We’re beginning to see the minimalist approach applied to just about everything these days. From decluttering our closets to reclaiming our time, people are looking for ways to streamline their efforts and maximize their resources. One of the most popular ways to help reduce the overwhelm we all feel in most aspects of our lives is through the wisdom and teachings of Marie Kondo.

Kondo published her best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in 2014 and in it, she introduces her KonMari Method. What the KonMari method teaches is not just the best routes to tidying up or organizing physical spaces, but perhaps most importantly, getting rid of non-essentials altogether. By non-essential, Kondo explains that anything that doesn’t “spark joy” needs to go.

The overarching point of the KonMari method is that when we’re approaching things from the perspective of joy, we’ll confront everything in our lives from this vantage point. So, not only do we let go of physical things, but we can apply that same standard to all of our decision making, leading us to feel more confident, and pursuing what makes us happy.

In that vein, how can we apply this minimalist approach to Business Intelligence (BI)? Well, let’s first take a look at how we’re viewing the purpose of implementing BI as part of your success strategy. BI allows organizations to use data to improve their decision-making process. Formally, BI technology includes the software, hardware, and platforms created to allow companies and businesses to retrieve, analyze, transform and report data.

That may sound overly simplistic, but in reality, BI can actually be fairly complex. The idea of using the KonMari method as it relates to BI is appealing to anyone who is overwhelmed at the idea of managing so much data. This is especially true for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) who don’t necessarily have the resources to implement a complicated BI strategy.

Using a minimalist approach, let’s navigate our way through a simpler way to think about and utilize BI.

Look for Limited IT Intervention

Originally, BI was only used by large organizations with enterprise solutions. This required an IT department, data analysts, and resources SMBs simply don’t have. This also meant having experts available to analyze and report on data exported from accounting, marketing, customer relationship management, and manufacturing software, sometimes taking weeks before summaries could be provided. BI tools on the market today allow users to interact with data and gain real-time insights. Organizations can build their own dashboards, explore data, collaborate and share results quickly. A SaaS or cloud BI solution significantly minimizes the need for IT intervention in order to maintain the tool.

Combine Available Data Sets

There is so much data available to businesses now, and the combination of this data can play a vital role in optimizing sales, marketing, and product development. Companies pull data from many sources, but the most successful companies figure out how to access and combine it to find the story the data tells. When data sets appear too individualized, it can be hard to see the trends or themes emerging. It’s important to figure out how to combine these separate data sets so that you can see how they actually work together.

Use Intuitive Software

So, that sounds great, but how do we combine data sets so that we can understand the big picture? By using intuitive (and fast) BI software. Some solutions on the market now integrate data from multiple streams, then process that data and deliver it in an automated and easy-to-understand manner in your dashboards and other data visualizations. These software choices mean less time manipulating data and more time finding insights–the real joy of data.

Put Data into Action

At the end of the day, what good is data if you don’t do anything with it? BI enables changes and decisions that benefit the health of the organization. Once you begin to get comfortable with a BI tool, you’ll have enough information to help guide you into making smart decisions based upon analytics and customer data that confidently predict what will work and what won’t.

Don’t miss out on the benefits that data can provide, but don’t be overwhelmed by it either. By utilizing a minimalist approach to managing your data through a BI tool, you’ll be in a better position to begin creating solutions that spark joy for you and for your customers.

About the Author

Jessica Barrett Halcom is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com, with specializations in human resources, healthcare, and transportation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay and currently lives in Nashville, TN.

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