TechDogs-"Navigating The World Of Business Intelligence"

Business Intelligence

Navigating The World Of Business Intelligence

By TechDogs

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Data is the new oil; where have we heard that before? Oh yeah, everywhere on the Internet. However, humans can't breathe, eat or drink data - then why is it so important?

Data is vital for business; gathering data leads to structuring it, which leads to analyzing it, which leads to finding patterns in consumer behavior which leads to understanding how the market will behave in the future, which ultimately results in better business decisions which mean more $$$$$$!

The entire process of collecting, identifying and analyzing data using tools, methods and infrastructure by companies is known as Business Intelligence. In this article, we explore the why, how, when and what of Business Intelligence. Let's get started!
TechDogs-Your Submarine To Deep Drive Into Business Data-"Navigating The World Of Business Intelligence"

Let's take a detour from our mundane lives and imagine that you are a helmsman on the submarine (a submarine driver in layperson terms). You are enjoying the deep blue sea and out of nowhere, you see a scary red blip on your radar screen. Who could that be? A friend? Enemy? Pirates? Aquaman? Now let's connect this abruptly cut scenario to Business Intelligence (BI).

Business Intelligence is the art of Knowing (with a capital K) if the blip of the radar is a foe or friend before they are aware you are there.

Most businesses can now detect a blip on their radar screen (thanks to Business Intelligence). They can tell whether the blip is a warship from their squadron after some thought. When it isn't one of theirs, though, they can't be certain of anything. The blip on the screen may be an opponent or a friend (from another place) or perhaps Ariel; they wouldn't know. Without adequate BI systems, making quick business decisions can be risky and erroneous for a firm.

Simply put, their Captain (CEO) will be unable to view the entire global picture in front of them and whatever image they do view will almost certainly fail to include all of their assets, resources and possibilities - just like a submarine periscope will only show a small section of the horizon!

Companies must identify enemy vessels before they leave the ground to prevail in a competitive market. This may sound like a pipe dream but effective (read well-integrated) global business information can provide such a benefit. In this article, we will learn a bit about what Business Intelligence is, how they work, their rich history and more. Let's start with the most obvious.

What Is Business Intelligence?

Businesses with intelligence - how cool is that! What they do is collect, process, analyze and visualize vast amounts of data of the past, present and future, displayed through BI dashboards. With intelligence in its name, BI solutions create actionable business insights, interactive reports and simplify decision-making processes.

These BI initiatives have a simple and specific goal which is to drive better business decisions enabling organizations to improve operational efficiency by making informed decisions, which essentially will help in increase revenues and ultimately gain competitive advantages on the rivals. To achieve this goal, BI combines various aspects like data analytics, data management and reporting tools, along with various methodologies for managing and analyzing data. Not only that but they also allow consumers to access self-service capabilities such as automatic reporting and predictive analytics.

Before we break down all that jargon for you, let's cover what's been done and dusted in the field of Business Intelligence - in layman terms how it all started and how it reached where it is now.

The Business Intelligence Backstory

Business Intelligence (BI) has been around for nearly 150 years, although its roots go back to before computers were invented. Richard Millar Devens coined the term "Business Intelligence" (BI) in the Cyclopaedia of Commercial and Business Anecdotes in 1865. He used it to explain how banker Sir Henry Furnese gained knowledge by obtaining and acting on it before his competitors. Then in 1958, an IBM computer scientist called Hans Peter Luhn, commonly regarded as the "Father of Business Intelligence," published an essay in which he discussed the possibilities of using technology to gather Business Intelligence (BI).

After which, Edgar Codd from IBM released a paper in 1970 entitled "Relational Model of Data for Big Share Data Banks" that opened the way for relationship databases of the following generation, allowing for far wider storage and manipulation capabilities. By the end of the seventies, the first commercial version of the Oracle database was developed by Larry Ellison and two pals. This technology defined the history and patterns of BI in the coming decades. As more rivals joined the market and more IT experts became familiar with the technology, the cost for data warehouse tools started to drop in the 1990s.

By 2000, Business Intelligence tools were already established as a "must-have" for all medium to large corporates and enterprises. As data became more and more abundant BI saw a new phase altogether, the development effort was directed toward increasing the speed at which the information would become available and reduce the complexity of accessing it. Eventually, making or enhancing BI capabilities which were able to more broadly address what customer wants and what do they want. This became easy to use and non-technical people could collect data by themselves and acquire insights without using new and enhanced information systems.

So, you now know how BI came into the world and was developed. Let’s understand how Business Intelligence is implemented in the real world.

How Does Business Intelligence Work?

TechDogs-"How Does Business Intelligence Work?"-2D Image Of A Human Character Analyzing Site Stats And Reports On The Screen

Business Intelligence gives information to business executives so that they may make better-informed business choices. Business Intelligence is utilized as a bedrock for sound decisions, removing the need for assumptions and instincts as possible from the decision-making process. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, including sales management systems, supply chain information, customer management, marketing analytics, contact center statistics and metadata (information describing data), are some of the data sources used to generate Business Intelligence, assisting businesses in bringing all of these various sources together into a single unified perspective that provides real-time reporting, dashboards and analysis. Essentially, it brings together all the data from different sources and then analyzes it into sizeable insights for business stakeholders to understand and make informed decisions.

