There’s no need to be intimidated by business intelligence (BI). Although the term sounds a bit complicated and hard to understand, it’s really not. In fact, BI is merely a set of tools and applications used by a business to help it make informed decisions. These tools and apps allow a business to easily collect, store, retrieve and analyze a broad range of business-related data.
Can BI get complicated? Absolutely! This is why it’s best for a business intelligence analyst to handle BI-related tasks. This type of analyst will understand the ins-and-outs of today’s business intelligence best practices.
Most times, the tools and applications used by a business in regards to BI will be combined into a single system. Some of the more common areas of business that the system can be of great assistance include:
- Customer profiling
- Product profitability
- Market research
- Customer support
- Inventory and distribution analysis
- Market segmentation
You may have heard the term business intelligence used interchangeably with the term competitive intelligence (CI). Both CI and BI are used within an organization to make informed decisions; however, CI focuses on managing the competitor-related information, whereas BI focuses more on the internal functions of a corporation.
A study released by Merrill Lynch states that 85 percent of business-related data is unstructured. It comes in the form of phone conversation notes, emails, marketing information and more. With a BI system, businesses can structure this data and start to use it to their advantage, boosting customer satisfaction and increasing their profit levels.
The evolution of BI
As you can imagine, just the same as technology has evolved over the past century, so have BI tools and products. Nowadays, businesses are readily turning to cloud-based BI systems. On June 12, 2014, MarketWired released a press release stating GoodData has took the top spot for cloud business intelligence software. Some of the amazing benefits gained when using GoodData include:
- Data integration
- Embedded BI
- Interactive analysis
- Cloud application connections
- Advanced visualization
- End-user self-service
- Personalized dashboards
CEO of GoodData, Roman Stanek, says “As an end-to-end cloud BI platform, GoodData provides the most robust functionality for customers through both front-end features that they see everyday, and back-end infrastructure that we manage for them.”
It’s really not that complicated
Some businesses, especially smaller ones, steer clear of using BI tools because they don’t have the funds to hire a BI analyst. What needs to be recognized, however, is that simple-to-use BI systems are available for purchase. SiSense recently acquired $30m to fund BI programs for non-techies. This company strives to distinguish itself from other BI program developers by making BI system setup as simple as possible.
Staying intelligent with BI
The primary benefit gained from using BI products is that businesses can effectively analyze their data and then use their findings to make better decisions based on accurate predictions. Businesses are able to gain a deeper insight in regards to their internal functions, which allows them to stay intelligent and align their decisions in a way that helps them achieve their business goals.
No. 1 BI best practice
The number one business intelligence best practice tip that any business can follow is to always use a BI system that comes with full user-support. After all, if the users of the system don’t know how to use it, the full potential of a BI program will never be experienced.