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Business Buzzword

The hospitality industry, as with most others, is rife with buzzwords, jargon and acronyms. From nine to five, we effortlessly speak in such tongues that our families would find us profoundly unintelligible, smiling blankly back from across the dinner table. A QSR seeking a high ROI on its POS should consider boosting its CRM program, adding line-busting, and linking the system to its KDS and BOA. Enough said.

Take out your notepads and add another to the list, because here comes another buzzword. The word, business intelligence; the definition, vast; the longevity, here to stay.

Defined loosely, business intelligence (also known as BI -- of course it has an acronym) is a business management term referring to applications and technologies which are used to gather, provide access to, and analyze data and information about company operations. BI includes metrics on sales, production, internal operations and so on. The idea behind BI is that, by having a better grasp of these metrics and how they relate to each other, companies can make better business decisions.

BI as a business objective has been around long before the term itself existed. Show me a retailer who doesn't want to track inventory versus sales, and I'll show you a "going out of business" sign. But in hospitality, BI as a formal strategy isn't nearly as prevalent as loyalty or labor management -- yet. Most restaurant and hotel operators are already employing business intelligence tactics in other ways, such as the tracking of CRM data, though not necessarily under the umbrella of a unified business intelligence platform.

If you haven't already met, consider this your formal introduction to business intelligence. And if you'd like to get to know each other better, check out HT's April Web cast, Empower Your Employees Through Information: The Business Intelligence Story, provided at no charge online at

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