The business environment is currently depicted as a highly competitive one, and to survive, one must come up with ingenious tactics to remain relevant. The current era of big data catches many business owners by surprise, with overwhelming volumes of information. But to remain relevant in their field, these company executives need to develop a way to understand and take full control of such information to derive the best value for their organization.
For a person looking to make data-driven decisions, other than relying solely on their gut, you might find it useful looking into the possibilities of business intelligence. Business intelligence enables you to get a comprehensive report of all the complicated questions you may have regarding your company operations and successfully tracking KPIs by getting notifications.
As company executives continue to identify and learn new strategies to implement, it would be prudent to consider current best practices to enable their organization to succeed.
In this post, you will have a better understanding of what business intelligence is, its architecture, the benefits it has to businesses, and other tips on how to incorporate it successfully into your organization.
What is Business Intelligence?
To identify their full potential, companies across most (if not all) sectors tend to drive towards innovation, effective decision-making, improving quality, and reducing overall costs. While these goals might prove challenging to achieve, they are easily achievable by harnessing the power of analytics.
Understanding the ‘how,’ ‘why,’ and ‘where’ has greatly influenced the growth of companies, mostly attributed to the explosive dawn of technological advancements and business data.
To achieve all these, organizations opt for business intelligence. Generally speaking, Business Intelligence (BI) is an information system that translates data into easy-to-understand analytical information.
A broader definition of BI, according to the Gartner IT glossary, “Business Intelligence is an umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure, tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.”
According to such explanations, it is clear that the main objective of BI is to identify the avenues that a business can profit from data. However, this goes beyond just collecting data and includes data analysis procedures and other business processes.
Business intelligence leverages certain services and software to transform data into actionable insights that strategically and tactically impact business decisions. BI tools are used to analyze such data and present it through summaries, reports, charts, graphs, dashboards, maps, etc., to help provide detailed information that can be used to make crucial company decisions.
Business intelligence vs. business analytics
Business intelligence is a descriptive aspect, telling you of what’s going on now and what factors that got us to this particular state in the past. How are sales prospects? How many members of the organization have you gained or lost within the last month? This creates the borderline between business intelligence and another closely related term – business analytics.
While BI is descriptive, showing you what happened in the past to influence what’s happening now, business analytics is predictive. This means BA shows you what will happen in the near future, enabling you to fine-tune your approaches to get better results.
In a nutshell, business analytics is mainly thought of as a sub-field of the broader field of data analytics, but only focusing on businesses. However, the distinction between business intelligence and business analytics actually, lies beyond the timeframe mentioned. Unlike business analytics, BI aims to deliver candid snapshots of the current state of affairs to managers without being complicated even for the non-technical end-users.
The value of business intelligence
As the growth of e-commerce continues to saturate the market, the importance of BI becomes even more apparent than ever. Business owners have to make smart decisions regarding how they wish to see their marketing spend, as anything a consumer now wants is only a click away.
But why would you incorporate BI into your strategies?
There are many compelling reasons behind this: improving performance, boosting sales, long-term customer relations, etc., ‒ all built through better customer experiences. Integrating business intelligence into your operations helps your company by delivering value through the following ways:
The sole reason behind the implementation of BI is to convert raw company data into analyzable, well-structured insights that enable the organizational executives to implement strategic decision-making.
Great business intelligence means having all your business data in a unified dashboard to include all the relevant data from different areas such as finance, sales, and many others – all that aim to provide a holistic view of the business. At the end of it all, business decisions will be made based on facts rather than assumptions.
Sales & marketing
Incorporating BI data allows a company to boost a current marketing campaign’s performance, increasing sales in the long run. Through BI, the sales department can get the right tools to help measure consumer trends through improved visibility. You can also get specialized features that help track and measure sales & marketing campaigns, providing the relevant data that would support future marketing initiatives.
Business intelligence is also helpful by delivering the necessary information to help companies understand how their customers interact with their business. Data accuracy is improved when one can access all customer information from a single dashboard, enabling the businesses to enhance customer support, engagement, and experience.
Moreover, BI helps analyze customer insights to improve the targeting and segmentation of the different categories of customers. This helps identify which resources need to be applied for the businesses to attract only valuable customers to achieve particular goals.
The automation of routine tasks through BI helps an organization to refine its operational processes. While there are many project management software that can do the same, Business intelligence introduces ways to seamlessly improve inventory control and reduce inefficient constrictions within the organizational structure. Easy-to-access centralized data also cuts down on the administration time and efforts, simultaneously boosting data integrity and productivity.
Data accuracy and compliance
The centralized nature of BI data boosts transparency in organizational operations. As it offers you a holistic view of your business and customers, BI also seeks to expose the errors that might lead to lots of downtime and wasted resources.
Companies are now tasked with heavier responsibilities when it comes to the protection of personal data. There is a keen focus on organizations to adhere to data protection regulations should they wish to store customer information. Implementing BI tools ensures that businesses can address the issue of data governance and integrity.
Tips for choosing the right business intelligence tools
Going for the right BI tools is as important as collecting the data itself. There are many business intelligence software that one can go for, but how will you pick the one that best fits your organizational needs?
Here are three important factors to consider:
Before implementing any BI tools, every company has its own reporting processes. Ensure that the tools you go for are easily integrated with existing structures and can easily incorporate the data received from different sources.
Identify your immediate goals.
One of the first steps to undertake before getting a business intelligence tool is identifying the goals you wish to achieve. Setting parameters from the initial stages enables you to glean the right data.
Before settling on a tool, ensure that it has an intuitive interface that’s easy to use by all the approved users. Nothing is worse than any system that’s clunky and hard to operate. This means that the BI tool has to be easy to access, operate, and translate the information it provides.
Implementing a good business intelligence structure is now a necessity for any organization that wishes to succeed. Harness the power of BI tools to improve your company’s operations and enjoy all the positive impacts it will have on your business.