To BI or Not to BI – That is the question!
I love my job – no doubt about it! ProfitSword is a great company and I think it offers the very best solutions and applications to the industry. In fact, I have often heard from our partners (we don’t refer to them as clients), and ownership groups that ProfitSword is the industry standard. I wholeheartedly agree!
Now, from the other side of my mouth I will honestly tell you that BI applications are not for everyone. BI is a complicated undertaking that requires a lot of resources, especially at the start. For a small company, this may prove to be an overwhelming project. Having a BI solution changes the entire company culture, and if the company does not adopt this change, the project will be doomed to failure.
With success often attributed to the size of an organization, a company with 6-8 limited service hotels, for example, could get by using a simple tool like Microsoft Excel. It is easy to use and easy to manage for a portfolio this size. On the other hand, a group of 5+ large, full-service, complex hotels should definitely be investing in a BI solution. Managing massive amounts of data using Excel for such companies would be a nightmare and fraught with human error.
I recently spoke with a company that had 200-plus separate locations spread across the world and they were attempting to use Excel to manage major functions like forecasting, budgeting and daily or monthly reporting. I was not shocked when the person told me that they have had data errors that equaled millions of dollars. This company could be the “poster child” for advocating a BI solution.
ROI must also be taken into consideration. Don’t spend millions when a few thousand will do the trick. And don’t go cheap when you are throwing away millions in unnecessary payroll and inefficiencies. Determine your threshold for pain and act accordingly. Know your team’s limitations and strengths. Do your homework. Don’t jump into a major BI initiative until you know all of the potential ramifications for your business. Have goals in mind and ask these questions:
• How much can you afford?
• What is the expected ROI?
• What stresses will the project place on your team members and could there possibly be turnover as a result?
• What will the impact be on your operation during the installation and implementation process?
• Will your company be better off with the technology or without it? What about five years from now?
Finally, keep these truths in mind: data is king and information is power. There is a great quote from a book called “Hug Your Customer” by Jack Mitchel. “Two companies can be similar in every way, but if one has better technology, the one without the technology can’t possibly keep up!”