Economic conditions, directly or indirectly, positively or adversely, affect all businesses. It is thus critical for businesses to keep abreast of economic developments and their potential impact on the future in order to mitigate any threats and to capitalise on any opportunities these may provide. A current economic outlook report contains information as to the current market situation and predictions with respect to the economy’s expected performance in the forthcoming month, quarter, year or other time period. Taken broadly, at the macroeconomic level, such reports would generally contain expectations with respect to various economic indicators such as inflation, growth, balance of trade and unemployment. Current economic outlooks can also be adapted to a micro perspective, for instance, to analyse consumer confidence with respect to a particular sector. Sometimes referred to as Market intelligence reports, these reports seek to study information relevant to a company’s markets, gathered and analysed specifically for the purpose of accurate decision support and they also try to discern, extrapolate and report any trends present in this information. Market intelligence reports are particularly useful in determining market opportunities, strategy, and business development tactics.
Apart from external information, the availability of quality internal information is also central to making quick and sensible business decisions. High performing businesses undertake more analysis than poorer performing businesses, and are more likely to analyse data across the entire business and possess business intelligence competencies.
Many businesses possess a vast quantity of data situated in a variety of systems. One of the most challenging tasks organisations confront is how to gather, integrate, sort, understand, and make decisions about the business’s data. The business intelligence process focuses specifically on such data processing and consolidation in order to enable the issuance of timely analysis. The predominant objective of business intelligence is to deliver the correct information to the right persons at the right time through a range of solutions in order to aid decision making and allow proactive management. While conventional reporting does offer tools and methods for gathering, grouping, presenting and conveying data, business intelligence provides more detailed knowledge about the organisation and also links distinct aspects of the organisation together through relational database models.
Business intelligence discloses information on several issues affecting businesses. These include, among others:
- the position of a business in relation to that of its market competitors;
- variations in client behaviour, spending patterns and product demand; and
- the abilities of the firm and the factors implicated in any degradation/success in service.
Indeed, business intelligence creates information which, if utilised correctly, can aid in developing new opportunities, avert threats and make better decisions. Recognising these opportunities and threats and implementing an effective strategy to exploit and mitigate them respectively can result in a competitive market advantage and stability to the firm. Moreover, business intelligence can also be utilised to combat the challenges of fraud, waste, and abuse. It ameliorates decision making at all of the firm’s management levels and provides fast warnings of business exceptions. Advanced reporting and analysis abilities, as well as the capacity to evaluate data can enhance tactical and strategic management.
Benchmarking is the process of rating a specific organisational attribute, such as performance, or set thereof with the same attributes of organisations or industries that share some common characteristic. The results from benchmarking exercises provide a better platform for the interpretation of data than would be available simply from the analysis of one’s own internally-generated data. An organisation might, for instance, be doing well in absolute terms but when taken in the context of the industry within which it operates it might find out that it is missing out on opportunities that are resulting in even better performance for competitors. Alternatively, an organisation might not be doing well in absolute terms but when taken within the bigger context, in relative terms, performance may be very good. Such insight is important in establishing points of reference for the analysis and interpretation of data and in providing venues for asking what accounts for success or failure. The answers to such questions are usually very important in decision support ambits and should be factored into an organisation’s strategy to ensure success.
Equinox Advisory issues ad hoc quarterly and annual economic outlook reports in the form of newsletters and presentations. These newsletters and presentations monitor and outline the developments in the Maltese, European and world economy and report on the implications of such developments for specific segments of the business sector. Forecasts of economic variables and business indicators are also provided on request. Data and forecasts are provided for:
- Growth in the major sectors of the economy;
- Gross domestic product;
- Gross national product;
- Production and investment;
- Consumer demand and confidence;
- Price and wage inflation;
- Interest rates and exchange rates;
- Stock and bond markets;
- Energy prices;
- Construction and manufacturing;
- Real estate markets; and
- Population and demographic trends.
The team at Equinox Advisory can deliver bespoke research, analysis and forecasts on the foregoing aspects and in relation to further issues affecting your business such as competition, trends in the relevant market and the regulatory developments.
Additionally, the team at Equinox Advisory can assist organisations with their economic outlook, benchmarking and business intelligence setups by examining the company’s general data needs and strategic goals, and by linking these with the management’s data requirements. Linking internally-generated microeconomic data with statistical data available at the macroeconomic level allows us to build the foundations for market intelligence reporting and dashboards as well as to benchmark performance against the competition and industry performance against similar industries.
Equinox Advisory can also deliver analytical reports on the basis of the data gathered. Reports are provided for enterprises, midsize businesses and departments. Figures can be grouped and compared in different business units and for different categories. Such analysis can also be made available dynamically so that the person making use of the report can change the dimensions in the data cube and receive the results of such changes in real time with no more than 2 mouse clicks per change in dimension. All management reports deliver information which management requires in order to steer the organisation in the desired direction. Our business intelligence reports provide interpretations of the data gathered, thus providing a better understanding of business performance.