Business intelligence (BI) bridges the gap between business goals and the information needed to reach them.
Companies that make use of business intelligence tools and platforms to perform critical processes can count on having access to valuable insights, structured analyses and more. But what exactly is business intelligence and how can it help your organization? Keep reading to find out.
Definition of Business Intelligence
BI can be thought of as the collective technological processes employed by businesses of varying sizes to gather, store and assess data created during their daily operations. As such, business intelligence helps to inform organizations of opportunities they may be missing to improve operations across departments.
Business intelligence is all about information. By harvesting data on each of a company's ongoing initiatives and operations, BI can then be used to guide development decisions both short-term and long-term to drive business performance improvement.
Technological Processes Employed Through BI
As mentioned above, business intelligence involves many different processes, each of which play a different role in making sense of an organization's everyday activities. A few of those are as follows:
- Statistical Analysis - Most people likely think of this process as the backbone of BI, but it actually focuses on a fairly narrow niche. Emerging trends are extrapolated and examined in greater detail to inform pending decisions.
- Data Mining - The data mining process allows information to be shored up and stored for later use.
- Data Querying - Here, databases and vast data silos are asked specific questions to retrieve information that can later be analyzed with care.
What Makes Business Intelligence Important?
Business intelligence powers most of the decisions companies make by providing guidance based on real world information. Daily processes cannot be improved without first measuring them. BI begins with measurement, then transforms data into actionable insights through sequential stages of analysis.
Here are a few key benefits of business intelligence:
- Making Invisible Processes Visible - Many important aspects of your business can be easy to overlook or disregard entirely if they are not being monitored. Anything from HR procedures to multidisciplinary programs within your organization can be tracked using business intelligence solutions and improved upon over time.
- Bolstering Marketing Efforts - Business intelligence brings advanced, data-backed insight to your marketing process, empowering your team to take campaigns in directions that align with your target audience's sensibilities. BI-backed marketing divisions can leverage actual customer data, contextually interpreted for maximum utility, to tailor marketing materials to target consumer demands and preferences.
- Guiding Product and Service Development - By using business intelligence, organizations gain access to an expanding silo of information regarding their own customers and other consumers within their target audience. Ideas for new products and services can be fleshed out from insights derived therein and refined as analytics extract additional details.
- Improving Operational Efficiency - Business intelligence is essential for streamlining core business operations. When correctly implemented, BI allows organizations to access their data in real time. This opens the door for increased strategic agility, especially when maximizing the efficiency of existing processes.
Business Intelligence Applications and Examples
Business intelligence can be applied to all parts of an organization and many large companies have put it to use to solve some of their most demanding problems.
Following are a few examples of BI delivering real-world results for functioning businesses:
- Facilitating Personal Data Retrieval - Accor, the largest hospitality company in Europe, leverages business intelligence to accommodate GDPR legislation. BI technology makes it possible for the company to supply individual customers with all of the data they have accumulated about them in as little as 5 days. This marks a significant improvement on their previous 30-day benchmark using less sophisticated approaches to such data extractions.
- Real-Time Data Centralization - Food and recipe distributor HelloFresh proved the importance of data consolidation for internationally distributed businesses by optimizing their own data access processes. By incorporating BI solutions, the firm has achieved real-time data access for marketing efforts. This matches the speed at which their marketing messages must change to keep up with their target demographic.
Business intelligence is an essential resource for every company today, but the way companies implement and leverage BI differs from industry to industry and company to company. By leveraging robust BI solutions like conversation analytics, companies can gain a competitive edge in today’s highly competitive business landscape.
How does your company leverage business intelligence?