A business insight is any piece of information on a company and its performance. This may include a view into customer needs and preferences, the competitive environment and market dynamics, resource capabilities, technology stack, cost drivers, production processes, and industry trends. These pieces of information are designed to help companies make better short and long-term business decisions.
There are three steps involved in generating strategic business insights:
Data is the foundation for extracting tangible business insights, and can include: KPIs, consumer behaviors, transactional data, company financial data, talent movement reports, time-series data, etc. These valuable data points can be gathered via internal sources (CRM, HRIS, etc.); external sources such as trade news, market research firms, surveys; or from public/open datasets.
Data analysis shows trends, correlations, and patterns. For example, by analyzing talent movement data, a company may track declining trends in target organizations, as well as uncover top-level changes that may drastically impact a business’s strategy.
The resulting conclusions a company reaches from data analysis are called business insights. This is information that can be used to align change initiatives with organizational goals, address resistance causes, identify opportunities for growth, and pursue objectives tailored towards the betterment of a company.
Business owners and organizations have the fundamental responsibility of understanding industry trends and how their own enterprises measure up. Without this clarity, it becomes challenging to make informed decisions that yield growth.
Business insights help companies to benchmark themselves against the competition, streamline work processes, reduce costs, and create predictive models for future success. Companies can also use these insights to see what their employees, customers, and stakeholders need and expect of their services, and, if necessary, improve accordingly. Proper insight also helps guide investments across channels like sales prospecting, paid advertising, social media, public relations, email, and content marketing.
While small- and medium- sized businesses tend to lack the resources to rival larger players, data-driven business insights bridge this gap by providing companies the power to anticipate—and capitalize on— changing markets.
Identifying and validating insights requires reflection and critical thinking, and when done right, companies can leverage top-shelf insights to experience higher returns on their investments and, ultimately, a stronger foundation for lasting business success.