What is business intelligence?

Business intelligence (BI) is an umbrella term comprising a variety of strategies, infrastructures, and technologies that analyze and convert raw data. This makes the information coherent for data analysis and actionable for decision-makers. BI tools analyze data and present results analytically, through reports, graphs, charts, etc. This provides concerned parties with detailed intelligence about the state of the business.

Why does business intelligence matter?

Business intelligence can manage large quantities of information and help develop and identify fresh opportunities to harvest. Making use of these prospects and implementing efficient strategies can provide long-term stability. In essence, business intelligence is very helpful in improving decision-making and provides an immense advantage in competitive markets.

How does business intelligence work?

Business intelligence is the bedrock of strategic decision-making eradicating as much of the guesswork and gut feeling from the process as possible. These are the most efficacious processes and techniques generally used in business intelligence:

Data Visualization

When data sets are stored in the form of numbers, it is precise but difficult to analyze and interpret. Thus visualization of data in charts is a convenient method to effectively understand the data.

Data Mining

Data mining is a computer-driven method that seeks to reveal previously unknown or unnoticed relations among the data. Application of the techniques: shopping basket analysis, fraud detection based on behavioral and historical data, analysis of complicated and common diseases to help reduce the risk of cross infections, etc.

Time-Series Analysis

Nearly all data warehouses and enterprise data have a time dimension. It’s extremely important to reveal the changes in user behavior in time and changes in the sale contracts based on marketing changes. Using the same data, we can also predict future trends and outcomes.

What are the benefits of business intelligence?

Business intelligence has numerous advantages. Organizations of every size and stage use BI software to analyze, manage and visualize business data. Some benefits are:

Improves Sales and Negotiations

BI is very advantageous to a company’s sales force as it provides access to current reports that identify sales trends, customer preferences, and unexplored markets. Detailed and current data is also a valuable asset when negotiating with suppliers or other vendors.

Increases Efficiency

A business intelligence system can point out areas of waste or loss that previously could have gone unnoticed due to the organization’s enormity. Since a company-wide business intelligence system works as a single, unified whole, it analyzes transactions between subsidiaries and departments and identifies areas of inefficiency.

Identifies Opportunities

Business intelligence can help a company assess its capabilities, compare relative strengths and weaknesses against competitors and identify trends and market conditions. This enables decision-makers to respond quickly to change and opportunities and helps them gain a competitive advantage.

Disruption In Business Intelligence

Disruptive technologies are radically different methods and tools that affect the way businesses, consumers, and industries function. While sustaining technology depends on incremental improvements in already existing technology, disruptive technology is completely new and different. This type of technology best suits small crowds. They may not be able to fulfil the demands of the high-end market initially but are proven to bring significant profits to the table in the long run.

Disruptive technologies in business intelligence

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence has gained momentum over the years, providers have gone beyond creating traditional software to developing holistic platforms and solutions that better automate business intelligence and analytics processes. It also helps in streamlining company operations and enhances the lives of individuals in a multitude of ways. It discovers an individual’s preferences by collecting data from products purchased, search histories, etc.

2. Blockchain

Blockchain can help various businesses in transforming the way they perform global business transactions. Such transactions are extremely vulnerable to fraud as many businesses prefer making payments via a third party person or a company. This can lead to delay in payments and shipment of items. Such transactions if delayed, can be risky and may lead to heavy losses.

Blockchain helps remove such third-party companies and vendors, allowing businesses to be in touch and perform one-to-one transactions with ease. It also enables companies to track their global shipments like from when the item is dispatched to the end of the sale.

3. Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things refers to the billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet, which are constantly collecting and sharing data. As businesses continue to generate more and more data over time, chances are BI analysts will be working with larger and larger datasets. This will require new techniques to efficiently store, process, and analyze the data. With the help of IoT, enterprises have access to more data about their products and internal systems, and as a result a greater ability to make changes.

Disruptive tools in business intelligence

Cloud-Based Analytics

Business intelligence is essentially all about using data to make strategic decisions. The amount of data companies could store and use was limited by human capabilities and storage functions, but now cloud services have allowed companies to tap into vast amounts of complex data. The cloud allows businesses to share data seamlessly between various departments and employees. Instead of dividing different sections of BI into various services and vendors, companies can now consolidate everything in the cloud. This makes it easy to store, analyze, and access vast amounts of data whenever needed. The company can now share data and analytics to form a cohesive company goal so that everyone can work together simultaneously.

Dashboards

Disruption in business intelligence has greatly increased the amount of data available, but that data is meaningless if it can’t be integrated into business strategy. Data needs to be applicable and presented in a format that is easy to understand and implement and dashboards come in handy. Instead of having to sort through reports or recalculate numbers, dashboards make it easy for companies to see data changes in real-time and to view data to make decisions quicker. Dashboards can also be customized to meet the needs of each company. Employees at any level can access a dashboard to inform them of the data they need for their projects and update it for the entire company or organization.

Video Analytics

Instead of just analyzing text data, today’s disruptive systems can monitor photos and video, greatly changing the game in a world that relies increasingly on interactive visuals. Instead of being monitored by humans and risking human error, surveillance systems can now tap into business intelligence to analyze customer and employee movements. Businesses can use this information for a variety of purposes, from streamlining manufacturing to improving safety and employee engagement.

Business intelligence platforms

1. Tableau

Tableau is a self-service analytics platform that performs amazing visualizations. It is easy to comprehend and requires simple implementation.

2. Oracle analytics server

Oracle is an all-embracing solution that offers a wide range of analytics, reporting capabilities, and intelligence. It is apt for all organizations and is extremely user-friendly.

3. Sisense

Sisense sells an in-chip technology and is a great platform for analysis, business discovery, and intelligence solutions. It is easy to use and has high compatibility (usable on several devices).

How to choose the right Business Intelligence Analyst (BIA)?

A good Business Intelligence Analyst should be able to work in different parts of the organization, often from either an internal or external point of view. In large organizations, a BIA adds value to the company through its technical, analytic, and problem-solving skills. Rather than delivering specific technical solutions, BIAs should bring an understanding of data gathering and analytics to intelligence departments. A good BIA needs to have knowledge and experience across a broad range of media platforms and analytical tools.

In Conclusion

Effective decision-making is connected, contextual, and continuous. Business intelligence facilitates better decision-making. Firstly, every decision made leads to a chain reaction and is affected by everyone in the enterprise. Decision-making needs to become much more connected not only hierarchically (strategic, tactical, or operational) but also in a networked sense. Sharing of data and insights across organizational boundaries is essential.

Secondly, decisions need evaluation in a context-sensitive manner, beyond the scope of the individual event or transaction. The decisions made should be made not only for their short-term advantages but also for the long-term ones.

Finally, organizations must be as continuous and dynamically responsive as possible to opportunities and disruptions. Trends and patterns are constantly changing in the market and thus decisions need to be made in real-time and regularly.