In a previous Move article, we talked about using business intelligence to tell stories that engage stakeholders and prompt good decisions. But how do you even begin using business intelligence? Here are four things you can do to get started with BI.
1. Take stock of your metrics. What key performance indicators (KPI) are important to your travel program?
There’s a saying, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” That fits travel programs perfectly. If you haven’t yet established KPIs, there’s no better time than now. How else will you know how you’re doing? Identify a few key metrics that you can track and influence—and that contribute to your bottom line. Your management will care about those metrics, too. Learn more about the KPIs that every travel program manager should measure in BCD Travel’s KPI Infographic.
If you have KPIs, review them. Make sure they’re the ones that really drive performance. You may capture a lot of data—but without context, it’s just a lot of data. So, rather than gathering and trying to analyze an overwhelming amount of information, focus on KPIs and the data that aligns with them.
2. Assess the analytical tools you already have.
Do they answer your questions? If you have only a few travelers, you may not need a highly sophisticated business intelligence tool. Identify a few key metrics you can track and influence, and move forward with those. However, if travel is key to your business or makes a significant impact on your bottom line, it’s a good idea to look for a business intelligence tool that helps you make decisions with confidence. Sifting through spreadsheets to create homemade analysis is complex and time-consuming. The right aggregation and at-a-glance graphic visualizations can make your job a lot easier, providing you a full picture of program performance. They also help you spot areas where you can move the needle on goals.
BCD Travel has worked with data scientists to deliver a business intelligence tool loaded with relevant agency information and visualizations that help you get a quick, accurate overview of your program. Armed with such insight, you can make decisions that improve performance. So, take a good look at the business intelligence tools you’re using today. Do they help you do your job more efficiently and effectively? If not, it might be time to try something different.
3. Establish reporting standards for your travel program.
No data standards or regulations govern the format of information passed between suppliers, clients and travel management companies or other third parties. This creates data-mining challenges. Manual data entry or data migration can lead to invalid or outdated data. For example, when benchmarking one company unit to another in a different country, chances are high that field names will not be the same, and you’ll have to manually adjust. That means you may lose time and risk errors. Without data standards, there’s a lot of doubt about data quality.
You can’t single-handedly set industrywide standards, but you can across your company. If you’re working with multiple TMCs, ensure you’re using the same field codes so you can analyze merged data.
4. Talk to BCD Travel about how you can reach the next level and what tools are available to support your goals.
BCD Travel understands how business intelligence can help propel your program to a new level of performance. The TMC has invested time and resources into an Intelligence & Analytics solution that’s bigger than one tool or a few apps. The solution consolidates your existing data—agency, card, expense and more—and transforms it into business intelligence. BCD provides market insights alongside your data—adding context and helping you recognize and take advantage of marketplace trends and opportunities. What’s more, experts from BCD’s consulting arm Advito can dive deep into your data and analyze it from a variety of perspectives to give you added strength in supplier negotiations and agreements.
No matter where you are on the business intelligence continuum, you can likely use BI more effectively. And each step you take helps you get ready for BI advancements coming in the future. Want to know more? Download BCD Travel’s Business Intelligence in Travel white paper.