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What Is Business Intelligence And How Does It Work?

Business Intelligence: All You Need to Know About BI Tools and Processes

Do you know that using data analytics in business makes the decision-making process 5x faster for your business? Business intelligence tool deployment is a proven way of improving your business efficiency and growth.

Trust me on this one, as I share the amazing benefits of integrating a BI solution into your business operations. But first, let’s find out more about what business intelligence is.

What Is Business Intelligence (BI)?

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Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

A Business Intelligence solution transforms a company’s raw data into useful and actionable insights that can enable the organisation to make informed decisions and improve its business strategies. This is achieved using various tools that offer quick and easy-to-digest insights into an organisation’s performance by analysing multiple datasets. 

The overall goal of business intelligence is to provide a holistic view of an organisation’s data and use that data to drive change and promote efficiency while quickly adapting to market changes.

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How Business Intelligence Process Work.

Data from multiple sources can be aggregated into one central pool or a data warehouse to support business analytics and reporting. Data warehouses provide business intelligence platforms with their baseline information. A BI software will then query the data warehouse and present the resultant information to the user in reports, charts, maps, etc.

Your business intelligence data source can be historical information or real-time data gathered from other source systems. These datasets enable BI tools to support your organisation’s strategic and tactical decision-making processes in real-time.

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Business Intelligence Processes.

Business Intelligence (BI) solutions heavily rely on the following data processes.

Data Mining.

The data mining phase involves extracting data from an organisation’s database, statistics or machine learning tools to uncover trends or patterns in those large datasets.

Data Reporting.

This is the analysis of extracted information from large datasets and shared with business stakeholders in the form of reports to enable them to draw conclusions and make strategic decisions.

Performance Metrics and Benchmarking.

This involves using customised dashboards to compare current performance data to previous data to see if goals have been met or not.

Descriptive Analytics.

Using preliminary information obtained from data analysis to generate descriptive analytics.

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Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days

Data Query.

Specific queries are created using BI tools, and answers to these queries are derived from the datasets already extracted.

Statistical Analysis.

The results from descriptive analytics are further explored using statistics to find out about trends and patterns and why they occurred.

Data Visualization.

This involves transforming extracted data into visually appealing representations such as graphs, charts, histograms, tables, etc.

Visual Analysis.

Data is analysed rigorously using visual forms and storytelling during the visual analysis process.

Data Preparation.

This involves the compilation of the different data types generated and their use to identify measurements, dimensions, and other exact data forms for data analysis.

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Why Is Business Intelligence (BI) Important?

Business intelligence can boost the productive capacity of organisations as they implement data-driven decisions arrived at through rigorous analytical processes.

Business organisations can ask questions in simple language and get relevant answers whether it relates to production, supply chain, customers, or market trends, courtesy of BI data tools at their disposal.

BI processes can also provide unique insights for organisations on hiring employees, efficient workforce distribution, and setting realistic performance targets. In addition to the above, business intelligence tools can also help your company with:

  1. Setting goals and predicting achievements.
  2. Improvement of ROI through the intelligent allocation of resources to meet strategic objectives.
  3. Ensuring smoother workflow.
  4. Performance tracking and optimisation as well as market trends analysis.
  5. Identifying problems and potential points of failure.
  6. Improving supply chain management processes through activity monitoring along the supply line and communicating results with partners and other stakeholders.

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Examples of Business Intelligence Tools.

Business intelligence (BI) tools are software applications that provide insights from structured data sources for business organisations. These tools can track various predefined KPIs and are at the centre of data-driven decision-making processes in organisations.

MicroStrategy.

MicroStrategy is a pioneer enterprise business intelligence tool that offers powerful dashboarding and data analytics experience, cloud solutions and hyper-intelligence capabilities.

This tool helps users identify trends, recognise new opportunities, and improve productivity.

QlikView

QlikView is a business intelligence application from Qlik. It is a powerful tool with user-friendly interfaces and flexible customisation. It is an ideal BI tool for your team to use. Users report excellent customer support and training.

Zoho Analytics

Zoho Analytics BI tool is an excellent in-depth reporting and data analysis that lets you create visually appealing data presentations and insightful dashboards in minutes. In addition, it has automatic data syncing and scheduling capabilities. And you can build multiple connectors using its integration APIs. Also, you can blend and merge data from different sources and create meaningful reports.

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is a web-based application that allows users to integrate their apps and deliver reports and real-time dashboards from anywhere globally and is an excellent data visualisation tool.

Looker

Looker is a business intelligence tool that offers easy and attractive reporting. It is great for SMEs and large businesses and integrates with SQL database. High points of this tool include ease of use, handy visualisations, and powerful collaboration features.

