Business Analytics in financial management


Turn data into strategic insights!
Business Analytics in financial management

Business Analytics is an area that focuses on collecting, organizing, analyzing, sharing, and monitoring data to help companies make strategic decisions based on relevant information. Business analytics transforms raw data into valuable insights, helping to define market and competition strategies and making company operations more efficient.

Business Analytics combines functionalities, technologies, practices, and applications to explore and investigate the history of business data, intending to gain insights and drive decision-making based on evidence and data.

For company management, business analytics platforms can be particularly useful:

  • in identifying Valuable Insights, to discover crucial information in the data collected that can influence important decisions; 
  • in Optimizing Processes and Operational Efficiency, since it helps to improve internal processes, increasing productivity and reducing costs; 
  • Anticipating Trends and Changes in the Market, predicting changes in the market adapting business strategies proactively; and  
  • Personalizing Customer Experiences, helping with the targeted configuration of products and services, based on customer preferences or market demand.

In addition, Business Analytics solutions can help companies remain competitive, especially in the current scenario, where the need for reliable, up-to-date information is crucial to solving problems and taking advantage of opportunities for growth and expansion. A business analytics tool is thus a lever for making informed decisions, which can result in more effective management and long-term success.

How can a company in Portugal implement a Business Analytics tool?

Implementing business analytics tools in Portugal can be a structured process involving several stages:

1. Defining Objectives and Strategy:
  • Identify the business objectives you want to achieve.
  • Create a Business Analytics strategy that is aligned with the company's objectives.

2. Data Collection and Management:
  • Define what data is needed to support the business analytics strategy.
  • Implement systems to collect and manage data efficiently.

3. Data Analysis and Interpretation:
  • Use statistical methods and tools to analyze data.
  • Interpret the results to obtain insights that can add value to business decisions.

4. Technology and Tools:
  • Choose the right Business Analytics technologies and tools, such as Power BI, that are compatible with the company's needs.
  • Ensure that the team has the necessary skills to use these tools effectively.

5. Data-driven culture:
  • Promote a corporate culture that values data-driven decision-making.
  • Encourage collaboration between departments to share insights and best practices.

6. Monitoring and Continuous Improvement:
  • Establish metrics to evaluate the success of Business Analytics implementation.
  • Use the insights gained to continuously improve business processes and strategies.

7. Training and Skills Development:
  • Invest in training to develop teams' analytical skills.
  • Consider hiring or consulting experts in Business Analytics, if necessary.

8. Compliance and Data Security:
  • Work with tools and suppliers to ensure that the implementation complies with data protection regulations, such as the GDPR.
  • Implement internal and external security measures to protect company data.

Fast and effective implementation process

Successful implementation of Business Analytics requires an ongoing commitment to data quality, team training and adapting to changing business and technology needs. It's a long-term investment that can bring significant benefits to your company, particularly in the context of financial and human resources management, where business analytics can be particularly valuable. 

Working with the right partner makes the whole implementation process faster and more effective. Hydra IT has a team of consultants specializing in Business Analytics, who work to offer an efficient response to each Client's needs and who will help turn your data into intelligent decisions.

Advantages of Business Analytics in Financial Management

The financial sector is one of the most competitive and complex in the world. To stay ahead of the competition, you need to keep up to date, adopt best practices, and use the right tools. One of these technologies is Business Analytics & Intelligence, which allows companies to make more impactful strategic decisions. In the financial sector, this is especially important, since the decisions made can have a direct impact on the organization's financial health.

Today, many companies still use Excel (or other similar tools) to collect and correlate data - from the market and the organization - in the hope of making the right decision. However, when it comes to managing a company, using Excel alone presents a limited capacity for analysis and is vulnerable to human interference and error.

No matter how many filters there are in Excel, it's not easy to spend hours in front of static tables interpreting data and trying to come up with scenarios that make it possible to identify possible faults and correct them, for example. When this analysis is carried out using an intuitive platform such as Power BI, which allows information to be cross-referenced clearly and assertively, it is much easier to reach a precise conclusion and make the best decision.

