The term “Business Intelligence” is very generic and often thought of as “dashboards and scorecards”.   The definition of business intelligence is broader than that – the best definition we’ve found is:

Business intelligence (BI) is an umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.

Gartner Group

It’s important to think about BI in broader terns than dashboards – to improve and optimize decisions and performance you need to

  1. Design dashboards and reports based on the role of the person using them. Consider the purpose of each component of a reporting package – the design of dashboards and reports should support the “use cases” of the roles using it.  What decisions does a project manager make or what risks does a property manager need to monitor?
  2. The processes to create the data underlying reports need to be consistent and accurate – garbage in, garbage out
  3. Information needs to be timely.  For example a balance needs to be struck in closing of GL month ends between making accrual guesses and waiting for information to come in. Issuing financial statements on the 10th of the next month with a few accruals is better than waiting until the 25th so budget variances can be acted upon earlier

We’ve had the privilege of working with industry leading construction and real estate companies to hone their reporting into clear, actionable information for each major role in their organization.  Once your staff gets the information to help them succeed in their role they spend far more time working on the business and less time fire fighting.