Due diligence

What is a Business Intelligence Platform and How Can It Fuel Your Business’ Growth?

by Nicolae Buldumac
What is a Business Intelligence Platform and How Can It Fuel Your Business’ Growth?

What is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence (BI) is designed to transform data into actionable insights, which then allow organisations to make informed strategic business decisions using a varied suite of software and services. It involves collecting all of the data a business generates and then presenting it in a visual and easy-to-understand way, thus supporting better decision making.

BI relies on using business intelligence software (BI software), as a set of sourcing, sorting, consolidating, and analysing tools, to present complex data into intuitive reports that become a source of valuable insights. BI tools provide users with detailed information about the state of any business, be that your own or your competitor’s.

The list of technologies, applications and practices involved with data collection is huge. This includes things like omnichannel customer behaviour trackers, growth-centric advanced analytics tools, and cloud-based project management software - to name just a few. Company data providers such as Hoover’s, Duedil, ZoomInfo and Global Database also occupy a place in this field, offering an important contribution to efficient BI data collection. .

The Global Database platform is a source of business insights for things like company financial state and credit risk, technology a company uses and its executives. Its users can access the decision makers directly and create relevant sales and marketing contact lists (for countries that aren’t subject to GDPR).

Moreover, if you’re targeting an EU country or any other country where the GDPR is adopted, our business intelligence platform still has plenty of valuable insights to offer. The multiple filter options will help you carefully segment your audience and build precise lists featuring only those businesses that will potentially be interested in your product or service, dividing them by industry, location, size or prosperity.

What is business intelligence software and how does it work?

Business intelligence software is designed to automatically collect and analyse business data through data mining, performance benchmarking, process analysis etc. It brings the relationship between data to the surface, allowing you to better allocate resources and make more informed decisions.

There are plenty of business intelligence tools on the market, each with a specific set of features. The diversity of their main focus covers all aspects of a business; from acquiring new customers to automating inner business processes. These tasks usually require varied investments when it comes to time and money in order to be carried out to completion. So let’s look at the two main options that businessmen and their employees are usually interested in.

How can a business benefit from BI software?

By and large, any software handling impressive amounts of data, collecting and processing them and offering you insights in the form of reports, charts or stats, can be named BI software, whether you’re exploring your own company or that of your clients or competitors. A recent study revealed that 64% of senior professionals currently use BI as part of their decision making process, and for good reason. With this in mind, which are the key areas where BI can bring the most benefit to a business?

BI in Sales

The combination of traditional BI, which lets you know the customer's background and their previous interaction with your company, and real-time BI, which compares current customer’s activities with their historical behavioural patterns, affords you the freedom of manoeuvre. You can immediately analyse the customer’s profile and react accordingly, offering them the exact thing they need even before they express their desire. This mixture, working for the benefit of your business, is embodied in well-known CRM systems like Zoho or Salesforce.

It's still important to note, however, that any CRM can only be as good as the data it's based on. It's crucial that this data is relevant, always up-to-date and regularly added to, in order to constantly provide leads for your pipeline. One of the most reliable data sources, along with the information collected by a business about its existing customers, is business data providers, such as Global Database.

BI in Marketing

Another way to use business intelligence to your business’s favour is to make sure your marketing efforts reach the target directly, thus boosting the sales for your products or services. Join over 90% of Sales & Marketing teams using BI for getting their work done in 2018.

Our vast business contacts database allows you to contact the decision makers in any organisation. You can narrow your campaigns down to the audience that is most likely to be interested in your products, applying industry, company size, location, revenue and other filters to your search. Set alerts for any specific criteria of any company you’re interested in, and be informed of any changes, thus being ready to react accordingly.  

BI in Business  Development

Any business that is hoping to grow and increase revenue needs to close a steady stream of sales as well as find reliable business partners and suppliers. The key to success here is to make sure you do your homework - aka due diligence. Thanks to BI you can reduce the amount of risk in a potential business deal by performing a background check on a company first. Global Database gives its users the possibility to get valuable information such as finances, mortgages, charges, and credit scores to give you a solid overview of a business.

Another important aspect of business development is staying ahead of the competition. BI and Global Database in particular can help you with this. We supply valuable digital insights, like monthly web traffic, total traffic for a six month period, traffic by country, Alexa rank, and top organic keywords, so you can see how yours measure up.

You could even use the data to find new opportunities for your business. Look for potential products or services to offer by monitoring what other companies are doing in terms of financial success and company growth, and spot any gaps in the market.

BI in HR

Struggling to find the perfect candidate for a position? BI can give you a helping hand, allowing you to look into the person’s background and decide whether they’re a good fit for your company.

