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Fighting Crime (and Other Amazing Feats) with Business Intelligence

Super Hero with "B.I." on his chest

Every company knows that business intelligence is important, and the term is thrown around every day. But with today’s advancements in technology, you might not be aware of the amazing things it can do for your business. This blog offers some surprising reminders.

Simply put, Business Intelligence (or "BI" if you are looking to pick up some IT cool points) is an umbrella term for resources and systems that provide accurate, evidence-based, timely, high-value, and actionable data. Some examples of these resources and systems include: big data, data mining, data warehousing, report applications, and data analytics.

Ultimately, however, BI is all about realizing what you already know and seeing it in a way in which you can extrapolate value. Think about it as "doing business more intelligently."  Every company has hundreds of millions of pieces of data flowing around in ERP, CRM, and CSM systems that go underutilized. The goal of BI is to use all the good stuff you already have at your fingertips to your best advantage.

With the major influx of data creation recently, BI is helping businesses connect the dots better than ever before and turn raw data into amazingly accurate and useful information. Today’s BI processes do heavy lifting and sifting that find correlations between data that would never been thought of even a year or two ago. They do this by determining relationships among internal factors (price, product positioning, etc.) and external factors (economic indicators, competition, customer demographics, weather, etc.) to find root causes of buyer behavior.  

A popular example is how Target uses predictive analytics of big data (a form of Business Intelligence) to track customer purchases to be able to determine their age, stage of life, and buying preferences. The story goes that a man, enraged that his high-school aged daughter had been receiving maternity coupons from Target, confronted a manager there, demanding that they stop influencing his daughter to become pregnant. Little did he know that Target was onto something. Said daughter had recently gone to Target and purchased scentless lotion, cotton balls, and pre-natal vitamins, which are key items that the store uses to tag expectant mothers. The girl was, in fact, pregnant, and her retailer knew before her own father.  

By analyzing their existing purchase receipts and cross-referencing them with a guest ID, which provided an address in which to send coupons, Target was able to directly market to this soon-to be mommy. Their use of data analytics has helped them increase their knowledge base on their customers drastically. Also, by predicting the baby's conception date within two weeks, they were able to extrapolate its approximate due date, first day of Kindergarten, annual birthdays, and many more prime shopping opportunities for the rest of its life! This one find could prove lucrative for Target for years to come.

Another demonstration of the power of Business Intelligence comes from Richmond, Virginia. Police Chief Rodney Monroe cross-referenced historical data from crime reports with weather, traffic, and major business events. He found that robberies spiked on paydays near check cashing storefronts in certain neighborhoods. He was then able to deploy officers to these locations in advance to help prevent these crimes from ever even occurring. From this and other treasures in their data, Richmond experienced a 21% drop in crime in just one year.

The stories are endless, and so are the possibilities. To discuss how you can unlock the potential for business intelligence in your company, contact the experts at ArcherPoint.

Learn more about Business Intelligence features in Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

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