BI stands for Business Intelligence and is the process of transforming data into information and then using the acquired knowledge to implement the right actions for the organization. For a financial manager within an organization, Business Intelligence is tremendously valuable. A powerful BI tool enables you to present the data clutter in a clear way and take decisions that help the business move forward. The CFO (and actually everyone in the organization) should therefore embrace Business Intelligence.
As soon as you grab a management report of the printer and the ink has not dried up yet, the information is already outdated. Business does not stand still and information is changing continuously. Therefore, it's important to look at real-time data. With Business Intelligence solutions, this is possible. Convenient, custom-made reports that are always up to date. Do not lag behind events with a stack of paper work, but take decisions based on complete and correct information.
Visually presented data
As a CFO, you are probably great with numbers, but all those numbers can be very boring and difficult to interpret. Not just for you, but certainly for your colleagues as well. Presenting the information in charts, tables or even complete dashboards with KPIs makes it much more intriguing and it enables you to draw conclusions from the numbers much faster. In addition, visually presented information is memorized much better by your audience.
The bulk of data stored in your system has little value as long as you do not use it. The objective is to turn data into information and convert information into insights. With the correct BI tool you can give meaning to data. But you need to be aware that the BI tool is only the means to get answers to your questions, but asking the right questions is a completely different challenge.
As economist Ronald Coase once said, "If you torture the data long enough, it will confess." Do not give up when you do not immediately get the insights you are looking for. Data contains a wealth of information; you just need to find out how to get to valuable insights.
Philip van Kemenade is marketer at Dysel and is in contact with software end users every day.