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1.0 IntroductionBusiness Intelligence (BI) is a data driven process and place where it combined relevant data, applications, tools, incrustations and Annalise those and input knowledge into business decision making process (Larson, and Chang 2016). BI is widely used among organisations to make informed or knowledgeable business decisions. Simplifying the same, one may state that BI is a combination of technologies and strategies that are used by organisations for conducting effective data analysis. This report would discuss the crucial role of BI in aiding organisations to make educated or informed business decisions. Furthermore, the key factors that ensure the success of BI projects have been mentioned as well. In addition to that, a discussion on the case of Maidenform, a manufacturer of women’s underwear which had implemented the use of BI to gain competitive advantage has been performed.
2.0 Importance of Business Intelligence and its Role in the Decision-Making ProcessBusiness Intelligence is being implemented by several organisations in order to improve its productivity, for accessing vital information, generating a significantly better ROI or Return on Investment as well as making educated and informed decisions in various matters of the business operations. In addition to that, it may be mentioned in this context that the implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning software, commonly known as ERP software, by many organisations such as Maidenform, Plantronics, ANZ and so on, have resulted in consequential improvements in sales growth (Trieu, 2017). It is to be noted that ERP, such as SAP ERP systems, are software in business process management that aids in the business management and automation of the back office functions that are relevant to HR, technology or services. Figure 1: BI tools (Source: Peters et al. 2016) There are various aspects in a business that may involve making notable decisions. In this section, a discussion on how BI influences the various strategic decision-making processes is made.
2.1 Sales DecisionsWith the aid of BI, organisations are able to explore the detailed sales trends, which are dependent on the customer choices or preferences, online shopping experiences, purchasing habits and reaction to promotions. By leveraging customer buying behaviour, an organisation may attain comprehensive insight to make decisions regarding to explore certain link-sell opportunities to enhance the sale of particular products (Guarda et al. 2016). Furthermore, by identifying the customers in decline, a company may enable repositioning a specific product to boost the sales for the organisation.
2.2 Devising Marketing StrategyIn order to devise marketing strategies or make strategic decisions, monitoring the trends in customer buying behaviour may provide an insight into determining the preferences of the customers. The implementation of BI helps an enterprise decide tailoring the promotions, prioritising campaigns and engage effectively in order to maximise the marketing activities (Peters et al. 2016).
2.3 Inventory ManagementInventory management is a component involved in supply chain management that focuses on supervising the inventory or the non-capitalised items. Making decisions regarding reducing the exorbitant inventory to manage cost-effectiveness is another benefit of using BI. Furthermore, gaining an idea of the ordering pattern of a product, would allow managers to modulate the pricing tiers to generate a larger profit margin (Thamir and Poulis, 2015).
2.4 Financial Decision-MakingThe use of BI enables a manager to view and evaluate the financial structure, such as balance sheet figures, profit and loss, and general ledgers. The investigation into the past and current outgoing and incoming finances of an organisation, the managers and executives may be able to make decisions with respect to the financial status of the company.
2.5 Executive Decision-MakingThe statistical facts obtained with the help of BI, may prove fruitful for executives to make future decisions with regards to organisational growth. Evaluation of the long-term competition and market may guide the executives to establish future decisions regarding organisational productivity and growth. Visualisations for identifying productivity, such as employee management can be helpful for executives. Additionally, the managers may benefit from identifying functional insights to determine the most effective strategies for reducing employee turnover, improving productivity and much more (Guarda et al. 2016).
