A Case of the smarts: the value of Business Intelligence for wineries

Today’s business management software collects a tremendous amount of data, yet all that data on its own has no meaning. It is only when we start to compile the data in various ways and put it in a context that it starts to become information. And when you use that information in combination with your skills, experiences, successes — and yes, maybe even your mistakes — that the information becomes insight. Business Intelligence (BI) is the way to turn your winery business data into information. Then you’ll take over and turn that information into actionable insight.

What is BI, what type of information can it reveal, and how can you make the best use of it in your winery operation?


BI defined

Business Intelligence (BI) refers to the technology-driven processes with which we can turn potentially vast amounts of data into information that can be used by organizations to make informed decisions (insights) to boost organizational performance. For years, BI was considered a technique available (and useful) only to large organizations. However, new technology tools combined with the vast amounts of data collected by winery ERP applications make BI a viable and vital option for wineries of all sizes.

Many business Intelligence tools are able to span applications, bringing together even disparate data into meaningful facts. For example, you may store your tasting room data primarily in your point-of-sale application, but want to combine that data with data from your winery ERP, to see where are your customers coming from, what are they buying, when, and in what quantities. Or you could take some deep dives into your wine club database in order to analyze sign-ups and cancellations.


Revealing information

It’s quite likely that if you can describe the information you want to view, BI tools can bring it to light. BI tools can deliver their information in the form of traditional reports, or more interestingly, interactive dashboards.

Dashboards provide a way to quickly identify and respond to trends. From a high-level graph or table, a user can click to drill down and uncover the facts behind a statistic. Configure a different dashboard for each user, or for each user role — to provide the right information at the right time, in an easily digestible format. Limited only by your imagination and your unique winery business operations, options for those dashboard elements might include:

  • Top X Anything (customers, items, expenses)
  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Inventory Item Performance
  • Pricing and Margin Analysis
  • Sales by Varietal
  • Sales by Vintage
  • Sales by Customer Type (Licensee, LRS, Retail, Wholesale, Wine Club, Tasting Room)
  • Sales by Salesperson/Region

Getting better information — faster

Many BI tools allow you to schedule reports to be run and distributed automatically on a specific day of the week, or time of day, helping get useful, decision-making data in the hands of those who need it.

Until fairly recently, BI tools were cumbersome behemoths best left in the hands of the IT staff. This robbed them of much of their value, especially for smaller organizations who lack sufficient depth in the IT department. But today’s tools are simple to configure and simpler to use. They may include templates that you can start with and edit to make them your own. This dramatically increases the return on investment of BI while reducing the total cost of ownership.


I never thought of that

Here’s a side benefit of incorporating business intelligence into your winery operations that you may not have considered: it’s a way to attract employees. The wine industry is changing (we’re sure you didn’t need us to remind you of that). The traditional model in which generations of family members have managed the business is no longer sustainable for many wineries. Instead, wineries are actively looking to hire millennials to fill gaps in the workforce, but this generation of worker comes with expectations. Millennials are looking for jobs that incorporate technology, and if your winery operation is deploying smart technology tools like BI, you’re likely to be seen as more competitive than the rest.


Information into insight

The value of BI lies in its ability to take data and turn it into usable, accessible, digestible information. Then it’s up to you to turn that information into actionable insights, using your knowledge of the wine industry, your experience building a successful business, and your expertise surrounding your products and your people.


Ready to learn more about incorporating BI into your winery operation? Caron Winery Solutions powered by Sage delivers powerful accounting, distribution, inventory control, purchasing, financial reporting, business intelligence, point-of-sale and customer relationship management capabilities to growing wineries throughout North America. Learn more here.


Curtis Kieres is the Account Manager in our Okanagan office. Curtis identifies ways that Caron can provide our projects and services to help our clients succeed in their plans, achieve their goals and realize their dreams. He has extensive knowledge of Sage 300, Salesforce, Sage People and ancillary applications. Curtis leads Caron’s efforts to customize solutions for the Okanagan winery industry.