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Conducting business is by no means an easy thing. There are numerous aspects that need to be taken into account in everyday decision-making processes. There are countless factors that may either inhibit those processes or facilitate them, there is responsibility for the results of every single change that is launched. There is also the necessity of being constantly alert to any subtlest indication that our business may be affected by some market shift. And this is just a handful of business-related issues which can decide whether you are successful on the market or whether you drop out of the picture.
Those difficulties and complexities gave rise to the popularity of business intelligence. In this article, we’ll briefly explain the concept of business intelligence, address some frequently asked questions concerning the topic and provide examples illustrating successful implementation of business intelligence guidelines. Read on.
Business intelligence (BI) refers to the process of making use of data collection, data analysis and data visualization in order to enhance the company’s decision-making. Raw data needs to be processed with the use of business intelligence tools — i.e. types of online platforms and software — and presented in a visually approachable way so that all people within the organization can get actionable insights for the most strategic business decisions. To put it simply, the more valid the conclusions you draw from your historical and current data, the more likely you are to push your company in the right direction and stimulate the overall business’s growth.
There are four major steps that needs to be taken in order to transform raw data into valuable BI insights:
The umbrella term “business intelligence” comprises more than just one approach. Basically, whether a given model can be described as traditional or modern depends on the degree to which BI tools and platforms are accessible to all business users.
Traditional business intelligence requires almost constant involvement of data analytics professionals and IT specialists who have the sole access to a given BI tool, gather information and then provide users who have submitted their queries with specific reports. Self-service business intelligence, on the other hand, allows various users to use data independently of IT specialists or data analysts; everyone who is interested in obtaining information can access the tool, type in their request and instantly get visualized reports, which is why the self-service BI model is often described as more interactive and offering ready-to-use solutions.
BI is used by various departments that, depending on the specific goals they want to achieve, use BI tools to conduct different sets of tasks. These tasks may include monitoring customer preferences and shopping patterns (sales department), tracking campaigns and assessing their effectiveness (marketing), analyzing factors affecting profit and loss (finance), and reviewing operational processes to optimize the company’s supply chain (operations). BI tools help teams draw accurate conclusions about the current state of a given department and share them with others so that new opportunities for growth can be identified and more profitable decisions can be made.
There are many BI platforms that offer ad hoc reporting and advanced data visualization that fuel data-driven decisions. The best tools enable users to derive big data from many sources, generate comprehensive results based on a thorough analysis of every single aspect of business and present those results in a fully approachable and visually appealing way. Some of the most frequently recommended modern business intelligence tools include Microsoft Power BI, Tableau Desktop, Oracle BI, SAP BusinessObjects, SAS BI, Domo, Zoho Analytics and Dundas BI.
Numerous companies at some point faced some growth-impeding obstacles that forced them to look for a remedy. Here are several examples of companies and organizations that decided to apply some BI solutions and experienced a major switch in the way they had been operating:
Businesses differ, so there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to problems, difficulties or dilemmas that each company may have to struggle with. In order to find a suitable remedy and get a chance to make a real difference, you need to have access to solid and reliable data obtained by means of effective tools. Understanding and following business intelligence guidelines can lead you towards achieving your desirable business goals and making your company one of the key players on the market.
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