What is Business Intelligence (BI)?
Nowadays, BI is a buzzword in the tech industry. There are several different definitions of BI but to put it simply-
“BI is about to deliver relevant & reliable information to the right people at the right time”
The goal is to achieve better decisions faster. More precisely, Business Intelligence is a technology-driven process for analyzing data and presenting actionable information to help executives, managers and other corporate end users make savvy business decisions.
BI encompasses a wide variety of tools, applications and methodologies that enable organizations to collect data from internal systems and external sources. Then prepare the data for analysis, develop and run queries against that data and create reports, dashboards and data visualizations to make the analytical results available to corporate decision-makers, as well as operational workers.
What Applications do we need for BI?
Business intelligence comprises an extensive range of data analysis applications. It includes:
- Ad-hoc Analytics and Querying: Ad-hoc analysis is a Business Intelligence process designed to answer a single, specific business question. Users may create a report that does not already exist or drill deeper into a static report to get details about accounts, transactions or records.
- Enterprise Reporting: Enterprise Reporting is the online Business Intelligence Solution that transforms an enterprise-wide data into knowledge for effective measurement and management – contributing to better business decisions.
- Online Analytical Processing (OLAP): OLAP is a powerful technology behind many Business Intelligence applications for data discovery, including capabilities for limitless report viewing, complex analytical calculations, and predictive “what if” scenario such as budget planning, forecast etc.
- Real-time BI: Real-time BI is an approach to data analytics that enables business users to get up-to-the-minute data by directly accessing operational systems or feeding business transactions into a real-time data warehouse and business intelligence system.
- Mobile BI: Mobile BI is the ability to access BI-related data such as KPIs, business metrics, and dashboards on mobile devices.
- Operational BI: Operational BI is the process of reviewing and evaluating operational business processes, activities & data for the purpose of making tactical, strategic business decisions.
- Cloud BI: Cloud Business Intelligence applications are hosted on a virtual network, such as the internet. They are used to provide organizations access to BI-related data such as dashboards, KPIs and other business analytics.
- SAAS (software-as-a-service) BI: SaaS BI is a cloud-hosted application that uses recurring or subscription-based pricing to deliver BI tools, like dashboards to enterprises.
- Open source BI: Open source BI is, technically, free Business Intelligence software which supports reporting, online analytical processing (OLAP) and data mining software as well as dashboards, bundled data integration and data profiling tools.
- Collaborative BI: Collaborative Business Intelligence is the merging of business intelligence software with collaboration tools, including social and Web 2.0 technologies, to support improved data-driven decision making.
- location intelligence BI: Location intelligence is a Business Intelligence tool that converts geographic contexts to business data.
- Here are some more basic concepts of BI which will help to understand this process more precisely.
Why is Business Intelligence Important?
In today’s customer-centric, digital-first world, many business owners & managers are bombarded with ‘information overload’ and are urgently looking for ways to derive greater control, understanding and intelligence from their organization’s data.
One of the best solutions to this growing problem is to adopt a Business Intelligence (BI) strategy. But in reality, many companies have been slow to do so due to a lack of knowledge of exactly what it involves, where to start, and how long it will take to show up any benefit. The truth is- Business Intelligence should be an integral part of any business operation. Here are some benefits of adopting Business Intelligence in any business.
1. Smart Decision Making
BI converts huge amount of scattered data into structured, analyzable insight – in other words, real business intelligence that can inform strategic decision-making across the company, which at the end, contribute to a superior financial performance.
2. Boost Sales And Marketing Goals
BI can deliver in-depth analysis to kickstart sales and boost the performance of marketing functions. BI tools can identify trends in customer behavior in a more fundamentally and strategically and exploit all up-selling or cross-selling opportunities.
Additionally, BI helps to improve the visibility of sales information, which can be used to finely tune and target their marketing campaigns. Also, it helps to track technical features and measure every campaign and use information garnered to ensure future marketing initiatives are as profitable and effective as possible.
3. Gives insights into customer knowledge
One of the main reasons behind the rising demand for BI tools that it helps to understand how customers are interacting with any business and how best to reach them – or, more accurately, to encourage them to reach any product or service. Tools like CRM provide the intelligence necessary to adopt any business to the New Customer Journey. Without this knowledge, it’s easy to fall back off the competition.
4. Deliver an Outstanding Customer Experience
BI helps to have an up-to-date, at-a-glance view of each customer of a business that takes in all real-time information, including ongoing service cases, previous purchases and where they are in the sales cycle. This provides the basis for enhanced customer service response, as well as allowing a business to spot when a prospect or customer might be in ‘buying mode’, and to manage any danger points where a customer service failure risks undermining CX.
With this newfound customer insight in place, one can conduct segmentation work to identify the typical profile of his/her most profitable customers, helps to check that resources are being applied appropriately and that he/she is attracting the right type of prospects to meet the business growth targets.
5. Power Up Productivity
BI has the potential to release inefficiency bottlenecks, refine existing business processes, automate routine tasks and bring new levels of organization and prioritization to everybody’s work. The efficiency and productivity gains can be considerable, including more responsive customer service, better use of salespeople’s time, and closer measurement of product development cycles and marketing campaigns. The efficiency element is also evident at a more senior level, thanks to automated reporting and dashboards.
6. Tighten Up Data Accuracy and Compliance
Business Intelligence provides centralization of data which helps to improve transparency and expose inaccuracies and gaps that will lead to wasted marketing spend, not to mention potential brand damage caused by sending insensitive or mistargeted communications.
7. Accelerate Return-on-Investment
The culmination of achieving all of the points above should be a vast improvement in any businesses return-on-investment across the company – from managing day-to-day efficiency, sales deal conversion metrics and Customer Experience, right through to analyzing, modeling and crafting future growth strategies. Without the right insight and disciplines, it’s easy to fall back on old ways of doing things manually, on hypotheses and preconceptions – especially about customer behavior and preferences – and that could set a company on entirely the wrong course.
In particular, smart technologies are being embraced to track, inform, guide, manage and measure Customer Experience – embedding the notion firmly into the company culture that every team and every individual bears a responsibility for putting the customer at the heart of the business.
Moreover, the focus is turning away from department-specific solutions and towards enterprise-wide deployments that help companies keep all tactical and strategic business activity tightly aligned with current objectives. In a nutshell, BI can be described as providing managers with “a clearer idea of how well their companies are running, and if they are meeting goals.”
In our next blog, we will come up with more details insights of how Business Intelligence process works with real-life application of this trending technology.