What Is Business Intelligence?

Avatar photo Paul Morello
Updated: April 25, 2024
Published: April 25, 2024

Spotlighting Key Points

    How business intelligence can helps you sell more and with more profit

    Business Intelligence refers to software and services that analyze data and convert it into actionable information that can help business managers to make informed decisions.

    A brief outline of the BI function

    Corporate end users such as executives and managers may use BI technology to analyze data sets and present analytical findings in the form of charts, graphs, summaries, and reports. It may also helps them have an insight into the overall growth, sales trends and customer behavior for their company.

    Complex information are presented to users in an easier, readable and manageable format.

    How does Business Intelligence work?

    BI includes a number of different tools, methodologies, and applications to collect all data about an organization and transform it into visual representations for workers to aid reaching a final decision about business strategies.

    BI platforms tend to focus on three core types of analytics:

    • Descriptive (what happened and what led to the current situation)
    • Prescriptive (what should happen now and what steps need to be taken)
    • Predictive (what will happen later and what will be the outcomes of current operations)

    Why Business Intelligence is fundamental?

    • BI is considered a great way for people to examine data to understand trends and derive insights. It involves reporting, analyzing, online analytical processing, data and process mining, statistical analysis, business performance management, benchmarking, predictive and prescriptive analytics.
    • BI aids in searching for, merging and querying data to reach a good business decision, faster than traditional method.
    • It allows easy interpretation of large amounts of data, also known as Big Data.
    • It may identify new opportunities for organizations and help them implement effective strategies, guaranteeing market advantage and long-term stability.

    Best Business Intelligence tools:

    There is a robust list of vendors that offer BI tools, ranging from fairly simple ones to highly advanced systems. The more advanced the system is, the more jobs it can do.

    Mentioned below are some of the most popular Business Intelligence tools available in the market:

    • Sisense: This is the leader of all BI tools. This software extends services even for startups and small companies. It is capable of efficiently simplifying complex information and present any accessible insight to the user. It is quick and efficient for processing without being too expensive
    • icCube: This software is able to integrate itself into any application of the user. By doing so, it is able to connect itself to any data sources and collect information from everywhere. This way it is able to display an effective dashboard and widgets for the user.
    • Clear Analytics: This is Excel-based software that can be easily used by anyone. This means employees who are able to operate Excel will be able to operate this BI platform which saves precious time that is usually wasted learning the system. It is able to access data from all sources before analyzing it to generate a visual of the firm’s key data and information.
    • Good data: This software is able to support all IT requirements such as data governance, security, oversight, etc. It is capable of tackling vast amounts of data that is collected from both internal and external sources. It is a fast software that is protected and secured for the IT.

    • Microsoft BI Platform: The software is able to analyze, integrate and report data once being installed.

    What is the difference between Business Intelligence and Business Analytics?

    Business Intelligence is related to accessing and organizing the available data to better understand the company position and help shape future decisions or devise strategic opportunities for growth. Business Analytics, on the other hand, is about using available insights for establishing a business trend and boosting overall performance.

    Both Business Intelligence and Business Analytics are used to increase efficiency and to handle the scope of data produced by the company, there is still a line drawn between the two options. It can be said that Business Analytics is more concerned about ‘why’ certain things happen and making an educated guess as of how will they affect the future of the company whereas Business Intelligence is more about figuring out ‘what’ and ‘how’ things are happening.

    Despite these slight differences, both systems are used as tools to make sense of the huge amount of data (Big Data) and then use it to improve the future of the company.

    What is SSBI?

    SSBI stands for Self Service Business Intelligence. It primarily involves business systems and data analytics that are provided to end-users to allow them to have access to a firm’s information without direct IT figures involvement.

