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What is Business Intelligence?

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What is Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence has been widely used in corporations but it's making its way down to the small-medium business (SMB) in the age of information. At any point in a company's daily operations, information is being processed as the business strives to provide its products or services to its customers. So, what exactly is Business Intelligence (BI) you might be thinking?


Organizations (for-profit or non-profit) these days can collect an immense amount of information or data about their operations in order to maintain and keep improving their organization. This data is the language of the business and tells a story of what's happening, only if you have the right listening tools or the "know-how". Most times this data is stored in offline/online applications, data warehouses or even simple spreadsheets without any connection to each other. As a business manager, you would have to gather data from multiple places and try to make sense of the information in order to make decisions or solve operational bottlenecks. Imagine, if you could easily gather and understand what all that data is trying to tell you. This is where BI tools shine in gathering, providing the right information into the hands of the right people, in a format that easily allows clear understanding and assisting in making good business decisions in a timely manner.


BI Tools are only a part of what Business Intelligence consists of in any business or organization. BI also refers to processes, technologies, applications and best practices as they are an integral part of the whole Business Intelligence System (BIS). BI at a high level consists of data entry systems, structured data warehouses & reporting systems. At the user level, it consists of data visualization with dashboards, automated reporting and decision-making data modelling. Solving the "what-if questions" in your business could increase your revenues and reduce operating costs before you even make a change in your business. Therefore, BI data can be used to monitor possible emerging trends, which can be taken advantage of in your business.


Knowing what is happening in your business through BI, gives way to a great competitive advantage in any industry. However, you must be gathering the right data in order to monitor your Key Performance Indicators (KPI). This can be a challenge if you do not understand and have inefficient business processes. The flow of information or data has to be structured right to take advantage of the information being collected. For example, if you wanted to improve your supply chain efficiency you must track your performance metrics at each stage of the supply chain and not just the beginning or ending result. A BIS quickly provides you an objective feedback to making decisions faster, mitigating risk and staying profitable. Adopting business intelligence with relevant reporting is vital if your organization wants to stay competitive and ahead of the game. It's getting simpler to implement and use various visual BI platforms to crunch the enormous amounts of information to your advantage.

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