Business Intelligence (BI) can be a strategic initiative that has the potential to impact your company's profitability and performance significantly. BI tools and technologies have been around for a long time. Still, in recent years, advancement in cloud computing has dramatically transformed the industry, making it possible for all organizations to quickly and easily scale computing resources to handle a wide variety of large data sets to process and analyze. In this blog, I wanted to provide a brief definition of Business Intelligence and then highlight a few of the key benefits and business value it can add to your organization.
What is Business Intelligence?
In short, Business Intelligence (BI) refers to the strategies and technologies used to transform raw data into meaningful, actionable insights. It's about having easy access to timely, trusted data to help people make more informed business decisions. It encompasses infrastructure, data integration, data platforms, reporting tools, dashboards, and best practices to develop analytical solutions to help transform organizations into making more data-driven decisions.
5 BI Benefits that will Drive Business Value
Single Source of Trusted Information
Organizations rely on many different systems to run their business, including financial, operational, inventory management, CRM, and HR, just to name a few. Accessing all these systems to get information can be challenging and time-consuming. At its core, a BI solution will have a robust, automated data integration process that will extract data from your systems and load all your business data into a separate unified data platform (typically a data warehouse or data lake). Having the data in a central repository creates a single source of truth and can provide everyone in the organization access to the same set of data. This can significantly reduce administration time, boost productivity, improve data integrity, and provide a holistic view of the business.
Quick, Easy Access to Timely Information
Once you have all the data being loaded regularly into a centralized data warehouse repository, you can use modern BI tools such as Power BI or Tableau to give users access to explore and analyze data. These tools, along with implementing the proper database design and governance processes, will make information easily accessible for users to measure performance consistently.
Gain Better Insights and Improve Decision Making
Maybe the most obvious benefit that drives business value is gaining better insights into what's happening in the business. This will depend on the type of organization and industry but could be identifying market trends, understanding customer satisfaction, sales performance, profit margins, or cost analysis. BI solutions will allow you to deliver scalable, repeatable, and reusable analytics that add value over and over for a specific set of users or use cases. Having access to this trusted information will enable users to make informed decisions and take action.
Improve Operational Efficiency
The widespread use of information technology can generate tremendous amounts of data within an organization. A well-designed and functioning BI solution will greatly reduce the time to gather, organize, validate, and deliver critical information. An automated data integration framework will decrease the amount of manual effort, reduce the risk of errors and free up time for IT and business analysts. This will also reduce uncertainty, frustration, and firefighting, allowing the business to be more proactive vs. reactive.
Eliminate Dependency on IT for Reports
Self-service reporting has been around for the past 25 years, and modern reporting tools now have advanced features that allow users to do more than just create reports. They have the ability to pull data from many different data sources, cleanse and filter the data, create data models, schedule data refreshes, and create advanced interactive visualizations and dashboards. Many business users want to leverage these features to boost their productivity, which drives the adoption of self-service reporting. As a result, this helps remove the IT bottleneck of the backlog of report requests, allowing IT to focus on other value-added activities.
We believe in establishing a strong data culture, where data and analytics can foster trust between IT and decision-makers to increase efficiency and gain insights to guide your business. As with any major business initiative, business intelligence is a journey that needs to be planned and tackled in manageable phases with an approach that minimizes business disruption. We believe it can help businesses of all sizes and in all industries to operate profitably, continuously adapt, and achieve their goals.