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It’s Not Enough Just to Have BI Tools, You Have to Know How to Use Them


Anthem Marketing Solution CEO John Keenan’s Interview with Clutch

One of the latest trends in the business world is the use of business intelligence (BI) data analytics tools. According to a recent survey performed by B2B research firm Clutch, 71 percent of people who use BI data analytics tools for work in the US, started doing so within the past four years.

It is easy to see why businesses are so much more interested in data recently. Data offers more information about consumers and can improve a company’s marketing and sales. And, with the increasing popularity of social media and smartphones, consumers produce data in unprecedented quantities.

But, just because businesses invest in BI tools does not mean they know how to use them properly.

Anthem Marketing Solutions CEO John Keenan, spoke with Clutch to give context to the survey findings. In particular, he outlined ways that businesses can use BI tools more effectively.

1. Some BI Tools Require More Technical Expertise Than Others

Some businesses migrate to BI tools that are beyond their technical knowledge. This makes it difficult for businesses to benefit from the data they collect.

“For example, we have a client who is struggling to figure out if their promotions are making money. But, they don’t have the best approach for using the tool to solve their problem. Because of this, the tool isn’t benefiting them,” Keenan said.

Context is key when it comes to using BI data effectively.

“Once we’re able to help them think about their data in the right context, it opens their eyes to what their promotions are really doing for the business and how to improve them going forward,” Keenan said. “For example, they could tailor different offers to specific segments of their customer base.”

2. Identify Data That’s Useful to The Business, Not Just What’s Publicized in the Media

There is a disconnect between what excites the media about BI data and how businesses actually use their data.

Specifically, analytics experts are excited about how businesses can take advantage of unstructured data – information that lacks a pre-defined data model, such as the text of a Facebook post or an image on Instagram.

But, in terms of the practical use of BI tools today, structured data – information that is highly organized and fits easily into a database, such as locations and dates – is a better resource for businesses.

In the future, Keenan believes unstructured data will play a bigger role in business decisions.

“Five years from now, when you start to see more of the millennial, digital generation owning homes and making purchasing decisions, there will be a greater emphasis on digital first,” Keenan said. “This will change businesses. It’s a good idea to start planning for how to take advantage of unstructured and user-generated data now, so you’re prepared in the future.”