In addition, technologies are constantly evolving. As technology advances, new trends such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and real-time analysis shape the field of Business Analytics & Intelligence, with significant advances in digital transformation and task automation.

In short, the main benefits for a company of using a Business Analytics solution is to make its organization's financial management more efficient and secure:
  • Income and Expense Forecasting: Business Analytics allows financial managers to use historical data and market trends to forecast future income and potential expenses, optimizing financial planning.
  • Risk Analysis: The ability to identify and assess financial risks is enhanced, enabling more effective risk management.
  • Investment Optimization: Analysis of large volumes of financial data helps identify the best investment opportunities and evaluate the performance of current investments.
  • Controlled Information Sharing: The possibility of limiting data access and customizing the information that will be available by hierarchy or position, for example, offering more security in the department and to the company as a whole.

Power BI – Microsoft's Business Analytics & Intelligence platform

The Microsoft Power BI business analytics platform provides tools for transforming raw data into relevant, actionable information. It allows users to create interactive and visually appealing reports and dashboards, which can be shared within an organization or incorporated into applications or websites.

Power BI is a powerful tool that helps companies understand their data and use it to improve decision-making and operational efficiency. With the ability to integrate and visualize data from various sources, Power BI is essential for any company that wants to be data-driven.

The application analyzes a company's historical and current data and presents the results in intuitive visual formats. It follows a four-step methodology that transforms raw data into easy-to-grasp insights that can be used by everyone in the organization.

The first three: data collection, analysis, and visualization, create the necessary conditions for the final step of decision-making. Before these Business Intelligence tools, such as Microsoft Power BI, existed, companies had to do much of their analysis manually and that's why these tools are being used more and more: they automate many of the processes and save companies time, resources and effort, which translates into greater efficiency and profits.

Power BI's Usefulness in Business

Power BI transforms data into graphs and interactive visualizations, making it easier to understand and identify trends and patterns, and can connect to a wide variety of data sources, including local databases, cloud services, and simple files such as Excel. The tool allows teams to share insights and collaborate on reports and dashboards in real-time and users can also customize the content to meet the specific needs of their function or sector of activity. 

The use of Power BI complies with all security standards, guaranteeing secure access to data and reports through authentication and access control factors. As it offers a free version and is easily scalable, it is suitable for companies of all sizes, from startups to large corporations.

Power BI in Finance

Power BI can be extremely useful in the financial area, offering a variety of practical applications to improve analysis and decision-making. These are just a few examples of how Power BI can be applied to enrich the finance function within an organization, bringing clarity and precision to financial management.
  • Visualize Cash Flows: Real-time visualization of cash flow, allowing efficient monitoring of financial inflows and outflows; create interactive dashboards that show cash flow in real-time, allowing quick responses to financial changes.
  • Analyze Sales Performance: Evaluation of investment performance through customized dashboards, facilitating decisions on where to allocate resources; identification of trends and areas for improvement; monitoring the sales and profit performance of specific products or regions.
  • Financial Forecasting: Using predictive models to simulate financial scenarios and help make strategic decisions.
  • Stock Management: Monitoring stocks in real-time, helping to predict purchasing needs and avoid excesses or shortages.
  • Accounts Payable Tracking: Control of the company's financial obligations, with visibility on payment deadlines and priorities.
  • Monitoring metrics (KPIs): Monitoring key performance indicators, such as customer response time and conversion rate, to optimize financial operations.
  • Creating Customized Calculations and Measures: Using formulas to create specific financial metrics, such as profit margin or return on investment, providing a more in-depth and personalized analysis.

Business Analytics offers a significant competitive advantage, allowing organizations to be more proactive, predict trends and behaviors, and make informed decisions that can lead to greater efficiency and profitability. Power BI is a powerful tool that can help visualize and interpret this data, making it accessible and understandable to managers, and allowing them to act on reliable insights.

At Hydra IT we implement and develop solutions tailored to the specifics of organizations, and we can also help your business implement the changes needed to achieve better results. 

* This article was written by Hydra iT, for the  Associação para o Progresso da Direção de Empresas.