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What is business intelligence?

Business intelligence (BI) is used to turn raw data into information you can use and analyze. The tools and techniques of BI turn your ledgers, books, and receipts into ingredients for reporting, planning, and strategy.

  • Raw numbers can be hard or even impossible to put into use without an understanding of their context.
  • Providing data – rather than understandable information – when asked can make a company appear untrustworthy or unreliable.
  • Quick decision-making requires that information already be available in a useful form.
  • Having the facts and figures of your business in an understandable form makes you less vulnerable to fraud.

The purpose of BI is to give you the information you need to predict the performance of your business, find opportunities to revive stalled projects or start on new ones, and make better business decisions. GraphX’s business intelligence solutions give you a foundation to make those decisions and help you establish a strategy to put it all to good use.

Why should I trust my business intelligence to GraphX?

Business intelligence relies on a data warehouse. We have one – it’s made up of all of the information we’ve acquired through the suite of accounting services we perform for you. Transaction information, income statements, balance sheets, account reconciliations, and numerous other sources live as data in our secure data facility in the U.S. That means the data we’re relying on for accurate analysis remains largely invulnerable to loss or human error when you’re developing plans for your company’s success.

The qualitative processing of data requires a lot of knowledge to start with. Our expert analysts have the industry experience to know which questions to ask and how to interpret reports for given purposes. That’s knowledge – not just information – that can’t be replicated by a computer system or learned in a short amount of time. Back Office Center has an invaluable resource in the team dedicated to supporting your company’s success.

Poorly executed business intelligence is worse than no intelligence at all. The information derived from business intelligence processes is only useful if it starts with a comprehensive, complete data source and an effective, proven, best-practice system and processes. Basing it on incomplete data or an unreliable system results in inaccurate information, which can be poison to a business as it grows or prepares for major projects.

Business intelligence is the fuel for your business. Your job is to use that fuel to produce revenue and plan for growth. Our job is to refine that fuel, put it where you can use it, and keep it flowing so that your operations are never disrupted by information shortage.

Data Management

The data used in business intelligence comes from our management of your business transactions and operations. But it can’t be used for anything in its raw form – before analysis can begin, the useful data is extracted, sorted, and stored for future application.

  • Data processing
  • Reporting
  • OLAP
  • Data mining

Data processing. Back Office Center functions on the data that surrounds your everyday business operations – data from every facet of your business operations, collected over time. We use document imaging, account reconciliation, data entry, and a virtual toolbox of other business intelligence tools to extract and process the data for application.

Reporting. Business intelligence reporting synthesizes that data into a usable format for our analysts – summaries, abstracts, and visualization like charts and graphs that make the information easily accessible. Reports are full of data but made up of information that you, and our team, can understand.

OLAP. OLAP – online analytical processing – uses online systems to look at data based on any number of given attributes. Looking at, for instance, sales figures based on geographical area and season of the year can give a multidimensional view of business performance that provides information for detailed strategy.

Data mining. Data mining uses computer analysis to detect patterns at the most minute level of a large data set. It can provide details about individual data points and relationships that can be used to predict trends or to supply OLAP with an additional layer of processed data for its rich calculations.

Information Management

Once information is available in a usable form, our experts begin analyzing it, applying industry context and your business’s unique priorities to find the real potential impact of that input.

  • Analytics
  • Predictive analytics
  • Prescriptive analytics
  • Benchmarking

Analytics. Business intelligence and analytics are two related but different fields. Analytics uses statistical tools to turn data into usable models. BI uses reporting, querying and analysis. The former is more quantitative, and the latter is more qualitative, but both provide information to guide decisions and develop strategies.

Predictive analytics. Predictive analytics works from mathematical models and your company’s historical data to predict the potential for success in a given aspect of your business – a customer’s likelihood of defaulting on credit, a product’s likelihood of selling – and determine what steps to take. Marketing, investment, and even hiring decisions can be influenced by these reliable numerical scores, all based on hard data.

Prescriptive analytics. Predictive analytics shows what’s likely to happen. Prescriptive analytics looks at why it’s likely to happen, and what you should do about it. It identifies future threats and opportunities for your business so that you – with Back Office Center’s business intelligence advisors – can position yourself properly to make it through any potential disruptions and make the most of chances for growth.

Benchmarking. Benchmarking compares your company’s performance to top companies in your industry and compares your processes and operations to industry best practice. It helps establish targets for performance and provides a look at what some businesses are doing to become and remain successful. It’s the start of a process of constantly analyzing and improving your practices.

Applications

The main product of business intelligence – information, accurate and presented in context – has uses in areas of your business far outside of charts, graphs, and annual reports. BI produces information that reveals pertinent details about your business operations and the places your company could go.

  • Metrics
  • Strategic reporting
  • Knowledge management
  • Decision support

Metrics. Measurement of metrics – sales, work attendance, time on the road, any number of quantifiable figures – establishes the position of your business now and, over time, shows your progress toward your performance goals.

Strategic reporting. Strategic reporting uses your information to build a structure for strategic planning. It doesn’t just help to hone operations now – it helps to develop smart plans and achievable goals for the future.

Knowledge management. Knowledge management takes the information derived from data and turns it into knowledge. It provides insights, experiences, and education that give you a real, working understanding of the data and processes you’ve been examining. It also gives you the tools to share the knowledge with your employees and others in your industry.

Decision support. Decision support is just like it sounds – providing you with the tools and materials you’ll need to make business-critical decisions, plan for the growth and expansion of your business, or address crises as they arise without interrupted operations. Relying on reliable information, with the assistance of Back Office Center’s experts, helps you make good decisions and feel comfortable with the choices you’ve made.

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