Do you have a business or a company and sell products or services? In this opportunity, we will tell you what Business Intelligence is, what types of tools exist and what their benefits are. Keep reading and know the most important information about BI.
What does the term Business Intelligence refer to?
The term Business Intelligence (BI) refers to a set of processes, technologies, and tools that help organizations collect, analyze, and transform data into meaningful and useful information for business decision-making. The main goal of Business Intelligence is to provide a clear and accurate view of an organization’s performance, both at the operational and strategic levels.
The Business Intelligence process involves extracting data from various sources, transforming it, and loading it into a centralized database or data warehouse. Then, data analysis techniques such as queries, reports, visualizations, and data mining are used to identify patterns, trends, and relationships in the data. These findings are presented in the form of reports, interactive dashboards, and other presentation tools so that users can understand and utilize the information effectively.
Business Intelligence is used in a wide range of industries and business functions to support informed decision-making. Some common applications of Business Intelligence include monitoring business performance, sales and marketing analysis, supply chain management, identifying growth opportunities, and optimizing business processes.
In summary, Business Intelligence helps organizations turn data into valuable insights for making more informed and efficient strategic and operational decisions.
What types of BI tools do we know?
- Data Management Tools. These tools are used to manage and organize an organization’s data. They include database management systems (DBMS) that allow for efficient storage, retrieval, and manipulation of data. Some popular DBMS tools include Oracle Database, Microsoft SQL Server, and MySQL. Additionally, there are data integration tools (ETL), such as Informatica PowerCenter or Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), which help extract, transform, and load data from various sources into a centralized data warehouse.
- Data Discovery Applications. These tools focus on data exploration and analysis to discover relevant information and hidden patterns. They provide interactive data visualization and analysis capabilities, allowing users to intuitively explore data and uncover correlations and trends. Some popular data discovery tools include Tableau, QlikView, and Power BI.
- Reporting Tools. These tools are used to create and generate reports based on data stored in the system. They enable automated report generation in either static or dynamic formats and offer customization and scheduling capabilities. Some common reporting tools include SAP Crystal Reports, IBM Cognos, and Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS).
Data management tools ensure that data is well-structured, organized, and available for analysis. Data discovery applications allow for the exploration and discovery of valuable information within data, while reporting tools facilitate the structured presentation and distribution of information to end-users.
It’s important to note that these categories of BI tools often overlap and integrate with each other in comprehensive BI solutions, providing a wide range of capabilities for data management, analysis, and presentation within an organization.
6 advantages of Business Intelligence
- Informed decision-making. BI provides organizations with valuable, data-driven insights and analysis, enabling decision-makers to have a clearer and more comprehensive understanding of key aspects of the business and make informed and strategic decisions.
- Improved operational efficiency. BI helps identify and eliminate inefficiencies in business processes by providing information on performance and bottlenecks. By better understanding internal processes, organizations can take steps to improve efficiency and optimize operations.
- Identification of opportunities and trends. It allows for the discovery of patterns, trends, and opportunities within data. This may include changes in customer behavior, product demand, market preferences, or new growth opportunities. By anticipating these trends, organizations can take proactive actions and gain a competitive edge.
- Real-time analysis. BI can provide real-time or near-real-time information on business performance. This enables users to access up-to-date data instantly and make quick, data-driven decisions. Real-time analysis is especially valuable in situations requiring rapid and agile decision-making.
- Enhanced visibility and monitoring. BI provides dashboards and scorecards that visually present key data in an understandable and visually appealing manner. This improves visibility of key performance indicators (KPIs) and allows users to monitor business performance in real time. With a clear view of KPIs, organizations can identify problem areas and take timely corrective actions.
- Improved planning and budgeting. It helps organizations conduct more accurate and effective planning and budgeting by delivering historical data, predictive analytics, and hypothetical scenarios. This aids in better understanding the factors affecting financial performance and making more informed decisions regarding resource allocation and budgeting.
8 pre-steps to launch a BI project
Before launching a Business Intelligence (BI) project, it’s important to undertake a series of pre-steps to ensure its success. Here are some key steps that should be followed:
1. Define project objectives
The first step is to clearly establish the objectives you want to achieve with the BI project. This involves identifying business needs and requirements and understanding how BI can address these challenges and meet strategic goals.
2. Evaluate data availability and quality
BI relies on accurate and reliable data. It’s important to assess the availability and quality of existing data within the organization. This includes identifying relevant data sources, evaluating data integrity and consistency, and determining if improvements or corrections are needed in data capture and storage systems.
3. Identify user requirements and needs
It’s essential to understand the needs and requirements of end-users of the BI system. This involves engaging different stakeholders and departments to understand what information they need, how they will use it, and what specific functionalities they require. This information will be useful in designing and developing a BI system that meets user expectations and needs.
4. Design BI architecture
At this stage, you should design the BI architecture that best suits the organization’s needs and requirements. This includes determining the appropriate BI tools and technologies, defining the data structure, establishing the Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) processes, and planning the necessary technological infrastructure.
5. Select BI tools and technologies
Once the BI architecture is defined, it’s necessary to select the appropriate tools and technologies to implement the project. This involves evaluating different market options and considering factors such as scalability, ease of use, integration with existing systems, and support provided by vendors.
6. Develop an implementation plan
Having a clear and detailed plan for implementing the BI project is crucial. This includes defining timelines, allocating necessary resources, identifying tasks and responsibilities, and setting milestones and metrics to measure project progress and success. A phased and gradual approach can be beneficial to ensure successful implementation.
7. Conduct testing and quality assurance
Before putting the BI system into production, thorough testing is important to ensure that it functions correctly and meets established requirements. This involves functional testing, performance testing, and integration testing. Additionally, ensuring data quality is essential to prevent errors and future problems.
8. Train users and promote adoption
Once the BI system is implemented, it’s crucial to train end-users so they can fully utilize the system’s capabilities and functionalities. This includes providing proper training and guidance on how to access, interpret, and use the available information. Furthermore, promoting adoption and ongoing use of the BI system within the organization is essential.
Remember that implementing a BI project requires careful planning, involvement of key stakeholders, and effective change management. By following these pre-steps, you will be better prepared to harness the full potential of Business Intelligence in your organization.
Who successfully uses BI?
While large companies commonly employ Business Intelligence to streamline processes, there are examples of smaller businesses that have implemented it to achieve better results.
Some well-known companies include:
- Toyota: For reducing production costs.
- Firestone: With the aim of improving distribution logistics.
- Wal-Mart: To maximize sales.