Business Intelligence (BI) - What, Why, Who and How?


Business Intelligence (BI) - What, Why, Who and How

What is BI?

According to Wikipedia, ‘Business intelligence(BI) mainly refers to computer-based techniques used in identifying, extracting and analyzing business data, such as sales revenue by-products and/or departments, or by associated costs and incomes.’

What does that mean? BI allows you to transform disparate data into meaningful intelligence – which enables you to make smarter, more confident decisions, faster than ever before.

What does it do?

IBM defined the phrase back in 1958 as: "The ability to apprehend the interrelationships of presented facts in such a way as to guide action towards a desired goal".

What does that mean? A practical example is a case where large retailer Target predicted a consumer was pregnant because of her buying patterns and sent her coupons for pregnancy products. Her father discovered she was pregnant because of said coupons - even before his daughter had told him the news!

Why should I have it?

You should be using BI if you want to;

  • Quickly capture and integrate information into meaningful reports for operations and strategic planning.
  • Optimize processes business-wide and provide decision-makers with insight into financial and operational performance.
  • Improve visibility throughout your business to make faster, more informed decisions.
  • Instantly assess ROI with out-of-the-box dashboard, financial reporting, sales and operation management templates.
  • Get detailed, real-time intelligence through multi-dimensional data analysis and dynamic charts showing Key Performance Indicators

What IT skills do I need?

Once implemented by your software provider, basic computing skills like MS excel and general concepts of financial reporting will be sufficient. Sometimes a few SQL queries are required to customize your BI reports.

Who is using it?

Favoured in marketing, retail and financial sectors for understanding customers better, BI is spreading across all markets. BT uses BI to review customer use of its price plans, creating price plans to suit needs and ensuring that customers choose the optimum price plan. Online retail portal Kelkoo uses BI to track the experience of visitors to its site, enabling it to ensure the visit is as smooth as possible and that customers see the products and offers that are most relevant to them.

John Coppins, product director, Kognitio

What are the worst BI practices?

  • Assuming the average business user has the know-how or the time to use BI tools
  • Allowing Excel to become the default BI “platform”
  • Assuming a data warehouse will solve all information access and delivery requirements
  • Selecting a BI tool without a specific business need

What does the future hold for BI?

Business intelligence (BI) has changed substantially over the past decade, shifting from an emerging practice to a mainstream business competency, and from very high-cost to affordable for small and mid-sized businesses. The trends we are seeing more and more include cloud computing, commodity analytics, desktop analytics, collaborative culture, and mobile devices. These trends are real, they are happening now, they are irreversible, and they have substantial implications for BI.

How do I get started?

Contact us BAASS Business Solutions to discuss your requirements with one of our sales representatives.

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