In the fast-paced world of business, information is power. The ability to make informed decisions based on accurate and timely data can be the difference between soaring success and stinging failure. This is where the concept of business intelligence (BI) steps onto the stage.
But what exactly is business intelligence, and why has it become such a crucial factor in the modern corporate landscape? This comprehensive guide will explore the key aspects of business intelligence and how it is helping businesses to remain competitive.
What Is Business Intelligence?
Business intelligence, also known as BI, is a company’s procedural and technical infrastructure for collecting, storing, accessing and analysing data to gain insights into its business operations.
To make this concept easier to understand, imagine a business intelligence system as a kind of personal assistant that specialises in collecting, analysing and presenting data to help the company make better decisions. This assistant’s capabilities are limited only by the data it has access to and how skilled its human counterparts are in interpreting the results.
The roots of business intelligence stretch back to the early days of computing. In 1959, Hans Peter Luhn of IBM first used the term “Business Intelligence” in an article he wrote for Harvard Business Review entitled “A Business Intelligence System”. This article outlined a computer system that could analyse data from multiple sources and present it to users in a coherent form.
At the time, this was seen as an innovative approach to data analysis and decision-making. And with what people see today as modern business intelligence, it certainly had a major impact.
How Does Business Intelligence Work?
The first important thing to understand is – data warehouses. Data warehouses are described as the “foundation of BI” because they house all the raw data that is gathered and analysed from multiple sources.
For example, say a business has data from email marketing campaigns, customer feedback surveys, sales history and financial reports. All these sources are then collected into a single data warehouse.
That data is then combined with business intelligence software applications, which are designed to analyse and interpret that data.
What Is Business Intelligence Software?
Data in the data warehouse needs to be interpreted and analysed in order to gain insights that can be used to make informed decisions. This is where business intelligence software comes into play. The software is like the bridge between raw data and actionable insights – it helps to convert the data into easy-to-understand visuals and reports.
There are a wide variety of BI software solutions available, but Qlik and Microsoft Power BI are some of the most popular.
Qlik, a modern and powerful business intelligence system, allows users to quickly and easily discover insights from their data. Businesses nowadays do not want to be bogged down by complex analytics and reporting tools that take days or weeks to complete. Instead, they want a fast, intuitive solution that will allow them to explore their data in real-time.
Qlik packs a lot of features into one platform – from data preparation, modelling and storytelling, all the way to reporting and analysis. It is designed to take all the complexity out of analytics, allowing users to uncover insights from their data quickly and easily.
Microsoft Power BI:
Microsoft Power BI is a cloud-based business intelligence and analytics platform that helps businesses delve deeper into understanding their data. A deeper understanding equals better decisions, which in turn can lead to greater success.
Using Power BI, users are able to analyse data from multiple sources and combine them into a single view. Power BI comes with an intuitive visualisation tool to display data in dashboards and reports, as well as features for natural language processing and predictive analytics.
How Can A Business Benefit From Business Intelligence?
Fast and Accurate Reporting:
Business entrepreneurs or employees need to make decisions quickly and accurately. BI tools can help them receive accurate and timely reports on customer preferences or sales performance through visuals and dashboards.
Increased Customer Satisfaction:
Ultimately every business wants to exceed their customers’ expectations. Business intelligence can help by providing insights into customer behaviour, preferences and purchasing patterns which can be used to tailor marketing campaigns or product offerings.
Better Data Quality:
Human error and manual entry can corrupt the accuracy of a business’s data. Business intelligence ensures that the data is more accurate and of higher quality by automating the collection, storage, analysis, and reporting processes.
What Are The Different Categories Of Business Intelligence?
Business intelligence is divided into three categories, namely, predictive, descriptive and prescriptive analytics.
1. Predictive Analytics
Predictive analytics uses data and algorithms to help businesses predict future outcomes. It helps them identify trends, opportunities or risks that may arise in the future, allowing them to take appropriate actions.
2. Descriptive Analytics
Descriptive analytics focuses on reporting and summarising past activities. It helps businesses understand what has happened in order to explain why it happened. For example, descriptive analytics can show a company how its sales performance has changed over the last year and help to explain why it happened.
3. Prescriptive Analytics
Prescriptive analytics takes predictive and descriptive analytics one step further – it helps businesses to take the necessary actions to reach desired outcomes. It uses algorithms to identify patterns and trends in order to recommend the best course of action for a business.
Business Intelligence With B2IT
If your business is in need of business intelligence solutions, you should look no further than B2IT.
At B2IT, we offer a comprehensive business intelligence and analytics platform that helps businesses make more informed decisions. On top of this, our business intelligence analyst and business intelligence developer are experienced in helping businesses from all industries, no matter their size!
Contact us today to find out more about our services and how we can help you get the most from your data.