Business intelligence is the process of simplifying complex results from data analysis and information discovery, making it easy for core decision makers (managers, directors and so on) to create efficient business strategies, react to changes in the marketplace and improve collaboration.
There are many approaches to business intelligence, which, over the years, have evolved to offer tools and insights into optimizing the performance of many business structures, ranging from single individual performance to optimizing processes within sub-teams, teams and entire businesses. Business intelligence systems are used to analyze and review past performance of various business processes, as well as to predict the impact of various business or technological decisions on future goals. In simplified terms, business intelligence can be thought of as advanced business analytics and decision support systems which is often used by larger companies in order to optimize their products, sale strategy or internal organization structure.
Why do companies need business intelligence tools?
While most small companies do not need sophisticated data analysis tools to manage their daily operations, larger organizations often have hundreds of vital data sets with billions of variables in each set. And the worst part is that each one of those variables must be evaluated properly in order to make profitable future business decisions. This is exactly where business intelligence systems come in – they help managers and company owners formulate successful product launch strategies, prepare marketing campaigns, make sense of various emerging markets and successfully adapt to changes in consumer needs and shopping habits.
As already mentioned, business intelligence can give companies significant competitive advantage over rivals, especially in big, constantly evolving markets. Most business intelligence solutions are fully integrated, meaning that they help companies to streamline the data analysis process. This includes things like data collection, storage, analysis and retrieval.
Which are the most used BI Tools?
There are several strong players on the BI market today, some of the largest, best and often most expensive business intelligence solutions are the ones from Microsoft BI system, SAS Business Intelligence Systems, TARGIT BI Suite and Oracle solution. Our favorite system are the one from Targit as it’s the cheapest of the systems, and the easist to use. Often it requires quite a bit of training to learn a BI system which is why we like this one so much as it requires the least training in order to use the basic functions of the system.
As with all complex tasks, business intelligence tools are not perfect. Here are some of the most common problems with data analysis:
- Poor data quality and badly organized data collection and warehousing efforts can lead to poor results. After all, business intelligence tools operate on data, which must be representative and relevant.
- Massive amounts of irrelevant data can be a big problem for companies. Analyzing such data is going to be time-consuming and expensive.
- Most companies do not have a very good understanding of how their business processes work and interact with each other. For this reason, analyzing data and using it successfully can be problematic. This is perhaps the main reason why business analysts are in such high demand these days.
Business Intelligence systems isn’t something for everybody as it’s expensive to obtain, oftens requires a lot of work to add all the data to your data warehouse, setup the data mining tool and takes some training in order to be able to get the most out of your system. But for some, this is a very powerful tool which can lead to increased profit in the long run or just help you get a much better picture of your business.