This data, in turn, is used to make better fact-based business decisions for the benefit of a business.
Business Intelligence Software
BI software can be built into broader operational management platforms for greater functionality - such as an Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP), for instance. The combined force of an ERP system with built in BI capabilities gives users the insight they need into how operational matters may affect their businesses on a commercial and strategic level.
Putting it simply, BI software gives an all round view of a firm and improves insight.
Project-based ERP for Dummies
Business Intelligence Components
So, how does it do it?
Business Intelligence software stores and processes information within its five separate components:
- Data: Facts and figures, statistics and records. They mount up in any company. This data is stored in a variety of applications, databases and spreadsheets encompassing accounting, time and expenses, sales, human resources, customer relationship management, budgeting, etc.
- Metadata: The BI system take this huge vault of data and sorts it so that it becomes meaningful information as well as the particular analytics a company needs to identify trends and make sound, profitable business decisions.
- Report-authoring interface: From there, report structures and user interfaces are created via the system's graphic user interface to fit the needs of the firm's employees.
- Consumer interface: The consumer interface is the part of the application that most people will see and use. It should be highly accessible, user-friendly and efficient. This component should empower users to quickly and cleanly run the reports they want.
- Administrator interface: This closed facility allows the system administrator to secure data, control the environment and monitor use.
Who Uses Business Intelligence?
For analysts, directors and stakeholders; BI systems provide the means to take company data and convert it into significant information and analytics. It also supports the setting and measuring of the key performance indicators (KPIs) needed to grow their firms.
Tweet it: 'Mastering project KPIs with business intelligence software'
Key Performance Indicators
Here are the top five business and project KPIs and how BI can be used to master them:
Profitability is the ultimate measure of a firm's success.
A BI platform will be able to assess profitability trends across contract, project and sector type to make it possible to identify and pursue the business with the best return.
Revenue growth is a clear indicator of business performance.
From analysing profit and loss data along with project specific metrics, teams are able to understand whether revenues really are increasing steadily or if current positive results are an aberration.
How much billable work remains incomplete is an indicator of a firm's “backlog”.
To ensure backlog is reduced, project managers may turn to their BI software to keep track of project milestones and schedules.
4. Resource utilisation
Resource utilisation refers to the number of hours actually worked by a resource or group of resources as a percentage of their availability for a given period.
Using a BI platform to obtain an accurate calculation relies on converting time sheet and productivity data as well as working hours assigned per employee.
5. Projects at risk
Essentially the "projects at risk" KPI will provide a calculation showing how closely projected deliverables match the actual deliverable.
Any variance regarding billable time, costs and resources used will be revealed. Significant project schedule variance will show clear evidence of failures in planning or inefficient operations.
BI For A Growth Focused Business
Extracting the right and precise information from your business systems is critical for making informed, fact-based business decisions and set growth focused KPIs. A tailor-made project-based ERP with integrated BI functionality will cover every basis when looking to improve insight on both a strategic and operational basis. Does your management system have the scope you need for growth?
Understanding ERP - Introduction Series
- What Is ERP And Why Do Businesses Use It?
- The Five Components Of ERP Software And Their Individual Powers
- Project ERP vs Generic ERP - Just What Is The Difference?
- Using A Project ERP System To Plan A Project
- How To Make Time Recording Easier With Project ERP
- 7 ERP Terms Every Project Manager Should Know
- 6 Fundamental Questions Your Project ERP System Can Answer
Find out more about business intelligence software, project based ERP and setting KPIs for growth in the free guide 'Project Based ERP for Dummies’.
Project-based ERP for Dummies