We understand that without data and analysis, there is no Business Intelligence. What are the other pillars of Business Intelligence?

The Pillars Of Business Intelligence

Here are the four foundational elements that make Business Intelligence a viable and necessary option.
  • The Data Itself

    The heart of a Business Intelligence solution - a company's raw data is kept across several platforms (CRM, HRM (Human Resource Management), ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), APIs (Application Programming Interface) and flat files). These disparate databases are linked together through various data connectors.

  • The Data Warehouse

    The data connector allows customers to consolidate their databases into a single data warehouse, a storage center for all your business data. Working on a data warehouse will enable you to cross-reference the data and bring it all together in an organized fashion. Without the need for manual intervention, data warehouses receive real-time changes.

  • Accessing, Analyzing And Presenting Data

    Once the data is organized, it is examined to find trends and patterns. This data is then presented in an understandable format to the big leagues of the company, who make the business decisions.

  • Data Dashboards And Reports

    Wave goodbye to the days of Excel reports; today, we use interactive dashboards for data science representation. Such dashboards can track and report your data mart in real-time, which is the essential aspect of Business Intelligence. There is more than one ingredient needed in making a perfect meal, similarly, there are several features of BI solution that businesses need. Let's talk about BI features!

There is more than one ingredient needed in making a perfect meal, similarly, there are several features of BI platform that businesses need. Let's talk about BI features, baby...

Must-have Features Of Business Intelligence

The most relevant features of BI tools depend on various reasons, including your needs and business circumstances. It's kind of like watching a horror movie; some people do it for the thrill and then others watch horror movies because others are watching it and don't have a choice. Regardless of why you want BI, here are the top five features you need.
  • Personalized Dashboards

    Custom Dashboards supply corporate executives with important, easily understandable smart data, allowing quicker and better decision-making while reducing response times.

  • Location Intelligence

    Location Intelligence means the ability for geographical mapping and visualization of data. Data sets based on historical data and geographic aspects may be explored and visualized so that enterprises may understand their business metrics activities from fresh viewpoints, such as revenue per state, city or even area.

  • "What If" Analysis

    Businesses can use "what if" analysis to examine the potential consequences of important business decisions before they are taken. This aids management in developing precise strategic plans.

  • Interactive Reports

    Interactive reports enable users to transform information into knowledge that enhances user understanding in reports. These reports are based on the underlying data that promote improved decision-making.

  • Ranking Report

    Ranking reports enable you to see your company's most significant and finest performance characteristics. You may, for example, produce a report that classifies your ten best-seller items, highest revenue regions or top-performing salespeople.

Business Intelligence is already quite evolved, what can we expect from BI in the future?

The Next Steps For Business Intelligence

TechDogs-"The Next Steps For Business Intelligence"-3D Image With A Human Hand Holding A Light Bulb Surrounded By Icons, Graph & Stats

Since BI solution are continually growing in response to advanced analytics and changing corporate demands and technological advancements, so is the development of power BI. There is no denying that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will continue to evolve to derive valuable insights. Firms will have to incorporate AI insight into a larger BI strategy in the future for customizable dashboards. Companies' attempts to exchange data and cooperate will grow as they attempt to become more data-driven. Data visualization software will act as decision support systems and will become even more critical for business operations as teams and departments collaborate to gain operational efficiency.

Business Intelligence is a critical investment in making a company more data-driven. When a self-service Business Intelligence is used, it may free up time for workers to take action that keeps the company moving ahead. It will identify if the blip is on the radar in a foe or a friend and might save your submarine!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Business Intelligence (BI) and how does it benefit businesses?

Business Intelligence (BI) refers to the process of collecting, processing, analyzing, and visualizing large volumes of data from various sources to provide actionable insights for organizations. BI solutions utilize dashboards to present these insights in a user-friendly manner, facilitating informed decision-making. By leveraging BI, businesses can drive better decisions, improve operational efficiency, increase revenues, and gain competitive advantages. These solutions combine data analytics, management tools, and methodologies to enable organizations to understand past, present, and future trends, ultimately leading to more informed decision-making processes.

What is the history and evolution of Business Intelligence?

The roots of Business Intelligence trace back nearly 150 years, with the term coined by Richard Millar Devens in 1865. However, it gained momentum with technological advancements. In 1958, Hans Peter Luhn, an IBM computer scientist, is often regarded as the "Father of Business Intelligence" for discussing the possibilities of using technology for BI. Subsequently, developments like Edgar Codd's relational model in 1970 and the commercial release of the Oracle database in the 1990s shaped the history of BI. By 2000, BI tools became essential for medium to large corporates. Advancements focused on increasing information speed and accessibility, making BI more user-friendly for non-technical users.

What can we expect from the future of Business Intelligence?

As Business Intelligence solutions evolve, they will continue to respond to advanced analytics, changing corporate demands, and technological advancements. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will play a crucial role, providing valuable insights for customizable dashboards. Companies will increasingly focus on exchanging data and collaboration to become more data-driven. Data visualization software will act as decision support systems, becoming even more critical for business operations as teams collaborate to achieve operational efficiency. Business Intelligence will remain a critical investment in making companies more data-driven, facilitating informed decision-making and strategic planning.

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