If you don’t think business intelligence should be part of your plan because your customers aren’t yet asking about it, you’d better rethink that so you can get on top of the trend. According to a post on the Forbes Business Development Council’s website, “There’s no question — companies that successfully use business intelligence make better business decisions and are poised to outpace and outlast their competitors.” Business intelligence is absolutely more than a buzzword; just ask any executive in the retail vertical segment, where the practice first took hold.

The reason security integrators are so involved is because the sensors you sell and install for your customers — the card readers, surveillance cameras, intrusion alarms — are the “collectors” that feed data into the business intelligence pool, giving your customers deep insight into many aspects of their business.

This month’s cover story, “Getting to Know the World of Business Intelligence,” can help familiarize security integrators, who may know very little about this field, with how it works — especially with the terms. Call it analytics, big data, business intelligence, machine learning, AI, or something else — these terms are not interchangeable, but in today’s security landscape they are often used to mean approximately the same thing: the idea that you can take traditional security technology (video, access control, intrusion, etc.) and expand its use to benefit the business side of whatever customer you are applying it to, writes SDM’s Karyn Hodgson in the article beginning on page 44.

It won’t just be the realm of the largest integrators. It will eventually filter into almost all businesses, according to Justin Lavoie in the U.S. division of Schneider Electric. He relates that, “Typically less than 20 percent of a building’s data is going to be used. Analytics and business intelligence allow 100 percent of that data to be [valuable]. I think it is applicable in all markets. Having the building’s data will benefit any building owner and allow them to optimize the safety of their people, their data and their assets.”

Last year Forbes.com published “The State of Business Intelligence, 2018” (based on Dresner Advisory Service’s  “2018 Wisdom of Crowds® Business Intelligence Market Study”), which looks at the drivers of business intelligence and its success. According to the Forbes.com article: “Making better decisions, improving operational efficiencies, growing revenues and increased competitive advantage are the top four BI objectives organizations have today. Additional goals include enhancing customer service and attaining greater degrees of compliance and risk management.”

The Forbes article highlights the top vertical industries that have the highest rate of BI adoption: insurance, technology, and business services. “Industries whose BI adoption is above average include Business Services and Retail & Wholesale,” states the Forbes.com article.

While these are segments that security integrators sell to, keep in mind that some businesses benefit better than others do from the sort of data that comes from a security-driven BI solution.

“There are a number of companies using big data quite successfully, and they are transforming the way business is conducted,” explains Shawn Mather of Intelligent Security Systems, in the SDM article. “The FANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) are a perfect example of how to capitalize on big data to capture market share. The same principles apply when the big data model incorporates information from security and building systems.”

You should get familiar with what business intelligence can do and how you can play a role in helping your customers with the next big trend coming their way. It will help you by keeping your business relevant in the 21st century.