What is often not celebrated as much, however, is the amount of information these individuals have at their disposal before they made these choices. Their success can often be attributed to being in the right place at the right time and, perhaps more importantly, taking great advantage of information that few possess.

Bill Gates is rightly seen as a computing pioneer, but had he not been one of very few of his age to have nearly unlimited access to early technology by chance, he and Paul Allen would not have had the opportunity and intuition to build the empire that they did.

There is no business leader in history that made consistently correct decisions by pure intuition. The information and data they had available to them guided each choice. This applies equally to businesses of all sizes, types, and industries. Customer behaviour, sales numbers, stock figures, market shifts, pricing – having all these data points make intuitive decisions significantly easier.

No surprise there.

The difficulty lies in the ability to collect all that data and distil it into a successful business direction. That’s the skill so many leaders have relied on. So it is understandable that the more organised the data a leader has access to, the easier the decisions are made. That said, this task often grows very difficult with time and as a company expands.

When standing behind the till in a shop, you have a front row seat to all the business data an owner needs. From this vantage point, one can see the products being sold, the type of customers purchasing, and cash flow. With this information, a storekeeper can make very informed decisions about which products to stock and how to sell them.

As a business grows, however, the owner behind the till may need to take a step away from the shop and head into an office to oversee and handle other considerations. Then another. And with each step, they get further away from the till, losing the source of information with which they made their decisions.

Business intelligence software simply brings the view from behind the till back to the owner. Data is filtered, processed, and displayed in a way that allows a leader to understand exactly what’s happening within the business. Where the strengths and weaknesses of the operation lie, which products consumers are leaning towards, and what resources the business has available to distribute towards each department.

With all this organised data in one hand, and the experience behind the till in the other, one doesn’t need to be Bill Gates or Paul Allen to figure out the next step.

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