Unlike some other providers, Global Database contains data on employees at all levels, not just seniors. You can search the database by job title, seniority level, industry and location, and then reach the most appropriate candidates directly.

Free BI software

If you're under the impression that BI is a very complex and expensive process, we're happy to let you know this isn't always the case. Nowadays there are huge amounts of both data and analysis tools freely available online - you just need to know where to find them.

Here are some examples of useful BI tools and sources that are available for free:

BIRT

BIRT’s platform provides technology for visualisations and reports creation. These reports can be built into rich web and client apps, mostly those that are Java and Java EE based.

Knime

This software is mainly for data scientists who are working with R or Python languages or using predictive and machine learning algorithms.

QlikView Personal Edition

QlikView Personal Edition provides business insights for those who are aiming to build their own guided analytics applications with business-ready solutions. This software has some restrictions regarding the number of users (only for personal use) as well as limited scope to collaborate and share data, although it’s likely to be a good option for a solo entrepreneur.

UK companies database

Global Database has made all of its business data for UK companies available free of charge. This means anyone can now access vital insights such as financials, credit risk, number of employees and their job titles, annual turnover, net profit and much more, for any business based in the United Kingdom. All of this information is constantly updated and can be easily filtered based on multiple criteria from your personal dashboard within the online platform.

Singapore companies database

This data platform provides you with the possibility to carefully study the Singapore market before entering it through insightful reports on technologies the companies use, their financial state, and the industries they’re active in. This product from Global Database allows you to contact the specific types of executives you need, using the relevant email and phone numbers lists.

Zoho Reports

This is a free version of a business intelligence program, offering unlimited dashboards, reports and cloud storage, though limiting the number of users to two and the number of rows to 100,000.

Jedox

Jedox provides an interactive experience for planning and reporting on every desktop and mobile device. The cloud and premium have trials and are paid.

Google Trends

If you’re thinking of developing a new product or service, you can determine whether there is a market for it beforehand, by using Google Trends. It offers stats showing the search volume for any term since 2004, with the data then divided by location and language.  

Google analytics

Google Analytics Solutions are a great source of customer insights, created by measuring all sorts of data such as offline, digital, website, app data amongst others. You can track your customer’s journey from its very beginning to the purchase itself.

Image source: Marketingland.com

EU Open Data Portal

The portal is best for EU statistics, covering every aspect of the Union’s activity, like employment, education, environment, science and research, and the economy. It provides free access to data published within EU institutions.

Facebook Graph

This tool provides insights on Facebook users, using the data that users haven’t made private. Although there can be some limitations due to people’s privacy settings, there is still a good amount of data available to explore.  

Business Intelligence services

BI serves as a base for multiple services, all designed with the goal of making your business operations more efficient and effective. Companies can optimise the usage of different data types and transform it into fuel for the business development engine.

The benefits of these types of services are obvious, but still deserve to be mentioned:

  • Processes automation and facilitation

  • Cost reduction

  • Informed decision making

  • Competitive advantage provision

  • Easy integration with other platforms and apps

  • …. to name just a few.

BI consulting

This is a great option for those who don’t have the time and/or resources to analyse the data they collect. BI consulting takes the load off your team by converting raw data into insights, analysing data from many sources and arranging it into visual and easy-to-understand reports.

The account managers in Global Database are eager to help you resolve any BI-related challenges you have and exploit big data opportunities. Our platform dashboard enables you to avoid shallow and misleading reports for the sake of reports. By applying multiple filters you can find the exact information you need from the deep sea of data.

How we collect, organise and analyse the data is what makes us different. We take live data from a wide range of authoritative sources, check it twice, combine it, present it clearly in an easy-to-understand format. Global Database is a centralised BI solution opening multiple previously unexploited big data opportunities to you.

BI development

The IT industry moves at rapid pace, providing new and more advanced opportunities for BI all the time. With hundreds of BI services, like Power BI from Microsoft or Big Data Appliance from Oracle, launched every day all over the world, every possible business need of a customer can be immediately satisfied.

The Global Database BI platform has been developed to satisfy a business’ need for company details with data provided across 34 industries in 195 countries, thus opening the door to almost every possible market.

BI testing

Though complex and undoubtedly important, development is only the first step to a perfect product. Any self-respecting development professional or company will expose their product to scrupulous verification and testing to be sure it runs as intended.

This is the reason behind Global Database using our own patented web crawling technology and employing an in-house 100+ members team for manual data collection and verification. Different stacks of data are constantly updated and validated on a monthly, weekly or daily basis.

