What is business intelligence?

Ash Baggott

Business Intelligence (BI) is one of the most effective ways to use data in the modern world, it’s a technology-driven process which includes the applications, infrastructure, best practices, and tools that enable the analysis of information to improve and optimise business decisions and performance. BI is technically an umbrella term that covers the processes and methods of collecting, storing, and analysing data from business operations or activities to optimise performance. It creates a comprehensive view of a business to help people make better, actionable decisions.

In simple terms, Business intelligence helps people make better business decisions by showing present and historical data within its business context.

What’s the importance of Business Intelligence?

Companies that implement BI practices can translate their data into insights of their business processes. These insights can then be used to create strategic business decisions that improve productivity, it helps spot market trends to increase revenue, accelerate growth,  it can even help with compliance and hiring efforts. Just about any aspect of your business can be improved through business intelligence.

BI can also help organisations determine whether it will achieve its business goals, how it can improve its current IT infrastructure, and what resources it will need to provide better business outcomes. 

How can business intelligence help your business?

  • Identify areas or ways to increase profit
  • Analyst customer behaviour
  • Compare data with competing businesses
  • Track company performance
  • Optimise company operations
  • Predict success of new ventures
  • Identify market trends
  • Identify any business issues or problems
  • Provide faster insights
  • Smarter, faster decision

Business intelligence tools

Self-service BI tools streamline the analysis process, making it easier for people to understand data without having the technical know-how to find the results themselves. BI applications tackle sales, production, financial, and many other sources of business data for purposes that include business performance management.

The BI market is expected to experience continuous growth as tools increasingly incorporate both artificial intelligence and machine learning. Here are some types of business intelligence tools;

  • Ad hoc analytics
  • Online analytical processing
  • Mobile BI
  • Real-time BI
  • Operational BI
  • Open source BI
  • Location intelligence

Additionally, BI technology includes data visualisation software, key performance indicators, dashboards and performance scorecards.

How can my company manage BI?

In addition to simply having BI managers, companies tend to have a business intelligence team which generally includes a mix of BI architects, BI developers, business analysts and data management professionals. A growing number of businesses are replacing traditional waterfall development with agile BI to break up projects into smaller sections. Doing so enables companies to put business intelligence features into practices faster, and to refine development plans as business needs change.

In recent times, more and more companies are switching to a modern business intelligence model, with a focus on self-service approaches to data. It’s important to remember that BI is not merely about restating the obvious, it’s the name given to an increasingly sophisticated range of disciplines. Managers now have the ability to ask the right questions and have the tools at their disposal to get the right answers. With Holded’s ERP System #1, you can manage your business intelligence tools and your entire business on a single platform. 

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