Week 8

According to CIO.com, Business Intelligence, or BI, is defined as “a variety of software applications used to analyze an organization’s raw data and extract useful insights from it”.  While BI is a valuable tool for decision making, information monitoring, process management, and tactical operations, most businesses do not use it to its fullest potential.   Many CIOs see BI simply as a reporting tool and neglect the plethora of advantages it can provide.  If it is administered correctly, it can transform an organization’s business processes, making them much more lean and efficient.

In order to reap all the benefits that BI has to offer, organizations must focus on the processes that are most engrained in the business.  Using business mapping exercises, they can then evaluate all aspects of their operating procedures and ultimately change the way they do business.

CKE Restaurants, the company behind fast food chain Hardee’s, used BI to predict the success of their Monster Thickburger, a new high-calorie offering that a company such as CKE might otherwise reconsider rolling out in today’s health-centric society.  However, CKE introduced the burger in test markets and monitored its success through the company’s BI system.  The data they collected allowed them to forecast sales across the country.

Restaurant chains such as Hardee’s have found success in using BI for strategic decision-making, partly because these organizations are so operations-driven.  BI also enables these companies to stay agile and change with the competitive atmosphere of the fast food industry.

Regardless of the industry, to get added value from BI, a company must consider several factors.  First, the organization must determine what information is needed to make their decision making processes more efficient and accurate.  Next, the BI system they establish must provide insight, not just data.  It must also give context, i.e. the factors that influence the data.  The organization must be aware of the end users’ attitudes towards the system and address any concerns from the start.  Finally, they must create relevant performance metrics to measure the system’s effectiveness.


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