What is Business Intelligence?
“Business intelligence (BI) is the use of computing technologies for the identification, discovery and analysis of business data – like sales revenue, products, costs and incomes. BI technologies provide current, historical and predictive views of internally structured data for products and departments by establishing more effective decision-making and strategic operational insight.” – Techopedia.com
In other words, business intelligence is the process of finding important and useful trends in data to make more effective decisions related to your business or organisation.
Business intelligence is an extremely powerful tool that is an extension of your fast thinking mind and as we all know, most of us don’t use our slow thinking system for decisions. Instead we use our fast system and what differentiates the experts is their ability to take in the most information in a short space of time. Have you ever the seen Sherlock Holmes (2009) by Warner Bros where Sherlock played by Robert Downey, Jr scans the scene and takes in so much detail in an instant enabling him to see what others don’t. Sherlock Homes demonstrates the ability to look at a scene or scenario and take in more useful information in a split second than a ‘normal’ person can do in minutes or possibly ever.
Now please don’t think what I am suggesting is with Business Intelligence tools to hand you will be able to do the same, but with Business Intelligence you will be able to process exponentially more information than you would be able to otherwise. While you still need to do your due diligence and check what it is you are reporting, if you use Business Intelligence correctly, you’ll have an incredible competitive advantage over the other companies in your market.
So why is there a growing need for Business Intelligence and why now?
The need is growing at the same pace the amount of data is being produced which is becoming less and less comprehendible for the normal human brain. Without Business Intelligence you run the risk of drowning in data and missing out on key information points. For some this is a huge headache and for others a great opportunity, but which ever way you look at it, Business Intelligence will help you cut through the noise and focus on critical KPI’s or trends.
Basic Components of a Business Intelligence solution
Some Business Intelligence products focus only on data visualization. This “front-end approach” can give you views of your data, but it skips optimizing steps like the preparation of data and the creation of a central storage location from different sources. A ‘full-stack’ or ‘single-stack’ solution like Sisense or Tableau offers back-end as well as front-end capabilities. The back-end handles your data preparation, creating a central data repository for extensive analytics, and a single version of the truth, while the front-end provides you with consistent data visualization and dashboard reporting. The main differences between a full stack BI vs Data visualisation are:
- Preparing data
- Joining data sources
- Analyzing data
Depending on where and how your data is stored and aggregated, will determine the best Business Intelligence solution for your organisation.
To make the most of your Business Intelligence, data visualisation is essential to understanding your data and immediately identifying the important information. Basic dashboard design principles must be taken into consideration to be able to draw value from dashboards and resonate with the viewers. From choosing the right data visualisation type to knowing how to efficiently create dashboard storytelling.
This introduction to business intelligence proves that in today’s data-driven world, the companies and individuals who can sift through the noise to find the signals of real importance will have a head and shoulders advantage over their peers. Harnessing Business Intelligence as part of your weaponry will enable you to see more clearly.
Put simply, Business Intelligence helps you to know your marketplace, your customers, your competitors, and your business as well as possible so that you can make the most effective decisions you can.
So, don’t miss the train, find out more about Business Intelligence and how it could help you. This is an era that has seen great advances recently with the introduction of cloud-based Business Intelligence tools making it easily accessible to all. Contact us and find out how Business Intelligence works and how we can help implement and start you on your journey to harnessing data and gaining valuable insights.