BI health check

No one can know a product better than its developers. So it’s natural for a developer to be ready to help their client squeeze the juice out of the software they created.

We have a responsible attitude to what we do. Our customers can rest assured that we'll be there to help them make the most of our BI solution at every step. Global Database supports our clients, auditing their company, checking the compatibility of our solution with your needs and showing the most accessible and profitable ways to use the platform.

Data visualization and dashboarding

As we previously mentioned, BI “...is meant to collect all the data a business generates and present them in a visual and understandable way...”. It’s important to make the raw figures take the form of valuable insights, immediately catch any changes and present a holistic picture of any company’s current state.

Global Database created an intuitive dashboard for its BI solution, that allows users to narrow the search down to exactly what they need by applying multiple filters.

Company information filter: for example, you need to find active importers, that have min 100 employees and are distributors. Just tick the respective boxes and get the result.

Executive search filter: the favourite option of headhunters and corporate sales professionals. Find the specific type of person you’d like to talk to and be sure their background suits your goals.

Industry filter: thinking of entering the consulting market and want to check the possible competition? Looking for professionals from the education and training fields? Tick the boxes revealing the focus of the industry you’re interested in, enter the SIC code or search by subsections of each industry.

Location filter: narrow your search down to a particular city or even street when opening a location-based business. Research the market in any of the 195 countries we list in our directory.

Financials filter: these insights are a potential goldmine for everyone, from investors and potential partners to sales and HR. Perform your due diligence as accurately as possible, protect your company from a partnership failure and be sure you can make an unbeatable offer to the top-candidate from a particular company, filtering your search by turnover, net profit or revenue per employee.

Advanced search filter: looking for limited partnership non-subsidiary companies VAT numbers only? Narrow the search down to this criteria using the advanced search and be sure there’ll be nothing superfluous in the results and you won’t waste your time in vain.

Digital insight: Nowadays the right technology is an essential driving force for any successful product. With our platform, you can find out which technologies your competitors use, or help determine which digital solution you could offer to your prospect customers based on their current stack.

What is business intelligence used for?

You've probably come to realise by now how crucial BI is for business; no important decisions should be made without having studied the right insights to give you a better basis for your choices. However, while this is all well and good, in theory, determining exactly how to use BI, and where to get started is another story. Here's the info you need to cover that ground…

Customer intelligence

Businesses should be focused on their customers at all times; on satisfying their needs, anticipating their desires, and making them come back repeatedly. So what are the types of customer data we get from BI and how can we use it to achieve these goals?

  • Behavioural patterns;

  • Interests;

  • Age;

  • Sex;

  • Buying habits;

  • Feedback;

...and many more details which create an overall customer portrait to help you finally find the reason for just 30% repeat visitors and your poor conversion rate!

It’s pretty time and resource-consuming to handle the customer intelligence effectively on your own, so many companies choose to outsource their customer experience management to specialised companies like Clarabridge or the well-known Zoho CRM.

If you're currently happy with just using your own internal data, and you have enough leads and a deep understanding of exactly who your clientele are (as well as how to reach them), you're probably happy with a CRM only. If, on the other hand, you're wanting to expand your business, find new markets and boost your sales, a third-party business data provider would be of great help to you.

Global Database provides its users with the possibility to fuel their CRM with qualified leads and reach exactly the people they need to target, offering data like company executives names, nationality, direct business emails and phone numbers. Please note that we respect the GDPR and therefore encourage you to use the direct contact data of the executives whose companies are based in non-EU countries only.

Financial intelligence

The financial knowledge you need to protect or develop your business needs to be analysed and presented in a clear and convenient way in order for you to be able to make decisions based on it.

For example, your manufacturing business may seem to be successful but you still need to make sure you’re still within your yearly budget after the first quarter. Here’s what we see after an analysis of all the financial data your company has produced:

Your production target was reached on 90% and your sales target - on 80% only. In addition to this, you have numerous accounts payable for June. As follows from the figures, you won’t have enough funds to pay off the debts. So there are two ways out for you in this situation: you can either look at borrowing more funds or start cutting costs.

The Global Database dashboard allows you to discover any company financial info, like tangible assets, operating profit or EBITDA margin, including the trends on these indicators for the last five years, within seconds. Thus you’ll be fully prepared for entering a new market, developing a competitive product or choosing the best partner or takeover subject.

Performance Intelligence

You observed a decline of a specific product category - let’s say, dishwashing machines. You’re partnering with reliable manufacturers and suppliers and can't understand the reason behind the issue.

