Business Intelligence for Product Teams


It’s a well-known - and rather obvious - fact that for a business to make money it needs to sell something. In most cases this “something” is either a service or a product. A dentist sells a service while a tech company sells a product.

To break it down even more, when it comes to a product, the product is either tangible (a physical object) or intangible (digital - a software or license). While both are different types of products, both require a business intelligence software to gain invaluable insight into profitability - or lack thereof.

The product team is a priceless asset to the structure of a business. It’s their knowledge that supports the other departments on how to sell, market, and operate the product. And with a BI tool, the team can go even further by forecasting data that will reveal all the information that’s happening underneath.

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The product strategy lies in keeping track of certain KPIs: market share, volume, quantities sold (and of course, how many need to be sold), as well as recurring revenue. These performance indicators are in no way the essentials for each product team, it really depends on the type of product being sold.

How much is too much?

The best way to understand the concept of business intelligence is to tell a story. Let’s take a look at tangible products from the fictitious company, Baby Blue.

Baby Blue specializes in children’s products. They buy products from all around the world with retailers in most U.S. states. Products are sent to one main warehouse and then shipped out to their brick and mortar stores.

They use NetSuite as their ERP and have installed specific modules and solutions: Marketplace Reconciliation for their e-Commerce store, Inventory Management for their inventory lifecycle, and WMS for managing their warehouse.

This has been a business process that has worked for years; however, lately, it’s become evident that there are limitations with an ERP in regards to managing inventory. For example, their store in California has the highest revenue and is constantly out of stock; whereas, the store in Illinois often has over-stock in certain baby crib brands.

At the moment, they send the same amount of inventory to each store in hopes that it gets sold and by the end of the year, they’re left with large amounts of inventory that hasn’t been sold. Leaving them to have too much inventory and not enough demand.

For a product-based company, it’s vital that the inventory meets the demand and vice versa. In California, they have too much demand and not enough inventory. In Illinois, they have too much inventory and not enough demand.

Enter Business Intelligence

A BI platform empowers companies to fully control their products and services. By analyzing historical data through customizable dashboards, they can predict future inventory needs based on trend reports over the years.

For the past three years, the California store has consistently been understocked. Using this historical data, the company can strategically ship double the typical inventory amount to this high-demand location.

  • Enhanced Inventory Management: Align inventory levels with demand to prevent overstock and stockouts.
  • Strategic Decision-Making: Utilize historical data to make informed decisions about inventory distribution and store locations.
  • Predictive Analytics: Forecast future inventory needs based on trend analysis, ensuring better stock
  • Management Revenue Optimization: Identify high-performing products and locations to maximize revenue potential.
  • Operational Efficiency: Streamline processes and reduce manual interventions, saving time and resources.

By implementing a robust BI platform, companies like Baby Blue can achieve greater efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance overall profitability through better inventory management and strategic planning.

Key Benefits of BI for Product-Based Companies

BI software can reveal hidden insights about demographics, location, and more. If one location generates triple the revenue while another falls short of monthly objectives, the company can use this information to make informed decisions, such as closing the underperforming location or opening another store in a more successful region.

The product owner can leverage BI data to predict annual inventory needs, avoiding excess stock at year's end. It also highlights popular products and identifies which items may need to be phased out.

The yearly subscribers

Intangible products often tell another story since they don’t require a physical warehouse or inventory management. The objective of an intangible product, such as NetSuite ERP or NetSuite Data Exporter is to sell a license or contract that incurs yearly revenue. These types of products often have a higher price tag and require the buyer to pay yearly fees, which keeps the company afloat.

Key KPI: Recurring Revenue

The big KPI for these types of companies is to stay in control of recurring revenue to maintain profitability objectives. For instance, if a company sells 3 licenses one year, 4 the next year, and 7 the next, that’s a healthy growth. The original three licenses will continue to pay their yearly fees in addition to the new subscribers.

While that sounds straightforward, the challenge lies in keeping up with the recurring revenue and ensuring the company remains relevant with a solid market share. This is where Business Intelligence (BI) comes into play.

Collaborative profitability

A company’s product is almost like its own child. They've nurtured and developed it into the machine that it is today, whether it's a physical or digital product. Therefore, while the product team nurtures it to the point of being ready for the public, there will always be a collaborative aspect among the other departments.

The Role of BI in Collaborative Profitability

  • Data Sharing: A BI platform ensures that all departments have access to the same data. This uniformity helps in maintaining consistency in messaging and strategy across the board. Marketing can use this data to create targeted campaigns, sales can leverage it to approach the right prospects, and customer support can use it to improve satisfaction rates.

  • Enhanced Sales Strategy: Sales teams can use BI to track KPIs such as opportunities, bookings, and revenue. This helps them understand which strategies are working and which are not, enabling them to adjust their approach in real-time for better results.

  • Customer Satisfaction: BI tools can analyze customer feedback and support tickets to identify common issues and areas for improvement. This information is invaluable for the product team to make necessary adjustments and for the customer support team to enhance service quality.

  • Product Development: The product team can use BI to gather insights from all departments, ensuring that the product evolves based on comprehensive feedback and market needs. This collaborative approach ensures that the product remains relevant and competitive.

Mixing ERP with BI

A great cocktail in business often includes an ERP system partnered with a business intelligence platform. Two powerful tools that coincide with each other to create the ultimate reporting product.

Each on their own are still dynamic and have incredible influence over your business processes. Together, they’re unstoppable. For customer relationships, this is a great mix as you can market, sell, and keep up to date with your customers in an ERP. While with BI you can take all those reports (no matter the volume) and insert them into a data warehouse where they’ll be accessible on a customizable dashboard.

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