3.0 Critical Analysis of the Key Success Factors in order to implement Business Intelligence ProjectsCritical analysis of the key success factors in order to implement Business Intelligence projects has been done taking in consideration the MaidenForm Company. The following paragraphs present the valuable information regarding the various aspects that are covered in the business intelligence system inside the MaidenForm organisation. MaidenForm is the women’s underwear manufacturer (Chiasera,et al.2018). Their Chief officials has reported and recently said after the implementation of the business intelligence inside their organisation. It was reported that Provision of the target information at the very right place and at the right time is a central fact to the improvisation of the decision-making capabilities and processes. This provision is going to allow in the gaining of an advantage which is related to the competition in the market. This will also helps in the increment of the retail customer, as well as shopper and shareholder values. The report regarding the implementation of the business intelligence also told the improvement of the company towards making sure that it is able to maintain the delivery of one version the truth and also delivery of the information that is related to actions. The company higher authority official told that they do not want to just deliver data. With respect to the implementation of the Business Intelligence strategies inside an organisation, it has been analysed by keeping 2 to 3 companies in focus (Puklavek,et al.2018). Another company is the Bravissimo, which is another underwear manufacturer who have been benefited from the usage of business intelligence systems. The report said that they had linked their business intelligence tool with the MET office for prediction of the weather changes. This move had shown a spark with significant results for them in the UK in the summer season that just passed by. Considering another totally different organisation, namely, the ANZ, it can be evidently and proudly said that they have already experimented with the implementation of business intelligence strategy inside their organisation long back. It was reported that the analysts are no more into spending the whole of their time in making better structured and organised reports with all the results and outcomes. This became evident that the company has the capability to self-service their business intelligence. This self-service of the business intelligence could actually be implemented in other companies also. Taking the circumstances and scenario of the other company, it could be said that the chief officer of the Just Eat company had reportedly said that how he implemented a cloud policy and strategy based and aimed for the online food distribution business (George,et al.2018). The official has reportedly made it clear that they wanted to use the off - shelf sets of tools and don’t want to waste time in the building of things which can be bought. Further it was also stated that the official would recommend the cloud environment to every business organisation. It was reportedly said that the official at the higher level wish that if they had adopted the cloud environment earlier, it would have been smoother to carry out the tasks.
4.0 Evaluation of the use of Business Intelligence for gaining a Competitive Advantage using a real-life Case StudyThe evaluation criteria for the business intelligence inside the business firms are based on certain parameter and finding results based on that. The case study is based on the MaidenForm underwear producing and manufacturing firm. The various parameter which are involved, are the mainly analytics of data. BI has found itself successfully applied over the retail section, in the MaidenForm organisation. In accordance to the latest data that has been provided, it has been evident that business intelligence is a boon in the running of big business firms. Companies which aspire to take up a business intelligence system and implement analytics platform within their business. MaidenForm is an organisation which in spite of being world’s best known vendors of women’s intimate wears, like lingerie, it has emerged as the successful agent in implementing the business intelligence plan. The company found out recently about the fact that it was encountering some problems with the accuracy in the prediction of customer demand for the inevitable and particular manufactured items (Fitriana, et al.2017). This was found out from the critical analysis that if the company is unable to glean data and information from the supply chain, it may not be able to ship the actual amount of a particular product when the product concerned is in high range of demand. This inability would lead to customer dissatisfaction. The chief official of the company reportedly said in a press conference, that measurements are very much important in case to improve continuously. It is important to know that where the company stands and how far the company has to move forward. The business intelligence system has become the backbone for the digital marketing department. Collection of information to gauge the customers’ likes and dislikes for making the purchases along with the kinds of items that appeal to the customers. Implementation of the tool has allowed the retailer for seeing a decline of significant percentage in the email subscription prices. The platform has been made to optimize for dealing with the increasing popularity for using the smart devices like the smart phones and tablets during shopping. Delivery of the advanced and enhanced features to the consumers through the mobile applications which harnesses the huge stores of data related to products. The basic advantages of adopting a business intelligence system, includes many benefits to the organisation. These include the points which are being discussed in the following lines. Usage of the business intelligence system enables the decisions to be more data and insightful. This ensures that those have not been taken through gut feeling. Making decisions in real time becomes possible as the person can analyse in real time. One can build new offers for adjusting in the current market conditions and also for the betterment in satisfying their consumers. When there is a change in the data, one can get the notification and can figure out easily about why that occurred. Also it becomes easier to fix the matter. It provides automated insights as the beauty of the system lies in it. These systems are capable of avoiding the natural biases related to human observations.
5.0 ConclusionFrom the above report, A process that is driven chiefly by technology used primarily for analysing data along with presenting practical and functional information that may prove beneficial for managers, executives and other corporate end users is referred to as Business Intelligence. The importance of BI and its significance in decision-making in various aspects of a business, such as decision-making in financial, executive and other aspects have been mentioned. The key factors for the successful implementation of BI have been identified as managing performance, choosing the technology for BI, understanding cost-effectiveness, ensuring the involvement of the executives. Lastly, a case study of Maidenform has been discussed to evaluate the use of BI for gaining a competitive advantage, along with the improvement in the shareholder as well as customer value.
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