Today, companies face a highly competitive business environment. To survive and thrive, it is essential to have a clear view of what is happening within the organisation and the market situation. The use of Business Intelligence (BI) can help companies gain this clear picture, through the collection and analysis of data to make intelligent decisions.
Implementing BI involves having a holistic view of all data in the organisation. In this article, we will explore what Business Intelligence is and how businesses can use data analytics techniques to improve their performance.
What is Business Intelligence?
Business intelligence is a set of tools and techniques used to collect, analyse and present data to provide valuable information for business decision making. These tools can include data analysis software, database management systems, data visualisation and dashboards, among others.
By understanding data and trends, companies can make strategic decisions that differentiate them from the competition and allow them to adapt to market changes quickly and agilely.
How does business intelligence differ from big data?
Business intelligence and big data are two related but distinct concepts that focus on the management and analysis of data to make more informed business decisions.
On the one hand, big data deals with the management and analysis of large volumes of data, often in real time and from multiple sources. On the other hand, BI focuses on the analysis of historical data to generate reports, graphs and dashboards that facilitate decision making.
Elements of business intelligence
BI does not have a single established methodology, but includes different processes and rules that can be parameterised in order to facilitate data collection and analysis. The data is then combined, resulting in a holistic view. Some of these processes can be:
- Data collection and analysis: Companies can collect and analyse data on their internal operations, such as sales, inventory and financials. They can also analyse market data, such as consumer trends and competition. This provides companies with valuable information to make informed decisions.
- Big Data Analytics: to collect and analyse large data sets, which can provide valuable information about market trends and consumer preferences.
- Predictive analytics: using predictive analytics to predict future trends and make informed decisions about the future of the business. For example, use it to predict how much inventory you will need in the future and adjust your operations accordingly.
- Data visualisation and dashboards: Companies can use data visualisation and tailored dashboards to facilitate decision making for business users, managers and leadership teams. This will facilitate strategic decision-making and integrate valuable information, making it available to all members of the organisation, laying the foundation for a data-driven organisation.
Business intelligence tools
The main categories of business intelligence tools are divided into 3 types:
- Data management: ETL tools that allow data to be extracted, transformed and loaded into a database or data warehouse for further analysis.
- Discovery: these tools are used to explore and analyse data to identify patterns or relationships in the data and discover relevant information for decision making.
- Reporting: these tools facilitate the visualisation of data once all the information has been analysed. It also allows the integration of data into dashboards that measure the desired KPIs.
Popular business intelligence tools
Microsoft Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools that allows you to visualise data and share insights across your organisation, or embed them in an application or website. It integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft platforms such as Azure, SQL Server and Excel. Power BI provides drag-and-drop capabilities to create intuitive dashboards and offers a variety of ways to import data. It is especially popular in enterprise environments that already use other Microsoft products.
Tableau is one of the leading BI and data visualisation tools on the market. It offers a wide range of options for connecting to different data sources, including cloud databases, spreadsheets and more. Tableau is known for its robustness and flexibility, allowing users to create complex visualisations and interactive dashboards. In addition, a wealth of learning resources make it easy for new users to get started with the platform.
Google Data Studio is a free data visualisation and business intelligence tool that integrates well with other Google products such as Google analytics, Google ads and Google sheets. Although it is not as powerful as Power BI or Tableau in terms of functionality, it is easy to use and is a good choice for small and medium-sized businesses that need simpler and less expensive solutions. Google data studio offers templates and a very easy to understand user interface, making report creation a fairly straightforward process.
6 tips for implementing business intelligence
To get the most out of business intelligence, here are some tips to keep in mind during the implementation process in your company.
- Set clear objectives: As with any business process, companies should have clear objectives for the use of business intelligence. This can help focus efforts and ensure that maximum value is obtained from the data. Do you want to improve decision making, identify trends, increase operational efficiency…?
- Consider the different teams and tailor dashboards to their needs. Sales teams require KPIs to build their sales strategy and forecasts, which are not the same as those needed by management or technology users. Each team needs its own reports for optimal decision making.
- Select the right tool: research and select a BI tool that fits the needs and size of the organisation.
- Ensure data quality: It is important to ensure that the data collected is accurate and up to date. Data quality is essential to ensure that the information obtained through analysis is accurate and useful for decision making.
- Involve key users: Involve key business users in the implementation process. This can help ensure that data analysis tools and techniques are useful and used effectively throughout the process.
- Maintain data security: It is essential to ensure that data is secure and protected from unauthorised access. This may include the use of security software and training employees on the importance of maintaining data security.
Shall we talk?
At Cognodata we have extensive experience in business intelligence tools and a team of consultants who are experts in their implementation and management. Contact us and we will show you how to get the maximum value from your data.