The Business Intelligence (BI) industry grew another 10% last year to $25 billion, almost a third of the entire golf industry. But what is "BI" and why is it becoming a must-have tool in the business world? What could it mean for golf courses, private clubs, and small businesses?
According to Forrester Research, business intelligence is "a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information used to enable more effective strategic, tactical, and operational insights and decision-making."
You'll find even more if you look it up on Wikipedia.
Fancy buzzwords aside, BI is a system that collects raw data and transforms it into useful charts and graphs that make it easy to evaluate. It is an invaluable tool for those who want to make fast data-driven decisions. At Metolius, we define our business intelligence service as follows:
Metolius Cloud Connect is a fully-automated system that combines raw data from your systems into easy to understand charts and graphs.
That simple definition belies the complexity of the tool. First, we find out how to access data from a source system like point-of-sale, tee sheet, or survey results. Next, we learn how the data is organized so we can pull it into a "single source of truth" database or data warehouse. Then we normalize the data so that it fits together. Finally, we work directly with the end-user to design custom dashboards, developing benchmarks, KPI's, and unique metrics along the way. This process involves a host of cloud-based systems working together with custom software we develop.
That sounds complicated and pricey (it's not as expensive as you think).
So what can business intelligence do for a golf course or private club? Let's ponder a few scenarios:
A general manager gets a daily 1-page summary that compares month-do-date rounds categories and sales by department to budget and prior year.
A course owner has a weekly summary of each department's revenues, expenses, and customer service scores.
A membership director has a list of members who have not visited the club in 30 days updated nightly.
A head golf professional tracks sales/inventory benchmarks monthly to determine OTBs.
A marketing director knows the exact cost-per-lead metrics from a recent Facebook campaign.
In each scenario, the staffer is getting useful data to perform their duties at the highest level. The data is also likely already available in its source system. That's if the staffer remembers to log in, possesses strong Excel skills, and has the time to turn cells into meaningful insights.
In most small businesses, time is the most valuable resource. It takes more time to get raw data into a usable format than it does to understand it. Managers wear many hats, and data-transformation-and-visualization-expert is pretty low on the list.
Business intelligence gives managers instant, automatic access to custom-built insights. It is a transformative tool for managers who want to use data to inform decisions. It's designed to be used by field-managers, no excel skills required. BI's whole goal is to democratize the ability to make data-driven decisions.
At Metolius, we believe in BI and what it can do for the golf industry. By leveraging a custom cloud architecture, we've built a custom business intelligence system that is affordable for courses and clubs.
With our tool in your hands, you'll be able to make faster decisions. You'll have a 10x capacity to evaluate trends and historical data. You'll make better-informed strategic decisions.
Better yet, align our business intelligence service with our marketing automation or agency services. Then we will align your marketing campaigns and advertising spends around the areas that are driving the highest ROI.