How Intelligent Businesses Use Business Intelligence

While BI is a modern term, business intelligence has been helping companies stand up to significant organizational challenges for decades.

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By Kartik Anand

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In 2010, Coca-Cola had a coup of sorts when they managed massive resource cost savings using business intelligence for their sales data. The brand was struggling with integrating data from 74 unique bottlers' databases, disparate in their capabilities and analytical tools and spread across the country. The company needed to generate sales reports, plan production output and streamline the supply chain. There was no way they could employ a manual data entry resource to get this varied data from all sources, put it in an excel sheet and compute the data needed for further production planning.

The strategy? They ensured that these 74 bottling facilities stopped using legacy tools and software and got an integrated BI application to work at every source.

The result? automated manual reporting processing that saved them over six workweeks a year, proneness to human error that could throw the whole marketing and production strategy into disarray, and of course ⁠— cost savings.

Related: Why You Should Hire a Smaller Digital Marketing Agency

More business support than BI

While this is a study in management upgrade for technology, parallels can be drawn even today to the amount of simplicity, accuracy and agility BI can impart to all business processes ⁠— and especially to marketing. It can automate tasks, helping in optimizing resources, costs and efficiency at all levels within the organization and refine all processes, leading to an overall increase in productivity and growth across the organization.

The intelligence required for the success of marketing plans could be internal data or for customer planning. There is no shortage of external data sources, with social media and net-based information sources being in surfeit. Sometimes, the excess and over-information becomes a challenge to handle. That is where BI comes into use. Its agile analytics and deep analytical abilities can help in a swift and accurate data insight process. Once the insights are utilized for making targeted, customized marketing solutions, BI tools can also analyze and measure their impact, guiding the success or failure of the strategy.

This feedback can start a cycle of intelligent marketing decision-making, setting marketing goals that have little chance of failure.

Related: Why Every Entrepreneur Should Build Their Own Marketing Agency

Meeting compliance requirements

An important factor often overlooked in business data requirements is its ability to meet compliances and data centralization. This is a challenge most organizations face, as data residing in different repositories can create difficulties in integrating it for analysis on one platform. BI-led data processes eliminate this challenge, allowing all data to be uniform and readily available for single-point analytics. This also takes care of compliance needs since the data privacy activity has become a single-step process now.

Martech rules marketing budgets

The Gartner CMO Spend Survey 2019-2020, with more than 340 marketing decision-makers from North America and the U.K, states that martech spending stood at 26% of the marketing budget in 2019. This was about 10% less than the previous year, indicating that technology had been bought and was now being integrated and adopted in organizations.

Marketing budgets hovered at 11% of company revenue in 2019-2020, and has been slashed further to 6.5% in 2021, but Martech has taken 26.6% of it. This indicates that technology investment in Martech has worked well. BI, a significant contender, clearly has showcased its value since 76% of the CMOs in this report agree that data and analytics tools have been their most important investments.

In addition to detailing market preferences, BI tools also help in digital marketing spending and ROI analysis, enabling marketing teams to benchmark against peer spending and their traction with the market.

As tech-driven processes go, a balanced combination of internal intelligence and marketing intelligence, which constitutes BI, is undoubtedly a great tool in the marketer's hands to improve the efficacy of their marketing processes, insights and decisions.

Related: The 7 New Business Values in the Era of Artificial Intelligence

Kartik Anand

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Executive Chairman of KGV

Kartik Anand is the founder and executive chairman of Kings Group Ventures, an international management group with a global footprint consisting of diversified partnerships, acquisitions, and strategic alliances. He owns and manages multiple companies for over 4000 people.

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