Picking a Business Intelligence (BI) tool is no easy matter. But the value it can provide far outweighs the difficulty of that decision. To help you see the potential of such tools, here's a list of 10 common problems BI tools can help you with. 

 

Sometimes, bringing in a new solution in a business is a tough task — you have to fight the status quo, and once you're done with that, you need to deal with change management issues. That's why no matter what kind of tool you're looking at, being able to provide a thorough business case is fundamental — the following 10 common problems will help you build a solid case for business intelligence solutions.

1. I have a hard time tracking project information precisely

In many cases, service companies have a hard time getting a complete view of their activities. No tool allows them to easily know the current status of each of their projects — with the consequences you can imagine for all project teams who are forced to work in the dark. 

A smart planning solution will provide visibility over a longer time horizon, while offering precise information for all ongoing projects.

According to an SPI study, providing real-time access to project data increases the number of projects delivered on time by 7% on average. 

 

2. I have a hard time keeping track of the project scope

A planning solution will provide a clear breakdown of the tasks that compose each project. All the necessary steps required to complete the project will be included, as well as the time required to complete them, and the resources allocated to the task. Getting a better picture of the chronology in which tasks will happen gives a better understanding of the situation, which can help the company increase its efficiency.

A centralized view of the project and its scope also means that projects are more likely to be delivered on time and on scope, with no missing deliverables. By gather all information on the same platform, with clearly established responsibilities, companies can react faster when the unexpected arises. 

According to the same study, a professional services automation solution can help reduce project failure (projects that are not delivered) by up to 45%.

 

3. I feel like we're not learning from past mistakes

Making the same mistake twice (or more) can be enraging. By learning from the past, for example when conducting post-mortem reviews, it's easier to avoid falling on the same obstacles. 

One of the goals of business intelligence is to take advantage of everything you've learned in the past by giving you access to that information so you can improve your future decisions where that information is relevant.

A tool such as Beeye helps you document past errors so you do not repeat them. You can adjust your processes so that when recurring or similar projects happen, you adapt to constantly improve your results. 

 

4. I have a hard time getting my team to work together

If you use a smart planning tool, each member of the team can have a look their contribution to ongoing activities and get a better view of the role they play. Employees fill time sheets, and reports are created automatically based on the data to offer real-time tracking, as mentioned earlier. Everyone can more easily estimate how much they contributed to each project.

This increased feeling of ownership can be a powerful factor in increasing the morale of your teams, and as a consequences, the success of your projects.

 

5. I can't easily estimate what new projects my team can take on

By collecting information about the workload of all employees in real time, planning software can guarantee a smarter allocation of tasks. No one is left inactive too long, nor overworked — you strike the right balance and keep everyone productive while avoiding burnout. 

You can also keep an eye on resource utilization, which is crucial information when you want to ensure you'll have enough resource to deliver new projects you might want to take on.

If you have a small team, using a simple capacity planning graph will help you improve on those aspects. You can use Excel to begin with, and we've even written a quick capacity planning graph tutorial on that subject.

 

6. I often end up spending more time than anticipated on projects

A job for one of your big clients ended 4 days late? A new partner expressed doubts about the quality of his order because you delivered it two weeks earlier than anticipated? 

Such issues probably come from imprecise planning on your side — either too optimistic, or too pessimistic. 

By using a tool like Beeye, you'll be able to take into account all factors that might impact your delivery dates, to make your estimates more precise and realistic.

When you want to drill down on the data, a smart solution will give you more information on the reasons why you did not deliver on time, which can often have many complex causes (skill gaps in your staff, overworked resources, etc.) . That data can in turn be used when you want to justify a recruitment need.

 

7. I take many decisions based on Excel spreadsheets

For small teams, it makes perfect sense to plan, manage and assign tasks with Excel or Google spreadsheets. They're a staple in most offices. However, as soon as your team expands, you'll hit a brick wall.

Excel really struggles when it comes to working collaboratively. And when making decisions quickly becomes crucial (as it does increasingly when companies grow), having a solution that provides real time information in a centralized way becomes a necessity.

If you need any more convincing, we've looked at a few Excel spreadsheets commonly used by managers, and our findings were quite... surprising (should we say scary?).

 

8. I am not tracking any performance indicators for my business

The role of all software that deals with business intelligence is to give you access to data in a way that is easy to consume and that can help you make decisions that will impact the performance of your company.

But how can you do that if you haven't even set up any performance indicators for your company? That's like running blind.

Luckily, smart solutions will suggest KPIs (key performance indicators) you can start tracking, which will give you a deeper understanding of your business by helping you focus on metrics that move the needle for you.

 

9. I find it hard to track the profitability of my projects

Most businesses — we hope — should be capable of getting basic information about their overall budgets, costs and profits fairly easily. But when it comes to digging deeper into that data, however, most organizations are unable to tie their profitability (or lack thereof) to a particular cause. Are some types of projects less profitable? Did a particular client cause a significant loss? Those questions are too hard to answer without the adequate tools.

With a business intelligence solution, profitability can be analysed easily as all information is organized, tagged, and easily retrievable. According to the SPI study mentioned above, such solutions provide a 24% average increase to project profitability.  

10. I feel like I spend a lot of time on administrative tasks

One of the main benefits of business intelligence is to tell you exactly how much time you're spending on different types of activities. But that's not all. When paired with a smart planning and time tracking tool, you'll be able to improve the way you manage your time, so that you allocate it to activities that are more profitable for you.

Of course, not all administrative tasks can be removed, but you can strike a better balance by being more aware of how your time is spent.

A SaaS solution like Beeye will help you go even one step further, but automating some of these tasks entirely and freeing up time in your busy agenda.

As you can see, setting up business intelligence and planning solutions can help you with numerous issues, which makes it a strategic investment for your company.

If you want to undertake such a project, Beeye can walk you through the first few steps to guide you in your decision.