The business intelligence should aid decision making, not replace it. This is true in all cases but is particularly crucial when a company is endeavoring to survive a drop in the market place.
BI can also be used to justify a decision that has already been made. To provide a simple example, if you are fully aware that one employee has a poor absence record and worse timekeeping, then providing proof of this to back up your decision makes it seem more considered.
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Indeed, it is. And a quick look at said employees' work performance may reveal they are more productive than those that do have a good attendance record. In this case, it may be worth warning the employee (or buying them an alarm clock). However, some things will never show on a BI report, such as how well an employee works with others and such soft skills.
Recession based BI is not just about cutting hours or downsizing the workforce. It can also assist in fine-tuning other business practices that can make all the difference when every penny counts.
Identifying which customers take months to pay and insisting they pay in advantage (or not to deal with them at all) can have a hugely positive impact when cash flow is so important. Outstanding debtors can be categorized as regular clients and one-off customers and treated according to when reminding them of their debt.
Focused marketing is also an ideal strategy when cash is short and your customer base needs extending.
Other, more company-specific analysis may be invaluable in cutting costs. Any company that features transport in its services or business process may want to geographic reporting to compare actual mileage to ideal distances. Some longer routes may be quicker than short ones, but the savings in the fuel may make it worth it.