Performance intelligence specialists will start by digging deep into different SKUs belonging to the same manufacturer and, as a result, will learn that there are issues just with a single model. All you have to do is figure out why this particular model is not to the liking of the end customers. Here’s the moment for the specialists to take the stage once again and analyse all the customer complaints and survey results.   

The same process is valid for the failed business partnership stats. The first stage of a deep situational analysis should include checking the financial state of all the partners in the Global Database dashboard and then identifying those whose annual turnover and net profit plummeted to date.

E-commerce intelligence

One of the main questions for an e-commerce business sounds like: “what is the typical behaviour of our loyal customers?” Using e-commerce BI you can easily follow your customer’s path, see what obstacles they could face and eliminate them for your new or returning customers.

For example, you have an online store and your loyal customers shop there approximately thrice a month, sending $150 each time and buying two items. Then there are your one-time customers who buy only one item spending max $60.  Beauty products are the most popular category, and beauty accessories hardly enter the Top-10.

Using these insights you know how to proceed: work on customer retention and find ways to make your customers return to increase the average spend; focus on promoting beauty accessories in order to keep that audience segment and see if you can tempt more buyers, or bin this product line altogether; the decision is yours.

Sales Intelligence

The number of customers for this week was the same as the week before, but this week earnings are disappointing. What’s going on?

It’s enough to check the deposit reports to learn that around 30% of the retailer’s best sellers were out of stock. Checking the sales trends and preparing respective stock in advance could change the situation.

Marketing Intelligence

You as a manufacturer need to learn what is your leading brand. You are present in 15 countries, and in all those countries brand A has a market share of 11%, while the other brands show the 8% result for the same countries.

So, what we see with brand A is a great performance with a stable trend. It’s a good indication that the practices you used working with the brand A should be applied to the other brands.

HR Intelligence

Your yearly budget always includes performance bonuses for employees. What’s the amount of money you need to budget for in order to continue the tradition next year?

If you’ve accurately collected the employee’s performance data before, you’ll just need to check them and predict several scenarios. Thus you’ll be able to approximately forecast the amount of money that will have to be paid depending on the number of employees that would reach their targets the next year.

Operational Intelligence

A new quality control procedure was launched two months ago. You need to know whether it is worth continuing to use it after the trial period you were provided ends. How can you check its efficiency?

The reports show that there are 6% more product quality complaints registered in the help desk. The products are being returned 15% more often than before. There can be only one conclusion in this case.

As we can see after studying several examples of how BI can be applied, no matter how much data you have, it’s important to analyse it correctly and in good timing.

Global Database, as a BI provider, allows you to analyse any company intelligence as deep as if it was your own company’s and you had access to the most important documents and figures. Overcoming the competition and anticipating their next steps is no longer a tough task for our platform users. You can access the holistic business picture, as well as all the possible details, at a glance.

What is Business Intelligence and Analytics?

Although the two terms, business intelligence and business analytics are often used interchangeably nowadays. While they are both used to describe the process of utilising data to help make more informed business choices, they can be differentiated in other ways. So, in terms of how analytics relates to business intelligence, what is it and why is it important?

Intelligence VS Analytics

While the specific difference between the two terms has become somewhat subjective, the main difference is that while business intelligence largely relies on historical data in order to glean insights, analytics uses data to make predictions. Analytics uses algorithms to find patterns in datasets, as well as scoring and predicting potential outcomes.

The ability of analytics to predict the possibility of future scenarios occurring is mainly thanks to the use of tools and technology, such as data mining, online analytical processing and data modelling. These require the analysis of both past and present data patterns in order to find others that are likely to occur in the future.

What is a Business Intelligence Analyst?

The business intelligence analyst role is a subset within the greater sector of business analysis. The main purpose of the job is to collect and measure data, using it to look for trends and make predictions for future outcomes. The insights gained from this process then allows organisations to improve their decision making and react efficiently to the potential scenarios likely to occur.

The specific knowledge and skill sets needed will largely depend on the type of organisation involved, as well as its size and the scope of the data collected. However, the main responsibilities under the role will most often include things like maintaining the BI database, performing tests to make sure BI is being used effectively, and helping to set goals and develop strategies.

BI Analyst - The Role of the Future

The huge amounts of data now being created and shared every day requires advanced tools and systems in order to process it effectively. BI is an essential part of modern business, but ultimately it requires a human touch in order to develop the right strategy and keep it running smoothly.

While analysis carried out by machines does offer plenty of benefits, for example, increased efficiency and no longer needing to rely on gut instinct, ultimately no artificial intelligence currently available is able to reach the possibilities of the human brain. BI analysis requires crucial assessment and problem-solving skills, along with the ability to look at things in a more objective way.

