Category: Business Intelligence

Business intelligence made easy

When you think business intelligence, you likely think about charts and graphs that reveal valuable data about your customers, profits, and operations. While these may be simple enough for some to understand, what if you could simplify your data even more? A new innovation in the business intelligence world may have just made this a possibility. Here’s what you need to know.

Earlier this week, the Chicago-based company, Narrative Science, integrated with the business intelligence and visualization software company, Qlik. The fruit of this integration is a new way of looking at your data beyond your standard charts and graphs. Yes, charts and graphs are still used, but now there is a new element that comes into play: story. Qlik now enables businesses to take the data on their charts and graphs and automatically turn it into a narrative that will explain the most important and relevant points of their data. These stories are presented in easily understood, natural language and can be personalized to the audience who is reading them. For example, if you want to change the format, language style or detail of the story, you can easily adjust these.

How storytelling can help with business intelligence

While charts and graphs are easy to read for people who are regularly looking at them, there can be a learning curve for those who are new to the specific set of data they’re analyzing. And when you are presenting a series of charts and graphs to a group of colleagues, it may be difficult for you to convey the data in an easily understandable way. This is why storytelling can be a vital tool with your business intelligence efforts.

Everyone can relate to a story. In fact people have been doing so since the stone age as evident by the carvings on cave walls depicting different tales. Today, all it takes is a simple click of your remote to see hundreds of different stories appear on your TV. Storytelling makes it easy to digest information for anyone. This is why both morals and ethics are often illustrated in parables or stories to convey their message. These stories that many of us heard from childhood, like the story of King Solomon who suggested cutting a living child in two to settle an argument or of King Midas and the golden touch, remain in the minds of many of us for a lifetime.

Stories stick in our brains. And they can make it easy to understand complex information, which can be especially helpful when it comes to data. This is why Qlik’s new data to story function sounds so exciting. It aims to make it easier to present data in a more user friendly way. This will hopefully save time and headaches for people trying to understand complex data. Of course, since it is so new, only time will tell what kind of impact it will have and whether or not it will live up to expectation.

Want more of the latest business intelligence news? Need help making sense out of your data, or looking for other ways new technology can help? Get in touch with our IT experts today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Making the most of Google Analytics

Understanding how your visitors are using your website is one of the most important things you can do to optimize your online presence and generate more leads and revenue. Google Analytics remains the top analytic tool, allowing you to keep track. Yet many companies tend to focus on the overall performance without taking the time to understand other key metrics that contribute to the end result. Here, we’ve compiled a list of Google Analytics’ metrics that are worth knowing about.

What exactly is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free website analytic product offered by Google. It is an application that collates visitor data from your website and provides basic statistics and analytical tools for search engine optimization (SEO). The data is used to generate reports that give you insights as to how your visitors are engaging with your website.

With Google Analytics, you can analyze your traffic to discover whether your target market is finding your website, how they’re finding it, and if they’re taking the actions you expect them to take while on your site. By tracking and analyzing your traffic you can increase the engagement and enhance your marketing strategies.

Google Analytics’ Key Metrics

Navigating Google Analytics can be mind-numbing, since you are likely to get lost in its many features, variables, and settings. Check out these basic key metrics that will help you analyze your website traffic.

Unique Visitors
Most people tend to confuse this metric with “Visits”. The Unique Visitors metric can give you an accurate number as to how much real traffic you receive on a daily basis because, unlike the Visits metric, it doesn’t solely rely on cookies to count. This means any of your visitors would be counted once, even if they cleared their computer of cookies.

Pageviews
The Pageviews metric should increase in direct proportion to the numbers shown in Unique Visitors. This metric represents how deep your unique visitors go into your website pages. If the percentage is low, your content may not be engaging enough to encourage visitors to explore the your website further than the home or landing page.

Bounce Rate
The Bounce Rate metric will tell you the percentage of visitors who left your website after viewing only one page. High bounce rates can mean that your website is not appealing to visitors in certain aspects such as the design, content, navigation, and so on. Tracking your website’s bounce rate will quickly help you identify things that are not working well on your website, so you can fix the problem accordingly and ensure you grab visitors’ attention from the first click.

Traffic Sources
This metric shows which sources drive the most and least traffic to your website. Generally there are four types of metrics: Referral, Direct, Organic Search, and Social.

  • Referral traffic – These visitors found your site via your off-page marketing efforts, such as backlinks and blog articles on other websites.
  • Direct traffic – These visitors are highly targeted, since they type your URL directly into their web browser.
  • Organic search – These visitors discover your site after searching a keyword in a search engine, usually from Google.
  • Social traffic – These visitors came from social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

These are the metrics that matter to tracking your website’s visitors. They consist of basic numbers that are easy to understand and interpret. Once you get a handle of these metrics, you can make your way to more advanced metrics that provider deeper level and more accurate insight.

