Business Intelligence (BI) basically refers to technologies, applications and practices for the gathering, integration, analysis and demonstration of business information. It is a technology-driven process that helps to analyse data and provide information which is useful for end-users such as managers, executives to make informed decisions. In other words, BI is a set of processes and technologies that transfer raw data into meaningful insights, which helps in making informed and profitable business decisions.
Business Intelligence includes a wide range of tools, applications etc that enable organisations to collect data from internal and external sources, prepare the data to analyse it, compile and run queries, create reports, data visualizations to make analytical data available to the corporation’s team. BI has a direct impact on the corporation’s strategy, operations and business decisions. The data collected is generally stored in a data warehouse or in smaller data marts, that hold subsets of a company’s information.
Importance of Business Intelligence
- Smart Decision Making
The main motive of BI initiative in an organisation is to convert the company’s information into structured, analysable data/ insights. In other words, real BI is that which can provide enough reliable data to make informed decisions.
- Reduction in Cost
There is no denying that the implementation and operation of any BI tool have its costs. But the return of the investment that is made to set up BI is much higher. This is so because the BI-tool automation reduces or even eliminates certain costs related to the collection of data, generation of reports, IT training etc.
- Kick start Productivity
BI has the potential to release inefficiency holdups, improve existing business processes, automate routine tasks and bring new standards of organization and prioritization to everybody’s work. There are various productivity and efficiency gains such as; responsive customer service, better time utilization, better outlook towards measurement of marketing cycles etc.
- Reliable Information
There is always a certain amount of risk involved in a business, but BI reporting tools help to minimize that risk. BI provides real-time reports that are highly accurate and also helps in analysing and understanding the information better. The need for guesswork is removed by using BI.
Popular Business Intelligence Tools
- SAP Business Intelligence
- Power BI
- Oracle BI
- Clear Analytics
The main reason of Business Intelligence is to support advanced business decision making. Principally, Business Intelligence systems are data-driven Decision Support Systems (DSS). BI can be used by various users such as; Data analysts, IT professionals etc. BI system helps an organization to improve visibility and productivity. One of the draw-backs of BI is that it is time-consuming, costly and a very complex process.