The nature of business has changed over the centuries, starting with the industrial revolution, moving through the digital revolution, and now ushering in the intelligent revolution. In adapting to each of these stages, companies have industrialized, digitized, and now are intelligizing.
The industrial and digital revolutions created an upheaval and urgency in which companies had to transform their businesses or risk losing ground to competitors. Organizations could gain or lose advantages depending on their ability to optimize their business processes using automation and digital technology. The new intelligize wave that is emerging promises to have at least as powerful impact on businesses as the previous two waves.
Intelligizing your business means to harness the power of data and intelligent applications to transform the way you run your business. Cross-enterprise intelligent applications—including business planning, business intelligence (BI), and artificial intelligence (AI)—are core building blocks of an intelligent analytics strategy. The most current generation of these products are making the best use of the large volumes of data that are now available.
The path to intelligizing your business is a process that involves laying a strong foundation. The three basic building blocks to intelligize your business are:
- A business intelligence solution, which in our 100% Microsoft stack is Power BI.
- An intelligent business planning solution, which for us is deFacto Planning.
- An AI capability, which is built into deFacto Planning and is supported by Azure Machine Learning, SQL ML and other AI and ML components.
BI Sets the Stage
There is a strong correlation between business outcomes and data. Establishing BI tools throughout your organization enables you to visualize data and make decisions.
The first step is to recognize how data impacts your business decisions. This is a critical step that includes taking stock of the data you have and the data that is missing for key business decisions, then taking steps to obtain the data that will enable you to make those key decisions. This process usually involves the use of a BI tool that can enable you to visualize data and envision how that data impacts business decisions.
Corporate Planning Systems Act Like the Brain
BI tools are somewhat tactical, in that they are good for visualizing data but not for structuring data, especially financial data, across your organization. And BI tools do not have the robust planning and analysis capabilities found in corporate planning systems. In fact, in an intelligent company, corporate planning systems should be able to act as the “brains” of your information infrastructure. A good corporate planning system will aggregate key data from around your organization, structure it, and add the necessary business intelligence to model parts or all of your business.
AI Makes That Brain Smarter and Faster Thinking
Finally, once your company understands how data impacts business decisions and the key data has been acquired and incorporated in a form that can be easily analyzed and accessed, then more advanced analytics can be applied in a meaningful way. Examples include machine learning for predictive forecasting and recommendation engines, and AI applied to business processes.
AI solutions like chatbots can be employed to generate specific data that your organization may not have but needs. For example, you may need to acquire data for personalization, product planning, and customer service. As you acquire the appropriate data, you will have a strong corporate planning system in place to integrate and leverage the data.
As you accumulate valuable data, you can take the next step, which is to apply AI to that data to enable you to make higher-level decisions. Once you have your intelligize foundation in place, data gathering and analysis becomes a virtuous cycle that enables you to transform your business and achieve greater business results.