For more tips on how to utilize your business data with Google Analytics, contact our specialists today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Your guide to smart BI planning

You have finally decided your small or medium-sized business is ready to utilize Business Intelligence (BI) software. This is a big step for your company and one that must be approached with diligence. If you are not careful the cost of BI software, not to mention training, could far outweigh the actual benefits you end up receiving. However, with thoughtful BI planning, you are likely to see results you would have never thought possible.

Quite a few business owners see other companies using BI software and tools successfully and hope to emulate those results. Unfortunately, BI goes far beyond installing a program on your employee’s computers and expecting them to churn out results because of it. In fact, without proper planning in place, you could end up losing money on your BI investment.

If you’re ready to bring BI software and tools to your small or medium-sized business but aren’t quite sure what your should be looking for, here are four things you need to consider during the planning process.

What data do you need to know

BI software is great at helping you obtain data and presenting it to you in all kinds of different ways. But it’s only helpful if you can actually use the information. Too many businesses jump on the BI software bandwagon because they hear about the great results other companies have achieved using these tools. However, if you don’t know what information you’re looking for or how to use that data to your advantage, BI software essentially becomes a toy for you and your staff to play with.

That’s why you need to fully understand what information and data your business needs before implementing any BI software. This will help you pick the best tool for your needs and then utilize it to great effect.

Create specific goals

When you are planning to implement BI software it is vital to have a specific endgame in mind. Increasing profits sounds great but it’s hard to utilize BI effectively when tackling a goal of that magnitude. Instead focus on performance metrics you can measure like higher closing rates or more online conversations. This will help make your planning easier and allow you to find the BI tools required to reach those goals as well as track your progress along the way.

Think about today and the future

It is important to not only think about BI software in correlation to your short term goals but your long term ones as well. You want to make sure your BI software is useful both now and in the future. Find something that can grow alongside your company over the long haul. You don’t want to constantly be changing or adding on to BI tools unless it is absolutely necessary. If possible, find BI solutions that are scalable and flexible so they can help over a longer period of time.

Keep it simple

Sometimes the desire to know more about your company can see you end up overloading your staff and employees with complex toolsets and data. The goal, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, should be data that is quickly accessible and easy to comprehend. This will allow you and your team to make speedy and informed decisions. Convoluting the process with unnecessary information or complicated process will only serve to negate what you are trying to do by installing BI software in the first place.

BI tools and software are designed to help you work smarter, not harder. When you plan to bring them to your company, this is something you will want to keep at the forefront of your decision making process.

If your company is looking to start utilizing BI tools, our team of experts can help. Together we can create a BI plan that works best for your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Banish 3 Common BI Myths

Business Intelligence (BI) has become a major aspect of business, as such, companies large and small are adopting implementing BI projects. The problem is, this can cause concern regarding job safety among other things. These “myths” can quickly spiral out of control and demoralize a whole office or company. In order for this not to happen, you should be aware of the common myths related to BI.

Myth #1: BI will replace experienced judgment Managers and users often perceive that a BI solution may replace or override their knowledge and experience for business decisions that affect their area of responsibility. The reality is that BI empowers decision making and leverages experience by providing supporting detail often otherwise missing. Critical to the success of any BI implementation is a common vision of how BI is going to improve business decisions.

Debunk Myth#1 with clear expectations and assurances that the value your employees experience will only be augmented with better information.

Myth #2: Users prefer to figure it out rather than receive training Even the simplest BI tool takes time and practice to help users make the most of the solution. Companies that don’t invest in training often end up wondering why no one uses the tool. The entire organization from top to bottom should receive some level of formal training to get full value from the BI solution. Allowing users to focus time and attention on learning how to use the BI solution will help with user adoption and acceptance.

Avoid Myth #2 by scheduling formal training – away from their regular job – that provides users with hands-on training. (But don’t make them work overtime to “penalize” them for training.)

Myth #3: Once the implementation is done, it’s done A BI project is not over simply because the application has been deployed. BI is an evolution that supports the change and growth of an organization. Start with highly visible and easy-to-implement projects so that people build confidence in its value and in using it. The more complex projects should be scheduled for implementation after familiarity and confidence have been sufficiently built.

The whole point is to leverage the organization’s information assets to new levels of utility and value, so that decision-making across the entire organization, from top to bottom, and with the organization’s external partners, is more effective and productive. Revisiting the uses of BI on a regular basis will ensure that the organization is making the most of their investment.

Debunk Myth #3 by incorporating BI as a strategic component of all business planning activities.

Let’s talk about what BI solution is right for your business. Call us today.