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Business Intelligence: A Guide to Understanding It

In the modern age, we hear of many different technologies impacting the live around us. There is a product, service, or application to solve just about any and every problem that we face. This has allowed the world to become more connected, quicker, and focused on results. With such strong competition in the market to provide the best possible product or service, it has become desperately important to remain competitive. Any compromise on quality or a dip in service will have customers migrating to other options almost immediately. As an organization, you want to remain on top of these issues every chance you get. 

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If you want your offering to do well, you need to ensure it is 1. Akin with the latest technology and 2. Something the customer wants. Creating a new niche and finding success can be a hit or miss unless you are a big enough name e.g. Apple. So what would other organizations do to set themselves apart and offer a competitive advantage? Leverage business intelligence. 

Business Intelligence – Explained  

In the simplest words, business intelligence (BI) is defined as the act of using services and software to make sense of data and transform it into insights. 

Real-World Usage

These insights are used when the time comes for tactical and strategic decisions. Where data science takes raw data, cleans it, organizes it, and presents it, business intelligence will use that data to make decisions. BI will use a variety of tools to analyze data sets, reports, dashboards, summaries, charts, and graphs. These tools will allow the people in charge to understand the current standing of affairs and how to move forward.

Business intelligence doesn’t make the decisions for organizations instead it shows the different information that is needed to make said decisions. It gives the people in charge the knowledge that is needed to strategize their next move. If a company is doing poorly, this data will show slow performance and dwindling profits. They will know this when they look at dashboards and reports which explain it to them. 

Business Intelligence in the Real World 

BI can be broken down into two types traditional BI and modern BI. In traditional BI, IT staff will make use of all in-house data to generate reports and insights. With modern BI, businesses will make use of intuitive systems with access to larger data sets. Depending on what type of business you run, each of these offers different values. For example, financial reporting will use traditional BI because it uses internal company data to create reports. Marketing agencies will use modern BI to understand their target demographics, allowing them to make informed decisions for their marketing campaigns. 

For example, if a streaming service wishes to improve its service, it will need to study how its consumers are responding to the current system. Which sort of content is being watched, which is being ignored, which could be improved, and what needs to be scrapped? On the topic of streaming your favorite content, DIRECTV has an amazing offering for a variety of customers. Click here to find out more about what there is for you!

Business intelligence has slowly and surely made a name for itself across the globe. With the internet of things (IoT), AI, 5G, and cloud computing, there has never been more data being generated at any given moment. This data is imperative in our ever-evolving world and using it will only add more value to the quality of the industry. However, in order for BI to be used properly, one must ensure it is being operated as it should. One of the key components of BI is the use of dashboards to present the data. These dashboards allow for an intuitive presentation of data using a combination of charts and graphics. Naturally, this takes time and training to understand how all of this works. Modern BI dashboards simply require you to input the data and it generates insights in real-time. 

Business Intelligence Tools 

The main tools used in BI are:

  • Visualizations
  • Dashboards
  • Data Mining
  • Reporting
  • Extract-transfer load
  • Online Analytical Processing 

Among these, dashboards and visualizations are two of the most commonly used. As opposed to data analytics where raw data is cleaned, organized, processed, and presented, BI will only use this data to make decisions. Dashboards are the perfect companion for BI because they will allow for clean, clear, and descriptive views of your insights. There are many offerings in the BI market that offer a comprehensive, powerful, and intuitive platform for your dashboards and visualizations. Among these are Tableau, Splunk, Qlik, Domo, Google Data Studio, and Birst just to name a few. 

Business Intelligence Uses

So far, we have talked a lot about what BI is and what it does. To understand the impact it has, here are a few examples of BI being used in the real world. 

HelloFresh

HelloFresh is a meal kit company that provides customized meals to customers. They used BI to understand their customer behavior. As a result, their marketing analysis saved almost 20 working hours every day by opting to use an automated reporting system. Instead of manually making reports, BI tools automated the process, freeing up time and effort that can be used elsewhere.

Using this analysis, HelloFresh was able to tailor its marketing efforts based on regional and individual marketing campaigns. Having the ability to track data in real time gave HelloFresh the ability to optimize its campaigns to ensure they were as effective as possible. When they catered to the customer’s needs, wants, and behavior it resulted in improved customer retention and higher conversion rates – always a welcome sight.

Coco-Cola Bottling Company (CCBC)

Coca-Cola is one of the biggest names in the world of business. With hundreds of products across a variety of categories, they need to remain competitive in a world where PepsiCo. is looming on the horizon. CCBC used business intelligence to automate its reporting processes across the board. Using a combination of report automation and using CRM dashboards, they were able to save 260 hours a year. For a company of this size, this might not seem like a lot but in the world of business, time is money, and each second counts. Using BI tools, there is a more meaningful collaboration between the business and IT departments. These two combine to create insights that drive growth and improvement across the board. Business intelligence gives the company the knowledge that it needs to improve sales, refine marketing campaigns, and focus on long-term goals. 

Conclusion

In a data-driven world, each decision has lasting implications. Using big data, it has become a lot easier for businesses to understand customer behavior, market trends, and other metrics. Data scientists are tasked with taking raw data and making sense of it. Once their job is done, it comes down to BI to use this refined data in the form of reports or dashboards. 

With the rapid acceptance of artificial intelligence and the gradual acceptance of 5G across the globe, business intelligence will only grow. As more tools are made and droves of data are generated, it will be easier for organizations to make informed decisions. 

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