Clear Analytics

This is a user-friendly business intelligence tool that anyone with basic knowledge of Excel can use. It aggregates data from various sources and uses the power of Microsoft Power BI to analyse, model, and visualise data.

Tableau

Tableau is a known industry leader among BI solutions. It has a speciality in data discovery and data visualisation, and with it, you can quickly analyse, visualise and share data.

This BI tool supports different data sources such as MS Excel, Oracle, MS SQL, Google Analytics, etc. And users can gain access to well-designed dashboards that are very easy to use.

Oracle BI

Oracle BI tool offers you a scalable solution that allows you to start with a core set of features and add on incremental features as your business needs evolve.

It has a robust solution for companies that may need to analyse large data volumes and have key features like data archiving, versioning, a self-service portal, and alerts/notifications.

Domo

Domo is a cloud-based business intelligence platform that integrates your multiple data sources – spreadsheets, databases, social media, etc. and allows access to insights about your business from anywhere in the world.

IBM Cognos Analytics

Cognos Analytics is a web-based business intelligence application by IBM. It is a complete tool-set for business reporting, analytics, score-carding, and monitoring of events and metrics.

This business intelligence platform is a one-stop solution for your data discovery, operationalisation/analysis, and visualisation with AI-enhanced capabilities.

Benefits of Business Intelligence.

Actionable Insights.

Business intelligence tools provide tons of valuable, actionable information to analyse massive datasets from different sources.

These insights give your organisation a competitive edge as they give a glimpse of emerging consumer trends and identify new market opportunities before they become saturated.

Data Visualisation.

Business Intelligence tools provide excellent data visualisation capabilities, allowing you to create intuitive data visuals that are easy to read, understand, and interpret. Visualisation of this information through charts, graphs, videos, animations, and infographics helps managers make fast and real-time decisions.

Data Mining.

Data mining as a process seeks patterns in datasets to identify and draw insights. Some business intelligence tools are exceptionally great instruments in data mining due to their capabilities in data collection, warehousing and storage, organisation, analysis, and presentation.

Performance Management.

Business organisations can track the progress of their various data-based goals, such as sales goals or target delivery time, using business intelligence tools. Implementing this performance management process ensures that your organisation’s short, medium, and long-term goals are monitored and met.

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Remote Integration.

BI tools integration with mobile interfaces gives you the flexibility to view reports and other information remotely from across the world in real-time. And this provides an opportunity for a fast, precise, and strategic decision-making process saving significant costs to your business.

Clear Focus on Tasks.

Deployment of business intelligence tools in your organisation empowers your employees to focus on important result-oriented tasks. And this helps in eliminating resource use duplication in your business because your decision-making process is data-driven.

FAQs On Business Intelligence (BI).

What Is The Difference Between Business Intelligence (BI) & Analytics?

Business intelligence delivers relevant and actionable information to stakeholders in real-time to make better business decisions. In contrast, business analytics is a data-driven process that provides insights to drive tangible and intangible value.

As An SME, Can I Afford a Business Intelligence Solution?

The answer is a yes! Cloud technologies have driven down the costs of implementing BI solutions, making them accessible for small to medium-sized organisations. For example, small business owners can take advantage of the free versions of some of these BI tools to glean meaningful insights from their data to grow their business further. Microsoft Power BI free is an excellent place to begin your journey.

How Would Business Intelligence (BI) Help My Organisation?

Today Business Intelligence has proven to be an important and integral tool in modern business processes. Actionable insights generated by BI tools can increase operational efficiency and maximise the revenue drive of your organisation.

What is The Future of Business Intelligence (BI)?

As a technology-driven organisation performance enhancement system, business intelligence has come to be a part of the modern-day business ecosystem. This is because business competitiveness today is principally driven by big data analytics, and BI systems are a significant part of that ecosystem.

On a final note, business intelligence solutions are continually evolving according to current business needs and technology. This has become imperative as business organisations strive to be more data-driven and collaborative in their daily operations.

Also, the rise in artificial intelligence and machine learning technology has made it possible for companies to integrate insights from AI into a broader business intelligence strategy. And this can provide a more accurate real-time tracking of business performance.

BI offers tremendous performance growth capabilities for business organisations in all sectors; little wonder that diverse industries in retail, finance, insurance, oil and gas have adopted BI systems, and more are joining each year.

Are you planning to make that strategic shift in your business organisation? We at Entrepreneurs.ng can facilitate your organisation’s seamless transition into a BI system. You can book a strategy session with an expert here.

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