Thought Leadership

What is Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence Defined

business intelligence definedBusiness Intelligence (BI) refers to the technology-rich process involved in analyzing data and gaining actionable insight that aids executives, marketers, and others in making better, more
informed business decisions. BI involves a range of tools, applications, and practices that aid organizations in collecting data from various sources, preparing it for analysis and then analyzing it, and creating reports and visualizations that present the results in a meaningful way to decision makers and employees who use the results to optimize business processes, deliver an enriched customer experience, and more.

Benefits of Business Intelligence

Organizations around the globe are just now beginning to realize all of the potential benefits of Business Intelligence, as they harness the power of Big Data. BI may include historical information and new data, which enables organizations to make strategic and tactical decisions. Specific benefits of Business Intelligence include faster and improved decision making processes, optimized business processes, increased operational efficiency, and new revenue. Companies that use BI effectively also identify market trends and business issues that need to be corrected.

Business Intelligence delivers the insight executives need in order to make the right decisions because it connects the data, technology, analytics, and knowledge that business professionals need to ensure success. It is with Business Intelligence that organizations and enterprises gain competitive advantage.

Business Intelligence for Competitive Advantage

benefits of business intelligenceBusiness Intelligence is key for gaining competitive advantage. As 54% of business professionals recognize that companies need to be analytics-driven in order to be competitive, it isn’t surprising that Gartner predicts that “business analytics will further reach almost all of potential users after 2020 as we enter the realms of the Internet of Everything.” BI delivers critical analytical insight and predictive analysis that aids in faster decision making and yields a competitive advantage.

Best Practice Recommendations

Martha Bennett and Boris Evelson, principal analysts at Forrester Research, spoke with 15 BI specialists and conducted extensive research to determine that BI professionals are crucial components of the BI process, as the methodologies, tools, and processes alone are not enough to deliver successful BI projects. They share three of their Business Intelligence best practices that can make be the difference between failure and success.

  1. Put the Business Into Business Intelligence: Relationships and processes must be in place to ensure collaboration with business executives, so that the business is involved in BI projects at every stage.
  2. Be Agile and Aim to Deliver Self-Service: Using agile methods is the best way to maximize the odds of having a successful BI project. The majority of BI experts involved in Forrester’s research emphasize breaking project elements into small chunks, working collaboratively, and reviewing tangible deliverables frequently.
  3. Put a Solid Governance Foundation in Place: Know your data – what do you have available from internal and external sources and hat value does the data have regarding process improvement, decision making, new products and services deployment, etc. Then, clearly define data items and the rules that apply for capturing, storing, and processing the data. Keep in mind the two aspects of BI governance, data governance and BI deployment governance.

Clearly, Business Intelligence is a key component of business success. When organizations and enterprises have the proper BI processes and best practices in place and get everyone on board with using the tools and working collaboratively, they reap the benefits and gain the competitive advantage of using BI.

Further Reading

For further information on Business Intelligence, check out these articles: