I’m a Brit, and this one’s for the Brits in the audience, but there’s something here for all of you. So, take a look, and keep a beady eye out for some UK-style spelling. No, they’re not typos!

And now to business.

In an ever-changing world, it’s a given that organisations of all kinds must embrace change to remain successful. The big challenge is how to do this well. And right now, this challenge can’t be more critical anywhere other than the UK.

Why business intelligence is more critical than ever for UK businesses

British business is currently in the eye of a perfect storm — a confluence of technological, economic, and political circumstances — that’s creating an acute sense of flux and uncertainty. The pressures caused by the proliferation of new business models arising from technological innovation (think AirBnB, Uber, Amazon, just for starters), plus global competition, especially from big economic powers and markets like China and India, are nothing new. But lately they’ve been intensified by the UK’s changing relationship with Europe, a lack of clarity about how that will play out, and what it’ll mean in terms of doing business — not just in Europe, but with other significant nations and partners worldwide.

The latest casualty, Thomas Cook, is a case in point. The 178-year-old travel company, worth over £1.85 billion ($2.3 billion) little more than a year ago, has collapsed in the face of growing debt; fierce competition from low-cost airlines and internet booking sites; flagging consumer confidence caused by Brexit; and the slow death of its bricks-and-mortar business. Even global warming may have contributed to its demise, with people choosing to holiday in the UK rather than go abroad, because of the recent warmer summers at home. What can be said with some certainty is that the company didn’t analyse, anticipate, and respond to change fast enough or fully enough. And the sad dénouement is the loss of a historic brand.

With this in mind, it stands to reason that British businesses would be wise to arm themselves with the best data with which to make vital decisions and anticipate future trends. That requires advanced business intelligence (BI) and analytics. But is UK plc truly prepared for what may come, and has it deployed the right BI technology to be ready?

The state of play in the UK, for BI and analytics

While it’s estimated that 64% of UK business teams use BI for decision-making, that leaves 36% — over one third of all British businesses that don’t. If you take into account that data is constantly being generated and grows exponentially (463 exabytes of new data are created daily, and this volume is doubling in size every two years), then choosing not to use tools that analyse data and help make decisions seems at best to be missing a major opportunity. Couple this with the indecision of the current climate and this 36% of British business seems alarmingly complacent, perhaps even negligent.

What British businesses miss, without BI and analytics?

“OK, that’s the doom and gloom,” you may say, “but show me the benefits?” Why should more British businesses take notice of this warning and invest in BI and analytics?

Just a cursory look at independent research reveals that the answers are manifold. They include:

  • Faster and more accurate reporting, analysis, and planning
  • Faster, more informed and more accurate decision making
  • Valuable insights into your customers’ behaviour
  • Providing personalised/tailored services more easily, thereby adding value for customers
  • Identifying new revenue opportunities
  • Increased collaboration between business units
  • Streamlined tracking of KPIs
  • Improved operational efficiency
  • Identifying effective ways to reduce costs
  • Improving employee satisfaction and enhance retention
  • Encouraging a self-service and data-driven culture in your organisation that reduces the burden on your IT and data teams

And the benefits don’t stop there. In times of such rapid change, advanced BI and analytics platforms use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to produce predictive analytics. Predictive analytics creates insights that help you get ahead of your competitors by giving answers and recommendations to “what-if” scenarios and questions that you may not have even considered yourself. 

Using the data at your fingertips, you can recognise patterns and behaviour, highlight relationships in the data, and instigate action accordingly. And this can be done in real-time, making businesses that deploy it more responsive to customer demands and to whatever conditions or pressures they experience, from supply chain issues to production, from marketing to logistics, from finance to HR and more.

Considering that British businesses will experience a myriad of possible outcomes and knock-on effects from the UK’s departure from the EU, using analytics of this kind could prove crucial to avoiding pitfalls and taking advantage of the opportunities presented by this new reality.

Furthermore, the huge volume of data generated by companies and their customers is a challenge and an opportunity itself. You can only glean great insights from this data if you can get to it and analyse it properly. The proliferation of data storage environments — on-prem or cloud, private or vendor-managed, data warehouses and data lakes — means that you need a way of accessing data, whatever its source and wherever and however it’s stored. Otherwise, you risk missing vital information that could be a game-changer for your business. To achieve this, you need to deploy the latest cloud-native BI and analytics platform that fits any environment, so you can be sure you can access all the data that can be available to you.

Which platform should you choose to boost Britain’s businesses?

These are persuasive reasons to invest in a BI and analytics platform, but it’s a big decision and the options can seem bewildering. Luckily, you can turn to independent analysts to get an objective overview of the main platforms in the market. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant shows you who are the visionaries in the market and explains why. The G2 Crowd and the Forrester Wave™  reports examine which are the leading platforms and what sets them apart. And of course, it would be disingenuous if we didn’t blow our own trumpet, here in the Sisense blog, where we’re proud to introduce the latest version of our BI and analytics platform.  Sisense’s cloud-native platform with AI Exploration Paths brings you the most comprehensive, flexible and agile analytics, and delivers game-changing data visualisation and insights to supercharge your business.

Rich food for thought here, so if you’d like to learn more, click the link below, or contact us directly.