The U.S. recently held its Olympic trials for several different sporting events, including track & field, gymnastics, swimming, and more. You know the drill: the first three finishers make the team; the others go home. This is the cruel reality of competition. Like it or not, it enables those who are the best at what they do to rise to the top. The same is true for business.
Organizations that thrive on competition and have the infrastructure in place to gather, analyze, and act on data are the ones that rise to the top. The others either go home or, more likely, go out of business. Because the global economy continues to become more competitive, businesses need an operational success platform in the form of an enterprise information system (EIS) to separate from their competitors and rise to the top.
During the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, when computers became more prominent, and companies began leveraging technology to help them make decisions, organizations could still take their time pouring over reams of data to reach certain conclusions. Back then, decision-making was akin to turning a battleship at sea; it will eventually turn, but it took time. Today’s businesses don’t have that luxury. With advanced technologies and microprocessors handling more data in a minute than most companies from that bygone era could handle in a year, more organizations are looking to EIS to move their battleships on a dime.
What is an Enterprise Information System (EIS)?
An enterprise information system is a solution of integrated systems that work together to perform high-quality services to small, midsize, or large organizations. In other words, an EIS allows organizations to process a great deal of data in a small amount of time to make quick, accurate decisions.
Different types of EIS are employed by various organizations today, including content management systems, customer relationship management solutions, enterprise resource planning software, supply chain management tools, and business intelligence-data visualization solutions. More organizations are finding the benefits of business intelligence-data visualization solutions and are implementing them as critical components of their infrastructure. Data visualization solutions have become the go-to platform for quickly viewing large amounts of data, helping organizations and key decision-makers ensure operational success.
What does EIS do?
An EIS helps organizations in four critical areas, enabling operational success and a platform to provide businesses with a clear competitive advantage.
1. Helps decision-makers make sense of complex data
With an ever-growing number of platforms and channels to collect data, there’s an increasing need to make sense of it all. Top performing organizations not only capture necessary data as soon as it becomes available, but they also analyze that data in real-time. This includes a great deal of structured and unstructured data, coming in at increasing velocities.
This notion of “Big Data” can be intimidating for many organizations, but EIS facilitates standardization of data and an opportunity to view complex data in simple terms. Fold in that data visualization further contextualizes and simplifies large data sets, and the decision-making process becomes that much easier. This transparency gives decision-makers a real advantage, enabling them to make sense of the most complex data available and identify hidden opportunities while also avoiding potential pitfalls.
Another way to view this dynamic is to understand that data does exist, whether you gather it or not. The question becomes whether your organization has the tools and the desire to capture and analyze it. It’s essential to keep in mind that your competition is already gathering data and making decisions based on that insight.
2. Enables faster decision making
Capturing complex data is one thing. Ensuring it’s readily actionable is another. Too many examples exist illustrating the turning point where organizations waited too long to make critical decisions. Think of Blockbuster Video. By the time the nation’s leading video rental company saw the future in streaming content online, Netflix had already carved out an unbreakable position in the market. When Blockbuster tried to play catchup, it was too little too late. History is filled with examples like Blockbuster, organizations that waited too long to make critical decisions, only to regret their choice on the way to bankruptcy.
A robust EIS in the form of data visualization gives decision-makers in the most critical roles the advantage they need to make the most insightful decisions quickly. As data comes in, the competitive landscape takes form, and, like moving a piece on a chessboard, decision-makers can make decisions that benefit their organizations.
3. Provides insight on the latest trends
As we touched on earlier, Blockbuster didn’t react fast enough to reposition itself as a streaming service and is now relegated to the history of failed companies because of their lack of vision. Another example of a valuable brand not taking advantage of a critical trend is Kodak. Long the company synonymous with black and white and color film used by everyone from photographers to Hollywood filmmakers, Kodak refused to see the trend toward digital cameras in the 1970s. By the time they made a serious effort to transition to digital, the market had shifted once again to smartphones, leaving the company perplexed and unprepared for yet another change.
Disasters such as these could have been avoided had Kodak gathered the correct data and understood the meaning behind several trends occurring right before their eyes (film becoming obsolete, digital cameras transitioning to smartphones, and more). A data visualization platform allows companies to gather critical marketplace data. It will also enable them to configure the data to see and understand the latest trends and opportunities.
Key decision-makers can’t afford to be caught flat-footed by dark data and unprepared for inevitable changes in the marketplace. Audience and customer preferences change. The only way to remain abreast and ahead of change is to see it coming. Identifying and taking advantage of trends before it’s too late is a significant benefit of EIS and puts you and your organization in a position to succeed over and over.
4. Helps transform your business
Business transformation is more the norm than the exception these days. For companies that wish to survive and thrive eventual marketplace shifts, embracing transformation as a brand characteristic can make the difference between being a follower and a marketplace leader. By gathering and analyzing data to make necessary decisions, organizations should embrace change as part of their culture and leverage EIS as a central component of that culture to ensure organizational excellence.
When your business needs to pivot, it should have the infrastructure to move quickly and in the right direction. EIS in the form of business intelligence and data visualization enables companies to quickly gather, digest, and action data to remain one or more steps ahead.
Understanding the benefits of an EIS is a necessary step in embracing the challenges posed by big data and the need to make sense of it. Gathering, analyzing, and using the insight retrieved from critical marketplace data will not only put you in a position to succeed it will also position your organization to compete with anyone under any circumstances.