Business operating in the digital era hear a lot about the value of agility. It’s a term that many organisations like to promote in their operations, and with good reason – being an agile business means having the ability to adapt quickly, no matter what the shifting market throws at you.
What underpins an organisation’s ability to be agile is knowledge. The enormous well of data that flows into modern businesses can be the foundation for a repository of useful information, which leaders can draw from and analyse to understand the past and plan for the future. Business intelligence solutions are a central part of this process – a tool to derive accurate insight and allow the freedom and flexibility to adapt.
Blending agility with stability
Being capable of rapid shifts in direction appears to be a common issue. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) 2015 Global Operations Survey, it ranked as the second-most reported challenge, behind understanding what customers value.
Aaron De Smet, principal at McKinsey & Company, notes that while agile organisations are defined by their ability to change quickly in a rapidly evolving environment, beneath the surface is solid, reliable and accurate infrastructure.
“Agility requires stability, a stable foundation – a platform if you will – of things that don’t change. It’s this stable backbone that becomes a springboard for the company, an anchor point that doesn’t change while a whole bunch of other things are changing constantly,” he explains.
Agile organisations are defined by their ability to change quickly in a rapidly evolving environment.
The benefits of becoming an agile business speak for themselves. Analysis by McKinsey from surveys of more than two million respondents at over a thousand companies worldwide found that 70 per cent of organisations considered agile rank in the top quartile for organisational health. Those companies were noted for their ability to balance swift change with organisational clarity, stability, and structure, with a commitment to innovation and knowledge sharing ingrained into the culture.
Greater agility is the goal, but you may be asking how your business can achieve that. According to Cindi Howson, research vice president at Gartner, self-service analytics solutions may be the answer.
“Organisations need improved agility to respond to new data sources and new business requirements. A workforce with access to self-service analytics is a step toward this agility.”
Serving yourself with BI solutions
Business intelligence solutions have been in use for some time, however continued innovation is making these tools much easier to interact with. Gartner notes that promoting a culture that supports their use across all levels can aid in the management and analysis of vast amounts of data.
Traditional business intelligence platforms may not be capable of keeping up with the volume and variety of data, however. TDWI Research has found that organisational decision-makers require tools that allow them to easily access, analyse and share information directly, rather than relying on the assistance of IT teams. Data is being generated and captured so fast that any delays in analysis can reduce its value and the potential to derive insight.
That’s where self-service business intelligence comes in. Where the complexity of the solutions once required a vast amount of training and experience, modern software platforms are designed for users without a statistical analysis background, using intuitive interfaces and visualisation tools to provide the answers needed.
That said, it’s not as simple as picking up an off-the-shelf product and diving in. Working with experienced consultants – people with the know-how to tailor a BI strategy to suit your organisation – is a crucial first step towards becoming an agile business. Speak to the team at Stellar Consulting today for all you need to know about self-service business intelligence.