Have you ever wondered why we need business intelligence? Or how a good BI tool can help revamp your business and bring more efficiency to your business processes? If yes, then this article is for you.
In this blog post, we’ll be discussing the various benefits of BI and how it can help your business. So if you’re looking to learn more about BI, read on!
Business intelligence (BI) is a field of analytics that helps business decision-makers make more informed decisions. It has empowered businesses to see the bigger picture and make smarter business decisions over the years. BI helps to analyze data, present it in a meaningful way, and plan for the future. By understanding what BI is and why it’s important, you can create a successful strategy to implement in your business. A good BI strategy helps eliminate a lot of risks associated with decision making. It prepares businesses for many challenges and helps them move forward with confidence.
What is Business Intelligence?
Originally coined by Richard Miller Devens, ‘Business Intelligence’ (BI) is a term that has been used for years by bankers to gain a competitive advantage over their competitors. Back in the day, bankers would use data and historical analysis to figure out which companies were doing well, and which ones were struggling. They would then target these less successful companies with offers of financial assistance or even takeover attempts.
However, today’s businesses are using BI not just to evaluate their current state, but also to plan for future growth. They are using it to understand their customers better, predict trends, and make better decisions overall.
The purpose of business intelligence is simply to help businesses make well-informed decisions and improves their overall business operations using data. BI enables organizations to extract meaningful insights from a large quantum of data. Organizations that use BI tools can generate actionable insights by analyzing their data. BI includes things like data analysis, report creation, and dashboards to help managers see the big picture. By using BI, companies can identify problems early and fix them before they become too large to manage. Additionally, BI can save businesses time and money by helping them track performance over time. As business intelligence becomes more Popular, it’s important to have a firm understanding of what it is and what it can do for your business.
Through BI, businesses and organizations can
- Track metrics, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
- Compare process performances of businesses against benchmarks, and
- Perform analysis in seconds
Business intelligence speeds up decision-making. It allows business users to come up with efficient solutions quickly. BI tools can deliver highly actionable insights if used properly. They can speed up an organization’s growth by helping businesses make data-driven and informed decisions.
Traditionally, companies have relied on their intuition to make important decisions. However, in today’s data-driven world, where speed and accuracy of decision making are paramount, intuition is not enough. Senior leadership needs to be equipped with all relevant and important data insights at all times.
The BI process as we know it
The term business intelligence, nowadays, is often used as an umbrella term. It refers to various methods and techniques of generating insights from data. It includes multiple processes, such as data collection, data preparation, data analytics, data visualization, and insight delivery. Although the methods might vary depending on the user’s needs, the process remains the same
Explained below is the business intelligence process:
- Step 1 – Data Collection:
Collect data from various sources and store it in a data warehouse or a database system. Sources can vary from different databases such as Maria DB, My SQL, MS SQL, Oracle to flat files such as Excel and CSV.
- Step 2 – Data Preparation:
In this step, clean, organize and model the collected data for further analysis.
- Step 3 – Data Analytics:
In this step, perform querying of databases to generate insights. Almost all of the current business intelligence platforms use some form of querying language such as SQL to do this. Few platforms have their own querying language.
- Step 4 – Insight Generation:
In this step, the user uses all the information they are provided with to generate insights. It is in this step the business user understands the various findings such as metric tracking and distribution of KPIs.
- Step 5 – Data Visualization:
After analysis, generated insights are presented to the business users in the form of charts, tables and then combined to form dashboards, reports, etc.
- Step 6 – Decision Making:
In the final step, having known all the facts and insights backed by empirical data, the user is now in a position to make a data-driven decision for the betterment of their business.
Business Intelligence applications
Over the last few years, business intelligence has found widespread application in multiple industries. Although banking, financial services, and retail have been at the forefront of analytics and BI adoption, traditional industries, such as manufacturing, shipping & logistics, have also started adopting analytics aggressively.
The benefits of using BI across industries are exponential, such as:
It allows the retail department to understand:
- The evolving customer behavior
- Track average unit sales
- Monitoring in-store and category-wise performance
Besides tracking the performance of shippers and drivers, the shipping and logistics teams can easily understand changing consumer behavior. They can monitor performance end-to-end, from pickup and delivery to payments. With financial analytics, the finance team can easily identify revenue gaps and plug them in while tracking the market. This further helps in optimizing cash flow and ensuring enough working capital is available for projected investments and expenses.
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Role of Business intelligence Platforms
The business intelligence process, with so many steps and tasks involved, can sometimes be tedious and time-consuming.
A business intelligence platform is a very powerful tool that automates the entire business intelligence process and makes your customer/company data usable. The platform allows users to import, clean, and analyze data from various sources, followed by actionable insights to act upon immediately. Using a business intelligence platform helps you execute the lengthy BI process in less than a minute, making it quicker and more effective.
Why do Business Users need BI Platforms?
It goes without saying that in today’s fast-moving world, businesses have to be data-powered and need to promote a data-driven culture in order to be successful. To do this, an essential requirement is for users to connect to the data directly.
The users also need to understand their data better to derive instant insights. Moreover, without a BI platform, it becomes extremely difficult, because of the multiple layers that exist between the data and the users.
In the absence of a modern business intelligence platform, multiple layers of business analysts, data analysts, and BI developers are required to derive actionable insights and make them available to make decisions. This not only increases the time to access insights but a lot is lost in translation as most of the time what business users get is very different from what they asked for.
Using a BI platform creates an effective data to decision environment, taking it upon itself to do all the intermediate work. This effectively creates a steadfast and robust relationship between the user and the platform.
The user remains connected to their data and can understand it better with the help of the platform while the platform learns, understands, and supports your BI strategy by making it easier to access and analyze data.
To summarize, in today’s data-powered world, it is extremely difficult for businesses to compete without relying on business intelligence. Organizations have to be well-equipped to develop quick and smart decisions based on hard facts. To do this, they need to be in a position where they can understand their data with ease in order to generate actionable insights. The best way to perform this operation is by using a BI platform that automates the BI process, thereby connecting business users directly to the data.
Keeping all these considerations in mind, Forty4Hz’s self-service, no code, business intelligence, and analytics platform, INSIA enables business users to make fast and smart data-driven decisions by providing them the power of Google-like Search. This brings them closer to data and helps them generate actionable insights thereby accelerating business growth and profitability.
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