Business intelligence may be best defined as a bundle of sensitive information collected to aid the company management evolve appropriate strategies to combat competition and increase market share.
Components of Business Intelligence
The various types of information that constitute business intelligence may be broadly listed as:
Market Analysis Reports – to meet people in the marketplace and obtain from them the public perception of one’s business image and product range as also the general market opinion about competitor’s products/ services.
Customer Feedback Reports – To meet the regular customers and ascertain from them feed back information about the company’s products/ services and what further improvements the customers expect.
Competitor Activities – This is basically commercial spying. It is necessary to know what are the competitor’s present activities and probable future plans.
Technology Upgrade – It is necessary to keep one’s business updated about the technological advancements taking place so that the company’s products do not become obsolete.
Government policies – Frequenting the corridors of power trying to fathom the likely policies of the government particularly regarding the industry the company’s business pertains to.
Processing Intelligence Information
Most companies have both in-house staff as well as hired external agencies to gather pertinent information from diverse sources.
The information thus gathered will then be cross-verified, properly edited, categorized, analyzed and presented to the company management to make suitable policy changes. Business Intelligence will also be used as a business tool to work out future business strategies to outwit the competitor.
Positive Aspects of Business Intelligence
Business Intelligence activity is carried out not merely to improve a company’s sales and market standing. The business intelligence team is quite often asked to also gather information about the goings-on within the company to determine any improvements needed. The in-house intelligence report may also cover staff attitude and behavior so that suitable HR policy changes can be undertaken.
If business intelligence is done in an effective manner, a company can revise many of its present policies, plan afresh for future developments, introduce products for which there is market demand and generally work towards greater efficiency leading to increased productivity. Once the company is able to positively use all the intelligence findings, then whatever money is spent on gathering intelligence information will be money well-spent.
Another positive aspect of business intelligence is it helps companies to appreciate their customers needs better, and be in a position to make more informed marketing decisions. Business intelligence team is also expected to alert the company management about any impending bad developments that might affect the company’s fortunes. This type of advance information will prepare companies to overcome problems with greater ease.
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