Business Intelligence (BI) is not just a trend that is attracting attention of various organisations around the world. It is about the best practices of using information in managing and optimising business performance in order to maximise profitability and help companies remain viable in the competitive business environment. This article will give readers a general idea of what BI is.
"take advantage of information and seize opportunities"
Today it is uncommon to find a successful enterprise that has not leveraged Business Intelligence (BI) technology. BI has been implemented in various industries from manufacturing to financial services, transportation, telecommunication, utilities, healthcare and retail. The presence of BI in most of important industries is the strong evidence of its effectiveness. This article aims at giving you a basic understanding about BI, how it works and what values BI will add to your organisation.
As data comes from different sources and presents under various formats. Therefore, gathering, integrating, standardizing, cleansing and presenting data in the way its users can understand is very challenging. BI is the only answer to this problem.
What is Business Intelligence (BI)?
Business Intelligence or Business insights is a term that refers to software applications that are used to manage and analyze raw data in order to monitor the company’s performance, improve decision making, cut cost, and identify new business opportunity. BI solutions give you the most powerful tools to transform raw data into high-quality information and identify inefficient business processes.
How does BI work?
BI is made up of several related activities like data mining, online analytical processing, querying and reporting. A typical BI structure may consist of the following components: Data sources, Data warehouse, and Front-end applications.
There are two sorts of data sources: internal data and external data. The internal data is the data you get from different databases across department in your organization, and the external data is the data which you can get from vendors.
When you already have data then what you need to do is to load your operational data into the warehouse. The process of extracting, transforming and loading data into data warehouse is called ETL (Extract-Transform-Load). In this warehouse, your data will go through process of integrating, cleansing, and standardizing. At this stage you can retrieve high-quality information to learn about your operation. However, you need applications that allow you to present information in the most comprehensive way.
Front-end applications provide users with tools to perform BI tasks: spreadsheets, search engine and performance management (visual dashboard). The management tools allow you to track key performance indicators by visualising information about your operation. For instance, in order to know about your company’s sales data, you can extract information from a sales data warehouse using visual tools to find information like “total sales of last month”, “who is the most profitable customers?”, “number of current order from a customer” and so on.
Who needs BI?
This decision support technology enables executives, managers, and analysts to make faster and better decisions in the-real time.
Because of the downturn of global economic and the increasing competition of business environment, organisations need a solution to utilise operation and increase revenue. Business Intelligence (BI) is more than a technology. It enables managers of all level to fully understand and optimize the business performance. It helps the management to identify business success and failure factors, address risks and seize business opportunities. Business Intelligence can help you to:
- Govern data effectively.
- Optimise operational performance and business processes.
- Support budgeting, financial planning and forecasting.
- Identify profitable products, services, and customers.
- Measure and predict sales and financial performance.
- Analyse buying and sales trends, customer behaviors.
- Provide customised reports as demand.
- Evaluate performance of regional, local and departmental.
Business Intelligence (BI) is not just a trend that is attracting attention of various organisations around the world. It is a about the best practices of using information in managing and optimising business performance. Its purpose is to maximise profitability and help companies remain viable in the fast moving and competitive business environment.