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The Role of Business Intelligence in Strategic Business Planning

The global economy has taken a big knock the past year, and businesses that have managed to survive are now looking for ways to leverage technological innovations to get ahead. One of the leading innovations is Business Intelligence software which is aiding strategic planning in business. Here’s how.


What is Business Intelligence?

First things first, you need to understand the terminology! Business Intelligence – BI – is software that consolidates business data into actionable insights that allow companies to make informed business decisions. Using BI tools, businesses are able to access and analyse data through reports, graphs, dashboards, charts, summaries and maps.


What is strategic business planning?

This is an organisational management activity used by businesses to prioritise processes, and to focus skills and resources in a way that strengthens operations. This ensures that everyone – from management to entry-level employees – are all working towards a common goal.

Read More: How to build a successful Business Intelligence strategy?

How do the two work together?

Effectively, BI provides you with the relevant data to inform decisions related to your business planning approach. This can be done in a number of ways.


–          Get market insights

You can use the BI software to garner useful data on your competitors through data analysis and metrics. By understanding what’s working for your competitors, you’re able to identify whether you’re implementing the same techniques, or if you need to try a different approach. This BI will also let you know what you’re doing right that your competitors might be missing out on, allowing you to leverage this by enhancing key performance areas in your business planning.


–          Get customer insight

Empowered with this market intelligence, your business is also able to identify trends in customer practices, such as buying patterns, customer behaviour and potential bottlenecks. With customers being core to business operations, it’s imperative that such useful data be incorporated into any strategic business planning to enhance customer experience and improve Return on Investment.


–          Streamline marketing

An effective marketing campaign is key to any business plan, which is why Business Intelligence has become so crucial in helping organisations expand their footprint. Through BI you’re able to evaluate your marketing spend, and determine which avenues the budget should go towards, whether it’s mobile marketing, social media marketing, online campaigns, print, radio or television marketing – maximise on your best efforts. You can also use this opportunity to drop what isn’t working. Even if it was effective in the past, marketing strategies have drastically revolutionised and you’ll need to keep up.


–          Faster decision-making

It’s important that any strategic business planning takes the most up-to-date, relevant information into account. There’s absolutely no point using old data, particularly in light of the drastic changes and upheaval wreaked by the Covid-19 pandemic. Using BI tools, you’re able to access the latest business data through reports, charts and graphs, thereby ensuring your business plan is working off sound information.


–          Better sales’ strategies

If your business is in sales, then using BI for strategic business planning is a must! Through this useful data visualisation, your sales’ team is able to see – in real time – where business is performing better so that sales’ numbers can be analysed, the sales’ budget accurately planned and company targets met.


–          BI for human resources

We’ve outlined a number of ways that BI can help with strategic business planning for all external operations, but you mustn’t overlook how it can enhance business planning internally as well. From a human resources’ perspective, BI is able to effectively analyse data related to your employee leave, employee turnover and employee performance. This empowers you to make the relevant changes, such as implanting training programmes or a rewards’ incentive to improve employee performance.


–          BI for inventory and finances

Other internal operations that can be suitably enhanced through BI are tracking inventory and supply chain operations for much more effective strategizing, as well as preparing accurate financial reports and budgetary oversight.

Read More: BI and the Finance Industry


–          Saving on time and money

At the end of it all, BI is a useful tool for saving you both time and money in strategic business planning. You don’t need to waste precious resources on data collection, analysis and visualisation – it’s all done for you. And when you’re working with professionals like Canvas Intelligence, a business intelligence company,  you’re benefitting from ongoing guidance and support using industry-specific software. Put your company in position to perform with BI software.

Read More: Business Intelligence adoption and implementation strategies