Business Intelligence Tools: What They Need
Business intelligence tools need reports that can vary depending on the industry. That’s part of why we focus on providing expertise in the freight business through logistics. The types of things we need in logistics are very different than what we need in say, health care, for example.
We specialize in business intelligence tools for logistics. Some of the things are generic. One example is customer trending. It’s helpful to track a customer’s trending in their payment as well as their payment volume with you. You would want to know if they usually pay you within 30 days and now they’re paying you within 45 days. Or if their payment frequency changes. These are things that would apply to any customer across any industry.
When we start talking about freight, we want to look at the trends of how much volume the customer is moving with us. We would not only see whether the customer’s volume is increasing or decreasing. We would see inside the freight too. So we need to be a little more intelligent about that and look at seasonality.
Shipping During Peak Seasons
We know that a lot of our customers ship in during their peak seasons. This could mean that this particular customer specializes in a product that is used during the summer. They may be selling beach products or watercraft products. Well, those guys will need to work with us a lot more during the months of February and March. This is to ensure that the products are in the stores at the right time. For a customer who sells a product that is popular on Christmas, we start working on that around September or October.
This industry experience adds tremendous value to the things we need to understand in our BI tools. It helps us specialize and fine tune our business intelligence offerings. It enhances our business intelligence capabilities in the industries that we work with.
One area we work in for example is when you buy a new business intelligence platform. It could be the Microsoft BI Portal, the one that comes empty. It comes with nothing in it. You have some canned reports that you can put in there and show, but they’re not industry specific. So working with an industry-specific provider gives you a leg up. We like to say that a blank business tool is like hiring a newborn infant to work at your company. There’s is a lot of learning and inputting intelligence to figure that out.
The other option is that you bring in somebody who already has that expertise. This is like hiring somebody who’s college-educated. They don’t know everything that you need to do for your business, but they know the industry. They know how to do most of the important things already. So you’re coming out of the box on day one ready to hit the ground running. Then you refine that learning and refine those tools to make it exactly what you need. You bring that college education to a master’s degree or to a doctorate.
Business intelligence tools can save a tremendous amount of human hours. A lot of times, it improves your ability to keep your people focused on the important jobs that they need to do. Here’s an example. We don’t want to have people spending a lot of time looking up information and data to try to figure out what data means. It’s a lot better to use a business intelligence tool or AI platform like Tai.
Tools like these can show your users important information when they need it. This happens instead of having them go look for it. It lets them be a lot more efficient, effective, and productive. These are all things that we want to focus on. We want our users, our people that are using our system, our employees, to be good at what they do. We don’t want them spending all their time doing data entry. You don’t need that. We don’t want them spending a lot of time doing simple tasks or tasks that we can automate.
Business Intelligence Tools Build Relationships With Customers
We want our users and employees to spend time building relationships with customers. We want them to talk to our customer and ask them what’s going on. This means they ask them how we can help make their day better, how we can help provide value to our end customers. We want to provide the right business intelligence tools and the contextual information to our staff and to your organization’s staff. This allows those staff members to be more productive. It lets them ask better questions and provide better services to your customers.
As technology has progressed, being cloud-based becomes more and more of a key topic that we deal with. As we move along, the trend in technology is cloud-based for sure. What does it mean to be cloud-based? Cloud-based is such a common term, used in so many different ways. But there are some very specific ways that being cloud-based can help to run your business.
For example, as a freight company and a logistics provider, we want you to focus on the part you’re good at. You can focus on logistics. We want you to focus on finding carriers that are the best fit for your customer. We want you to focus on building a strong customer relationship. I don’t want you to focus on setting up your virtual machine environment so that your server is running all day. We don’t want you to spend time setting up Cloudflare for security. We don’t want you spending a lot of time going and trying to figure out how to set up an SSL certificate.
Focus on Your Core Business
Those are all things that we can let somebody else handle so you can focus on your core business. You can let a cloud-based system focus on what they’re good at. It handles the technology piece in the case that I mentioned. Let us focus on those SSL certificates. Let us focus on setting up and managing VMs and restarting our servers for Windows updates. Moreover, as a freight provider, you can focus on freight services. Or as a logistics third-party provider, you focus on helping your customer understand freight.
You can’t expect your customer to understand how SIA compares to New England Motor Freight. Or SIA compared to working with Estes. We don’t expect the end shipper to understand all the differences. But we still like to provide it so that you know that. It then puts your customers’ trust in you with that information. They would trust you to put their freight on the right carrier. They would know to look to you to provide the right type of freight services for them and for their specific needs.
So that’s what being cloud-based offers to you. As a freight broker, we’ll take care of that. That’s what we’re good at. It matters to us to understand the right type of VM. We know whether your environment should be running on Linux or Windows. We know whether we should be running a Mongo database or a relational database.
These are all things that you can let your cloud service provider deal with and manage and do well. Because it’s what we deal with every day. As a freight broker, your customers should rely on you to do what you do well. That means finding the right carriers, building that relationship, and managing their freight.