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business intelligence trends in distribution

3 Ways BI is Used to Foster Business Growth in Distribution

Business intelligence (BI) success in 2022 is steeped in information integration and collaboration, data literacy and storytelling, and providing ubiquitous access to data trends and insights via the cloud and mobility. Tapping into these business intelligence trends to grow your business from new and existing customers has never been easier now that complicated data correlations and trends can be surfaced and presented in a manner that’s approachable for all. It’s the fuel to drive improved decision-making and revenues.

Integrating Operations, People, and Data

Given today’s challenging business landscape, ever-changing markets, and the need for pandemic pivots, organizations are finding that siloed systems can severely stunt their growth.

While integration has been a hot topic for years, businesses are now walking the talk to ensure critical knowledge is liberated from silos to be shared across the organization.

Many robust systems integrate seamlessly with existing ERP, CRM, marketing, and sales automation systems. This can protect and magnify the significant investment organizations have made in their existing software vendors/relationships by improving the access and usability of key customer, product, and sales information.

Integrating operations, people, and data, BI is helping organizations:

  • Gain 360-degree views of customers by integrating a nimble BI system into existing essential systems
  • Customize dashboards and scorecards to combine insights across platforms to ensure employees drive and close sales
  • Keep teams producing with newfound agility by providing full access to business intelligence and more, whether they are onsite or remote

Integrating an industry-specific BI component provides a comprehensive view of each customer – preventing missed opportunities and uncovering unseen dotted lines through next-level interpretation of data. This highlights where your business is encountering wins and misses to guide decision-making and the next-best actions.

Data Literacy and Storytelling

What level of data literacy do your employees have? Can you discern key trends and patterns from that data that can inform your decision-making?

Data literacy and storytelling are vital for companies to aggregate data from myriad sources, find correlations, and provide reports, alerts, and dashboards so that the data is easily consumed by personnel across the organization – not just data analysts.

Business intelligence is about translating zeroes and ones into comprehensive narratives about your business performance.

Gartner defines data literacy as “the ability to read, write and communicate data in context.” Their experts project that by 2023, data literacy will become essential in driving business value. But while corralling data might be easy, evaluating and communicating around it is daunting. Only 21% of employees are confident in their data literacy skills.

As organizations champion data-driven environments and advancement in data literacy, implementing an easy-to-use BI platform accelerates this mission to help more employees access, understand and lean into sophisticated tools that tell complicated data-driven stories clearly and succinctly. Progressive BI platforms are easy to adopt and leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing to bring forth meaningful insights and interpretations of complex data.

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Imagine never having to stare again at a dizzying spreadsheet filled with black and white figures that make one’s eyes cross. Instead, BI programs today integrate and transform business data into consequential collections of information presented in an easily consumable and engaging presentation – generally highly visual in nature.

Data storytelling enables anyone – operations personnel, marketers, sales professionals, executives, and others – to quickly and easily review, interpret, understand and present the state of business operations, threats and opportunities to anyone. These can be displayed as infographics, interactive reports, soundbites, animations, and more. This enables business data to be formatted and shared in a highly digestible format in the board room, at team meetings, and even during sales calls.

3 Ways BI is Used to Foster Business Growth in Distribution

Cloud and Mobile

Another key business intelligence trend is leveraging cloud and mobile technologies. The pandemic drove the adoption of the remote workforce and cloud and mobile applications. And as we move forward, the shift to work from home appears here to stay. This makes cloud services and the ability to cater to the virtual workforce paramount. Gartner predicts that 40 percent of enterprise workloads will be deployed in the cloud by 2023 – up from 20 percent in 2020.

The remote workforce demands productivity-enhancing applications that can quickly adapt and move with employees and customers as needs and requirements evolve. Sales teams must operate with agility, always having full access to BI data from their digital devices, and be able to access information when engaging with customers in-person or across time zones.

Look for software options that offer mobile BI featuring a responsive, lightweight version of the analytics platform to ensure powerful insights are in hand during sales conversations. Products such as MITS BI from White Cup provide user-friendly software accessible in real-time to connect effortlessly to essential profitability and productivity platforms for enhanced employee-to-customer engagement.

Empowering Distributors’ Success

Integrating systems at the data level to surface valuable correlations and trends, helping enhance data literacy and storytelling to help promote data-driven and responsive operations, and leveraging cloud and mobility. These are just a few of the many ways savvy distributors use BI to foster business visibility, decision making, and ultimately, growth.

Masses of useful data no longer sit stagnant in silos or in on-premise systems. Employees no longer need to lack confidence when working with corporate data sets. Today, BI is keeping pace with ever-changing business demands to ensure data is liberated to empower distributors to succeed.

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