One of the reasons Starbucks does so well is because it uses plenty of business intelligence. Source: Shutterstock

One of the reasons Starbucks does so well is because it uses plenty of business intelligence. Source: Shutterstock

Why investing in business intelligence tools helps customers

BUSINESS intelligence tools collect data from a variety of company interfaces such as point-of-sale terminals, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and even marketing databased to paint a fuller picture of operations and customers.

Usually, insights are used to help business owners and managers make better decisions about the future of the company. However, when it is used to feed insights to front-end staff, it can also improve the customer experience.

Take niche cafés for example. Baristas often greet customers by name and have records of their birthdays which provides a great experience.

The corporate office, on the other hand, is able to collect data about how many customers visit every hour and highlight peak hours so that store managers can better prepare and ensure that queue length and wait times don’t increase so significantly that they drive customers away.

However, the thing about business intelligence is that before any data can be fed into it, managers and business leaders need to get creative about what they expect to use the data to do.

Of course, having sufficient data is vital to determining the accuracy and completeness of any analyses, but the quality of data is more important when creating insights.

For example, in the case of a café, if every food item sold is recorded as a customer transaction, the footfall to the store will be recorded incorrectly — and directly impact the estimation of peak hours.

Truth be told, there are many factors that can influence data quality but businesses need to understand how and which data will help the organization and then think of how they can get a hold of that data.

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, humans respond to and process visual data better than any other type of data.

So, it is in the interest of business leaders to transform data from business intelligence software into visuals, for better understanding across the organization.

Having store managers see pie charts or histograms to showcase what items are sold quickest, what items are demanded at lunchtime, and what drinks are ordered in bulk call make a big impact and be immediately factored into their decision-making process.

In the digital era, businesses need to use technology and data more accurately — and think out of the box when it comes to using data effectively. Business intelligence tools make it easier to do this, while serving a larger organizational goal to accelerate the journey to digital.