Analytics to Track the Future
BI solutions are also helping the publishing industry as it works to find its way in these digital times. Online retailer CyberRead fine-tunes its offerings of more than 100,000 downloadable ebooks with a BI system from Analytix On Demand.
CyberRead offers titles in several ebook formats for hundreds of reading devices, spanning a range of genres and authors. The staggering amount of business performance data created an information bottleneck or two before the company found its BI solution.
"I need to know what's selling and what's not, and what parts of the business are growing so I can focus my resources there," says CyberRead GM Clint Brauer. "I also need to spend my time running the business, not running calculations. I was doing some analysis manually, and had several distinct systems, each crunching different sets of numbers, but nothing really worked together."
The Analytix On Demand program automatically analyzes data from every area of the business, consolidating information from various sources such as Google Analytics into one dashboard. "Now I can see what products are selling best and which distribution channels are most effective. The insight helped me see that the publishing side of CyberRead, which I hadn't been paying much attention to, was actually the fastest-growing segment of the business," says Brauer. "I was leaving a lot of money on the table by not realizing the relative value of one distribution channel over the others."
Trended historical data gathered and analyzed by Analytix On Demand helped Brauer decide which ebook formats were most valuable to business, helping him move from 10 formats to the four most profitable.
These days, any discussion of the future must include social software, a unique platform for agile BI-based actions. "Social software allows users to tag assumptions made in the decision-making process to the BI framework," says Kurt Schlegel, research VP at Gartner, Inc.
"For example, in deciding how much to invest in marketing a new product, users can tag the assumptions they made about the future sales of that product to a key performance indicator (KPI) that measures product sales," he explains.
"The BI platform could then send alerts to the user when the KPI surpassed a threshold so that the decision makers know when an assumption made in the decision-making process no longer holds true. This approach dramatically improves the business value of BI because it ties all the good stuff BI delivers (e.g., analytical insights, KPIs) directly to decisions made in the business."
When effectively integrated into processes, BI can help an organization meet many mission-critical goals: saving lives, delivering appropriate medical interventions with the early identification of possible epidemics, directing and improving countless workflow processes, advancing corporate goals including sustainability management, enhancing sales outcomes, increasing customer satisfaction, and improving the return on investment.
In this era of trimmed-down business operations and "doing more with less," interactive intelligence provides an effective resource for extending support throughout the organizational structure. Today more than ever, BI can't sit idly in a dashboard; it must be integrated into workflow, enabling employees to take action.
Companies Featured in This Article:
Analytix on Demand
BP Logix, Inc.
Google Flu Trends
The Grateful Dead
Moulton Logistics Management
Warner Music Group