It’s that time of year again: time to decide whether to renew or renegotiate a costly data licensing contract. You start to draft a to-do list:

  • Send an email to the purchasing department and ask them for a copy of the current contract and licensing terms for your review, since you don’t have access to the procurement system.
  • Send emails and reminders to seated users and their admins, asking if they’d like to renew.
  • Sift through your email inbox to find and tally responses to the renewal survey.   Follow up calls to non-respondents.
  • Find the license utilization figures you requested from the vendor.  They’re attached to an email, too, and must be at least six months old by now, but it’s the best information you have.
  • Plug every data point you can find into that Excel template you optimistically put together a while back but never quite got around to filling out.
  • Try to remember the thing your manager said in a meeting last week about possible budget reductions — what was the percentage again?
  • Make a decision driven as much by your gut as by your bottom line.
  • Do it all over again when the next contract comes up for renewal.

Maybe it’s time to have a conversation with your team about the value of business intelligence.

What is business intelligence?

Business intelligence, or BI, is a technology-driven process for analyzing data and presenting actionable information to executives, managers and other stakeholders in aid of making better informed business decisions.

A BI strategy may encompass a number of software features and institutional best practices, including:

  • Dashboarding, which populates data from a variety of sources into a single user interface for ease of day-to-day monitoring.
  • On-demand reporting, which provides users and administrators with the most current data available always at hand.
  • Visualization, which allows for dynamic illustration of data trends over time.
  • Identification of benchmarks and performance indicators, which define a baseline for business goals and enable tracking to future targets.
  • Predictive analytics, which examines patterns in historical data to identify future opportunities and risks.

There are vendor solutions which enable each of these capabilities, and many which support more than one.

Benefits of business intelligence

A thoughtfully crafted BI strategy can offer significant benefits to any organization which traffics heavily in event- and user-driven transactions, whether in sales, marketing, or customer service.

Sharing information effectively. The scalable transparency of BI makes it easy for your organization’s stakeholders to access and analyze relevant, up-to-date information anytime, empowering confident and timely decision-making at all levels and across business units.

Empowering your team. BI allows team members them to be more effective in their roles by ensuring their operational tasks are aligned to strategic objectives — especially important as your organization grows. Reducing time spent on cumbersome tasks such as data entry and report preparation adds value to work and reduces waste.

Enabling nimble pivots. A current, relevant single source of truth for performance monitoring means that issues can be quickly identified and steps can be taken to resolve them while product launches or marketing campaigns are still in flight.

Uncovering new opportunities. Leveraging historical insights not only supports forecasting issues before they arise — it can also point to opportunities for budget reallocation or expanded service offerings.

The cSubs Clarity ℠ service offers a suite of business intelligence capabilities to support insightful, effective management of contracts and vendor relationships. A cSubs account manager can provide your organization with a BI solution customized to the information needs of your organization.