    In simple words, SSBI platforms allow business officials to carry out tasks themselves without having to pass them forward to the IT department. There are several benefits of this form of BI such as:

    • User-friendly: People who use SSBI are not necessarily tech-savvy. This means they lack the skills to operate on an advanced system. Self Service Business Intelligence platforms are extremely user-friendly so they are very easy to use and allows end-users to analyze data and draw forecasts on their own.
    • No skills required: Usually, BI users are trained to understand how data is provided and can be queried to make data-driven decisions to solve business problems. They are able to adapt themselves to be more flexible according to the platform they’re working with. However, SSBI gives end-users, who lack technical skills, the ability to do more with their data without having to depend on IT.
    • Saves time: With more employees able to handle simple data, they are able to generate specific reports needed to face business challenges in a timely fashion. This also reduces IT workload: With increased user independence from the IT department, they are then able to focus on more complex and important tasks to increase the productivity of the company.

    Much of today’s BI software aims to be available and usable by anyone in a company. This helps improve the efficiency of the company, enables workers to tackle business problems promptly and make sound decisions based on data quicker than was done previously.

    Best SSBI:

    • Dundas: This BI is browser-based software that includes integrated dashboards, reporting tools, and data analytics. It is a flexible platform that allows end-users to connect any data source on any device while being able to create interactive and customizable dashboards for themselves and to generate their own reports
    • Yellowfin: This is a BI platform developed to suit a large array of companies, varying in type of industry and size. It may be used in accounting, agriculture, banking, media, marketing, food, and beverage, retails, technology and many other fields. Its functions include dashboards and scorecards, predictive analytics, query and report writing as well as performance management.
    • BOARD is an extensive Business Intelligence that caters to the vast needs of enterprise-level companies. It is able to extract information from various sources and generate a self-service report. It is fully customizable as well as multi-lingual which means it is capable of delivering reports in a variety of languages

    What is Big Data?

    Big data can primarily be called as important pieces of insights, that were previously impossible to tap, that can serve as complete game changers for a particular company or even an entire industry.

    Big data is gaining popularity day by day. Big data and Business Intelligence go hand in hand. While extracting big data is the key to a successful business, it can very well be said that Business Intelligence serves as what is used to gain these key analytics. BI platforms are increasingly being used as a direct interface for big data systems.

    BI platforms are now being designed to be able to connect to a number of different sources to collect information that includes an internal system such as the corporate data as well as external sources that may include social media networks, direct access to JAVA, etc. This way, by offering flexible backends, Business Intelligence becomes a tool that makes a good fit for big data architectures.

    Why is Business Intelligence important?

    Business Intelligence platforms provide complete historical, present and predictive views of business operations. Business Intelligence plays an important role for numerous companies and is essential to thrive and expand, because:

    • Improve decision-making: Being an analytical tool, BI platform is able to identify key trends and patterns in a company’s data and direct insights to the user who can then make strategic and successful plans for the company.
    • Improve efficiency: Traditional method of gathering, analyzing and then writing related reports is an extremely time-consuming process. BI system saves precious time by enabling workers to do this in a matter of few seconds. Moreover, as BI systems are able to connect themselves to different applications, sharing data within different departments of an organization becomes an extremely easy job.
    • Boost productivity: This also leads to improved productivity. As BI platforms allow tasks to be done in a little amount of time, this means there is more time left to get done with other tasks. As the final outcome of a company increases, the productivity of that company also increases.
    • Improve visibility: Investing in a good Business Intelligence software is important if one wishes to gain control over certain key processes. BI software help highlight processes that have resulted beneficial for the company and need to be continued while they also help pinpoint operations that need further improvements in order to boost the company’s market.
    • Gain outcomes close to established goals: With improved visibility of the company’s trend, it becomes easier to reach out decisions and plans that would direct the organization towards the goals that the officials establish for the company to meet.
    • Gain insight into consumer behavior: Once BI system analyzes all of the company’s data including all sales, products, consumer feedback, it is able to generate actionable information. With clear consumption trends, the company executives may be able to devise a plan that matches and fulfills the current consumer needs and gain profits.

    If an organization needs to gain actionable insights from the huge piles of data their firm produces and to speed up data extraction process, a good Business Intelligence software is what it needs. With accurate data made available by BI and displayed in a visual and easily read format, corporate officials can make better decisions based on the current conditions as well as make an improved forecast for the future of their firm.