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Have you ever wondered why do we need business intelligence? Or how a good BI can help revamp your business? Or bring more efficiency to your business processes? If yes, then this article is for you.

Business intelligence has empowered businesses to see the bigger picture. It has helped to make smarter business decisions over the years. It collects data from many sources, analyzes and presents them in an easy-to-understand manner.

A good BI strategy helps eliminate a lot of risks associated with decisions making. It prepares businesses for many challenges and helps them move forward with confidence.

What is Business Intelligence?

Richard Miller Devans coined the phrase “business intelligence.” He explained how bankers gained a competitive advantage by utilizing data and historical analysis to surpass their competitors. The term “business intelligence” has surpassed its previous definition.
The purpose of business intelligence is simply to help businesses make well-informed decisions. It improves their overall business operations using data. BI enables organizations to extract meaningful insights from a large quantum of data.
Organizations that use BI tools can generate actionable insights by analyzing their data.
Through BI, businesses and organizations:
  • Can track metrics, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
  • Compare process performances of businesses against benchmarks, and
  • Perform analysis in seconds
Business intelligence speeds up decision-making. It allows them to come up with efficient solutions in a quick time.

BI (Business intelligence) tools can deliver highly actionable insights if used properly. It can speed up an organization’s growth. Only with the help of BI tools can businesses make data-driven and informed decisions.

Companies historically have been relying on their intuition to make important decisions. But in today’s data-driven world, where speed and accuracy of decision making are paramount, intuition is not enough. Senior leadership needs to be equipped with all relevant and important data and insights at all times.

The BI process as we know it

The term business intelligence, nowadays, is often perceived as an umbrella term. It refers to various methods and techniques of generating insights from data. It includes multiple processes, such as data collection, data preparation, data analytics, data visualization, and insight delivery. Although the methods might vary depending on the user’s needs, the process remains the same, more or less.

Explained below is the business intelligence process:

  • Step 1 – Data collection:

    Collect data from various sources and store it in a data warehouse or a database system. Sources can vary from different databases such as Maria DB, My SQL, MS SQL, Oracle to flat files such as Excel and CSV. 

  • Step 2 –  Data preparation:

    In this step, clean, organize and model the collected data for further analysis.

  • Step 3 – Data analytics:

    In this step, perform querying of databases to generate insights. Almost all of the current Business intelligence platforms use some form of querying language such as SQL to do this. Few platforms have their own querying language.

  • Step 4 – Data visualization:

    After analysis, generated insights are presented to the business users in the form of charts, tables and then combined to form dashboards, reports, etc. 

  • Step 5 – Insight generation:

    In this step, the user uses all the information they are provided with to generate insights. It is in this step the business user understands the various findings such as metric tracking and distribution of KPIs.

  • Step 6 – Decision making:

    In the final step, having known all the facts and insights backed by empirical data, the user is now in a position to make a data-driven decision for the betterment of their business.

Business Intelligence applications

Over the last few years, business intelligence has found widespread application in multiple industries. Although Banking, Financial Services, Retail has been at the forefront of analytics and BI adoptions. Traditional industries, such as Manufacturing, shipping & logistics, have also started adopting analytics aggressively.

 The benefits of using BI across industries are exponential, such as:
It allows the retail department to understand:
  • The evolving customer behavior,
  • Track average unit sales
  • Monitoring in-store and category-wise performance

Besides tracking the performance of shippers and drivers, the shipping and logistics teams can easily understand changing consumer behavior. They can monitor performance end-to-end, from pickup and delivery to payments.

With financial analytics, the finance team can easily identify revenue gaps and plug them in while tracking the market. This further helps in optimizing cash flow and ensuring enough working capital is available for projected investments and expenses.

By combining viewership data with content metadata, INSIA’s AI-based business analytics platform helps companies create engaging content preferred by the audiences.

In short, from the most trivial issues to the most prominent business problems faced by a company, the BI platform can provide actionable insights within seconds, leading to better growth and higher revenues.

Role of Business intelligence Platforms

The business intelligence process, with so many steps and tasks involved, can sometimes be tedious and time-consuming. 

A business intelligence platform is a very powerful tool that automates the entire business intelligence process and makes your customer/company data usable.  The platform allows users to import, clean, and analyze data from various sources, followed by actionable insights to act upon immediately. 

Using a Business intelligence platform helps you execute the lengthy BI process in less than a minute, making it quicker and more effective. Because otherwise, the data may become irrelevant and taking decisions based on outdated data will not help businesses in any way. 

Why do Business users need BI platforms?

It goes without saying that in today’s fast-moving world, businesses have to be data-powered and need to promote a data-driven culture in order to be successful. To do this, an essential requirement is for users to connect to the data directly. 

The users also need to understand their data better to derive instant insights. Moreover, without a BI platform, it becomes extremely difficult, because of the multiple layers that exist between the data and the users. 

In the absence of a modern business intelligence platform, multiple layers of business analysts, data analysts, and BI developers are required to derive actionable insights and make them available to make decisions. This not only increases the time to insights but a lot is lost in translation as most of the time what business users get is very different from what they asked for.

Using a BI platform creates an effective data to decision environment, taking it upon itself to do all the intermediate work. This effectively creates a steadfast and robust relationship between the user and the platform. 

The user remains connected to their data and can understand it better with the help of the platform while the platform learns, understands, and supports your BI strategy by making it easier to access and analyze data.  

Final Thoughts

To summarize, in today’s data-powered world, it is extremely difficult for businesses to compete without relying on business intelligence. Organizations have to be well-equipped to develop quick and smart decisions based on hard facts. To do this, they need to be in a position where they can understand their data with ease in order to generate actionable insights. The best way to perform this operation is by using a BI platform that automates the BI process, thereby connecting business users directly to the data.

Understanding the same, Forty4Hz’s self-service, no code, business intelligence, and analytics platform, INSIA enables business users to make fast and smart data-driven decisions by providing them the power of Google-like Search. This brings them closer to data and helps them generate actionable insights thereby accelerating business growth and profitability.

Note: If you want to know about the best tools for effective business intelligence, we recommend you check out our list of the top 8 business analytics platforms in the market right now.

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