One common trend we see in digital transformation (or adaptation as we prefer to call them) is a majority of companies don’t manage their information well, yet they want to have the benefits of Business Intelligence for dashboards, metrics and KPI’s. To get there though, a business needs to become intelligent. Business Intelligence (BI) software isn’t a solution that will be viable however, until a company moves towards being an intelligent business. Confused? Let’s unpack what we mean.

BI software is just that, software that has good analytics capabilities so you can slice and dice your information, not just data. But no BI software or even a Knowledge Base, is useful until the organisation develops good Information Management (IM) processes. So what then, do we mean by an intelligent business?

An intelligent business is one that has mastered the management of its data and knows how to turn data into information. Once information is well managed, it can then turn into knowledge. From knowledge a business can create better actions through more informed decisions that end in desired results. Essentially, this is called the DIKAR (Data, Information, Knowledge, Actions, Results) model.

When the business has effectively harnessed knowledge, deploying BI solutions and creating meaningful dashboards becomes easier and more reliable. When a business can get the right information to the right person at the right time to make the right decision, it has become an intelligent business.

For many businesses however, they have data all over the place; financial data, CRM’s for sales, marketing and customer service, supply chain data and so on. Small to mid-size businesses rarely have Information Management (IM) processes and structures in place however, to harness all this data and turn it into knowledge.

Doing this requires some discipline and often, a fair bit of change management. Many employees see the data they use to complete their work as a key part of their internal power and job security. So moving towards an intelligent business outcome often means a shift in culture around the sharing of information. It also means better data governance, good IM structure and behind that, solid Information Architecture (IA) and executive management buy-in and support over the long-term.

If a business wants to become more digitally mature by harnessing Information Technologies, to be truly successful and achieve any kind of maturity, it must first become an intelligent business. When you follow the DIKAR model and harness all the data and information the business creates, a whole new world of opportunities open up for new revenue lines, increases in productivity, increased profit margins and shareholder value.

To compete in today’s digital world, no business will truly grow until it becomes an intelligent business. While that may seem a huge and costly effort, it doesn’t have to be. We’ve developed a methodology for small to medium sized businesses to get their cost-effectively and with speed.

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