Facebook is not just the only social media platform used to market businesses but it does have more than 1.82 billion users active daily. Why do we know this? Business Intelligence.
Your data is a goldmine and BI (Business Intelligence) leverages the power of data mining, analytics, and visualisations to derive actionable insights for transforming your services. Every company wants to grow but without actionable Business Intelligence, it is not possible to make informed business decisions. In this guide, we will cover the basics of what is Business Intelligence and tell you everything you need to know about it.
Did you know? It is estimated that by 2023, more than 33% of large-scale businesses will be implementing BI into their marketing and sales strategy.
What is Business Intelligence or (BI)?
Business Intelligence is a set of tools and services organisations use to analyse large volumes of information and extract insights. The goal of Business Intelligence is to give stakeholders a complete overview of the organisation's standing in the industry and help them make data-driven decisions which empower them.
A majority of BI systems are easy to use, intuitive, highly-customisable, and operable under self-service portals. BI platforms do not require a lot of maintenance and some of them are even free. Features in modern Business Intelligence suites include (but are not limited to) data mining, visualisations, analytics, infrastructure and more.
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What Are the Benefits of Business Intelligence?
Here are the benefits of Business Intelligence for enterprises:
Enhanced Organisational Efficiency
Business Intelligence tools help companies spend less time managing workloads and reduce their overall burden. IT departments and analysts respond to customer queries faster and get more work done. Business Intelligence is designed to be scalable, require minimal training and provides data-driven solutions to business departments in need of it. The biggest advantage of BI is that it unifies databases in all siloes and makes data management easy.
For example, in a traditional enterprise setup, different departments will have their own databases and to access information, users would have to send requests to each one of them. BI can organise all these internal databases, centralise, and extract data from external sources such as social media platforms, customer profiles, and even weather data. In short, it saves clients up to thousands of hours of time and enhances organisational efficiency.
Data-driven Decision Making
Data-driven business can substantially boost sales, generate positive user engagement, and help businesses make better decisions. Users don't have to wait for days or weeks to get reports on sales or risk dealing with outdated inputs. BI solutions offer customised dashboards which enterprises use to view everything in detail.
Improved Employee Satisfaction
BI gives insights to employees on how to improve performance at work, their strengths and weaknesses, and how teams are performing as a whole. Data has changed a lot over the years and BI boosts engagement rates. Employees can give feedback to systems and both small and medium enterprises can analyse their data using BI to improve workplace culture.
Enhanced Customer Experiences
BI can help you get to know your customers better. By using a blend of data mining and sentiment analysis, organisations can get feedback on their products and services online. Delivering a good customer experience is critical to success, and good BI identifies and segments customer profiles better. You understand key customer behaviour and can connect with your target audiences seamlessly.
Trusted and Governed Data
Every single company has different data requirements but ensuring the integrity of data is the most important. Businesses have to perform quality checks and avoid duplication. There are cases where duplicate data may lead to inaccurate entries and Business Intelligence can solve this. Businesses can prevent data theft, falsification of information, and ensure that all sources are verifiable and accurate. This also helps with guaranteeing legal compliance and prevents the risk of getting sued by other organisations.
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Business Intelligence Applications
Business Intelligence can positively impact businesses and steer them in the right direction. From launching new campaigns, A/B split testing, and analysing different metrics, BI tools transform raw data into useful information from which businesses get actionable insights.
Following are the different applications of Business Intelligence:
1. Tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Key Performance Indicators layer and track information across different data points. KPI metrics are used to weigh data across data points, produce compelling visualisations, and analyse high volumes of information to see what's going on.
2. Optimise Business Processes
BI suites are used to identify data trends, patterns, and prevent oversights in organisations. Embedded analytics pulls data from ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, identify inefficiencies in manufacturing processes, and address bottlenecks. Any resources that get underutilised are immediately spotted and BI is used for mitigating system vulnerabilities too.
3. "What If" Scenarios
Businesses have to prepare for unforeseen events or circumstances. Business Intelligence can make predictions or forecasts by analysing historical data and past trends. It can predict how a change in one variable can impact revenue growth and future business performance. Data sets are cleaned up and prepared for analysis automatically, receiving periodic updates with time. This means analysts can draw accurate conclusions and inform stakeholders on what to expect.
Types of BI Users
There are several types of BI users and they are:
- CEOs and CXOs.
- Business Analysts.
- IT Administrators.
- Casual users.
Business Intelligence Process.
The BI process can be broken down as follows:
1. Data Collection
This is where raw data is collected from various sources such as blogs, articles, social media feeds, internal and external databases, company inventories, etc.
2. Data Set Creation
Raw data is organised into an easily interpretable format and stored in what's called a 'data warehouse.'
3. Data Queries
Analysts run queries on stored data and the results are used to produce data visualisations.
4. Data Visualisations
These are described as histograms, charts, bar graphs, and analytical models. Figures are clearly represented on dashboards so that analysts get a complete overview.
5. Data Reporting
Custom models are made using data visualisations to project company performance and forecasts. Data analysts generate detailed reports which are presented to stakeholders and board members in meetings. All these steps help in making profitable business decisions.
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Business Intelligence Examples
Here are some real-world examples of BI:
Business Intelligence systems help marketers launch real-time campaigns in the digital space. It gives them visibility into their overall performance, make future predictions, and analyses key metrics for success.
In the sales world, BI is used for quickly making sense of complicated information like customer profitability, discount analysis, revenue targets, and sales rep performance. Sales managers can get data visualisations and reports straight from the dashboard.
Business managers use BI tools to get insight into their daily operations. BI can be used to automate manual labour-intensive tasks and free up time for more productive activities. Supply chain metrics can be analysed for optimising business processes, improving distribution routes, and ensuring that service level agreements are met.
Other Use Cases
BI is used in Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) systems to change product prices and feed databases accurate information. This is used for good inventory management and companies can execute custom queries.
Hotel owners use BI tools to gather information about customer demographics and banks use BI analytics for ascertaining a borrower's creditworthiness. Business Intelligence provides statistical information about organisations as well, giving them enough insight to act upon before making big business decisions.
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To summarise, Business Intelligence is a collection of tools and procedures that help organisations collect raw data, organise it, and extract actionable insights. There are many state-of-the-art BI solutions enterprises can leverage these days and BI vendors cater to all budgets. Some BI tools are customisable while off-the-shelf solutions may come with fixed features.
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