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Top 3 Benefits of BI Reporting

The basis of any solid data strategy is business intelligence (BI) reporting and analytics, as this is how users throughout the workforce connect with key data insights.

Here are the top three benefits of better BI reporting within the modern enterprise.

Increases Data-Driven Decision-Making

Data-driven decision-making involves harnessing relevant data insights to effectively address performance challenges and objectives. How an enterprise handles BI reporting influences which decision-makers are able to query data for insights —when, and in what format. This makes it a crucial part of any data-led decision-making strategy.

As MIT Sloan Management Review outlines, a data-driven decision-making process typically looks something like this:

  1. Identify possible courses of action.
  2. Determine what data will help evaluate the pros and cons of these courses of action, then rank them.
  3. Choose the best path forward according to what the data says.

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Driving decisions with data helps eliminate a lot of human error and biases that may otherwise make their way into the process and compromise outcomes. It also helps make decision-makers aware of the robust array of factors in play when making a decision, particularly because self-service BI lets people keep drilling down beyond surface level analysis of metrics. In other words, it helps decision-makers figure out why things are happening.

Enables Faster Decision-Making

According to survey data from McKinsey, less than half of survey respondents (48 percent) believe their organizations make decisions quickly. This points to the underlying need for companies across industries and sectors to find a way to do so.

Even the biggest, brightest “aha!” moment is only useful if it’s timely. Few things are more frustrating than receiving a report containing insights that would have been useful a week/month/year ago — which is what can often happen if reports must be requested by business users, generated by a data team qualified to navigate siloed data storage and then finally delivered.

A major advantage of self-service BI reporting, then, is enabling faster decisions by connecting users directly with data. Without the need to jump over hurdles to access different sources, thanks to platforms that bring them all together, users today can often get insights in seconds or minutes. This primes them to “strike while the iron is hot,” as they say.

Facilitates a Data-Forward Company Culture

Some would argue that companies with strong data cultures forge these from the top down, and they would be partially correct. However, organizations must also have the tools to support these initiatives from the bottom up — or else no amount of evangelizing data and encouraging employees to embrace it will really change how things are done.

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A truly effective data-driven culture has support from the top, a clear implementation strategy and tools that are accessible to the people trying to routinely make decisions. As noted by experts for Harvard Business Review, when regular users are “starved of information,” it hinders the development of a data-forward culture. Helping users take full advantage of the BI reporting tools available to them also may require timely, relevant training to keep increasing data fluency at every level.

Put simply: BI tech fuels culture, while culture simultaneously fuels BI tech usage. Getting both parts of this equation right helps companies go beyond just using data — it helps them reap the competitive advantages of becoming data genuine leaders and innovators within their sectors.

BI reporting fuels more — and better — decision-making that’s driven by data, as well as speeding up the time to insight for users. It also helps foster a data-driven company culture, which influences how companies regard data, communicate about it and incorporate it into their strategies.