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Published:August 16th, 2010 20:32 EST
How Do You Know If Your Business Is Intelligent?

How Do You Know If Your Business Is Intelligent?

By Joel G. Block (Mentor/Columnist)

I have recently been exposed to a whole new side of business operations and management. This underutilized tool combines accounting, finance, technology and operations. It makes smart companies smarter, and executives across the country and around the world are standing up and taking notice. You need to consider it for your business because being smart means moving fast. And for entrepreneurs, and companies that want to compete like they are entrepreneurs, precisely extracted information means serious business horsepower. What is this new magic bullet? In a phrase, Business Intelligence. "

It seems so obvious that a company would want as much business intelligence as it can get. But I have been inside hundreds, if not thousands, of companies -- and most businesses are not organized intelligently. The proverbial right hand rarely knows what the left hand is doing. When Operations doesn`t communicate with Accounting, invoices don`t go out on time. When Sales & Marketing doesn`t work synchronously with the Inventory Management System, trouble is on the horizon.

According to Wikipedia, Business Intelligence (BI) refers to computer-based techniques used in spotting, digging out, and analyzing business data, such as sales revenue by products and/or departments or associated costs and incomes.

This is a very workable definition but it is a mouthful. To be more succinct, Business Intelligence means having the right information for your business at the moment you need it.

It`s not sexy -- but it`s critically important to businesses of all sizes and shapes. A recent IBM commercial asks if anyone would blindly cross the street knowing there were no cars driving by 5 minutes, 5 hours, or 5 days ago. Of course not, but isn`t this how most businesses make the majority of their decisions?

An engineer in Los Angeles has made Business Intelligence his life`s work. Tooraj Kazeminy has done dozens of implementations for a significant number of companies -- many of which you have heard of -- to help them get a handle on their data and turn it into useful information. Look him up and speak with him. It will be worth the call. He has shown me how valuable this technology can be. This isn`t just a good idea. It`s mandatory to stay ahead of the competition.

What if you could have access to technologies that provide historical, current, and predictive views of your business operations? There are software platforms that provide many of the common functions of Business Intelligence technologies such as reporting, online analytical processing, analytics, data mining, business performance management, benchmarking, text mining, and predictive analytics.

Because platforms already exist, your company won`t have to pay to reinvent the wheel. Order an assessment of your current business structures and data management issues, and you could be on your way to having better reporting, better information, less noise, and more focus on your industry or company`s Key Performance Indicators. It`s not terribly expensive to implement these platforms and the return on investment is fast and dramatic. The value is outstanding.

You might be wondering if your software already does this. It might do some of it. But if you have operations software to manage your plant, or Salesforce type software to handle lead flow, and some accounting package to control the company finances, you will end up with multiple systems all with different reports. The problem with this is different perspectives might not translate into accurate and reliable reporting.

Business Intelligence platforms take each of the data warehouses your company uses and takes the specific information each executive, or each department, needs to support better business decision making. This is why Business Intelligence systems are often referred to as decision support systems.

Don`t confuse Business Intelligence with competitive intelligence. Both support decision making. Business Intelligence mostly uses internal data, while competitive intelligence works with mostly external data, though some internal information will be sought to support decision making.

Use this as a starting point. Call on resources to learn more. Contact Tooraj Kazeminy to see if these concepts can help your company. As a fellow entrepreneur, I encourage you to use this information to stay ahead of the curve.

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About Joel G. Block, President of Growth-Logic, Inc. Often dubbed a "Growth Architect" by his clients, Joel Block advises companies on explosive growth strategies by driving revenue and sales. Well known in the capital markets, Joel is a successful entrepreneur, speaker, advisor and astute investor. To bring Joel into your company, please visit http://www.joelblock.com.