People play a central role in efficient BI, which is why analysts and other data professionals are so in demand. In fact, a recent study by IBM revealed predictions that by 2020 there will be an increase of 364,000 job openings in the sector - and that's just within the US. Data analysts, like those needed to manage BI, is one of the fastest growing roles; IBM suggests there will be a spike in demand of 28% by 2020.

The Right Data for BI and Analytics

While the insights created by business intelligence and business analytics are often extremely useful to your company, you need to ensure first that the data you're working with is of a high quality. Ultimately, if you're feeding your tools data that is incomplete or incorrect, the insights you garner aren't going to be a realistic representation of both current performance as well as future predictions.

In order to get the most out of your business intelligence, you need to be analysing as much data as possible to get a complete picture; for example, can you really gain a decent understanding of how well your business is doing compared to the competition by looking at just a handful of rival companies? A BI tool like Global Database represents a good solution here, thanks to the vast amounts of company and market data it provides, including thousands of records for businesses in each industry.
 

What is Emotional Intelligence in Business?

Emotional intelligence is often an incredibly useful asset in business. Having a high EQ allows you to be more aware of the feelings and needs of others, as well as having a greater level of control over your own emotions.

It also means you are able to adapt to unexpected situations more easily and think on your feet without relying on the default. With leaders facing so much pressure every day, emotional intelligence is vital to ensure they can deal with challenges and grow their business without burning out.

Emotional intelligence is being used by leading brands, including Apple. The tech giant acquired Emotient in 2016 - a startup which develops systems to read people's emotions via their facial expressions. Apple will probably make use of this AI as a way to better understand how customers are reacting to their products and ads.

Core Skills of EI

Emotional intelligence is separate from your IQ; being an emotionally intelligent person has nothing to do with how intellectual a person is. It consists of four core skills divided between two main competencies; personal and social, as is shown in the image below.

Personal competence is how well you deal with your own emotions, rather than how you interact with others. Under this heading, there's self-awareness; being able to recognise your emotions, and self-management; being able to control them effectively.

Social competence, on the other hand, is how well you build relationships with others. This is made up of social awareness; understanding how others are feeling, and relationship management; using empathy to have successful interactions with others however they're feeling.

The Advantages of Emotional Intelligence for Business

One study into how EI affects employee performance found that experienced partners in a consulting firm who scored highly for EI generated $1.2 million more profit than their counterparts. In fact, there are several ways that high emotional intelligence can have a positive impact on your company. These include:

  • Business Development - With a higher level of emotional intelligence, you're able to make calmer, more rational decisions that are likely to be better for your business.

  • Increased Revenue - Encourage a culture of emotional intelligence in your company and you'll have employees who are better at selling to customers, better at networking and better at working under pressure, making your operations more efficient.

  • Employee Retention - You can ensure your employees are more likely to stick around by interacting with them in a more nurturing, level-headed way, as well as having a greater understanding of what they need in order to feel valued.

  • Better Marketing - When you're able to relate to and empathise with your customers better, you can create more effective marketing campaigns. An example pointed out on the Optimove blog is this ad from British Airways, aiming to resonate with British expats.

Final Thoughts…

Business intelligence is an essential part of ensuring success in business today. It provides valuable insights for practically every aspect of your operations, from HR and product development to marketing and sales. In order to get the most out of the process, it's vital to have a wide variety and large volume of data to analyse, as well as the right tools and people to manage it effectively.

BI platforms such as Global Database can be extremely valuable for your business; they provide large quantities of company and market data and negate the need for you to manually source this information in-house as well as then ensuring it's kept up to date.

Whatever your BI goals are, it's important to remember that it is an ongoing process, with your strategy, systems and tools needing to be reassessed and adapted as your business evolves.

Related posts

What are SIC Codes and NAICS Codes?
What are SIC Codes and NAICS Codes?
Understanding both the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) and Northern American Industry Classification System (NAIC) can help you get the most from these databases, which represent an extensive survey of the economic landscape of North America, from larger market trends to company specific information about business activities.
Why Does B2B Lead Generation Matter?
Marketing
Why Does B2B Lead Generation Matter?
In this basic B2B lead generation guide, you’ll learn about B2B lead generation marketing and digital strategies, effective tools and tactics, and B2B lead generation platforms that can put you on the path to sustainable business growth.
Top 10 features of  B2B data providers
Due diligence
Top 10 features of B2B data providers
Information has always been a critical success factor of any business, be that knowledge about prospects, the market or competitors. But today, with the digital boom and the B2B data sector moving with an extremely fast pace, data has become the indispensable fuel of any business’ engine.