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What is Business Intelligence(BI)?

19th Jan, 2024
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    What is Business Intelligence(BI)?

    The market has become more competitive than ever due to the introduction of technology and changing trends. As a result, there are multiple options for businesses in a similar domain, each claiming to offer the best possible facilities. So, to stay put in the competition, business owners should make the best efforts to stand out and keep their customers glued.  

    One way to do so is by analyzing the data generated by various business activities like consumer purchase patterns. Every organization has tons of data units stored. For example, all these data sets have information about the consumers' age, gender, and preferences associated with the business. Similarly, the stored data have details about the services or products that are top selling and those not attracting customers. Mining all these data units can fetch fruitful information for business growth. Moreover, you can make significant business decisions by exploring the data you already have.  

    The process of gathering, storing, mining, and analyzing data comes under business intelligence. Under BI, all the data a company generates gets stored and used to make significant business growth decisions and multiply the revenue. Organizations hire the best business intelligence analysts from the market who specializes in data analytics and can help find relevant business information. Let us dig deeper to understand what business intelligence is and what BI tools a professional working in this domain must learn.  

    What is Business Intelligence?

    Business Intelligence is a broader term that combines various data-related operations under one domain. It includes data retrieval, analysis, and visualization procedures with which organizations can better understand their business and make growth plans. Only expert professionals with a thorough understanding of business intelligence tools can do this job by creating meaningful reports from the raw data sets. They use business intelligence software for these tasks, and the reports are highly reliable. Key takeaways of BI are: 

    • It parses raw data and turns it into meaningful chunks of information, using which the managers can make better growth decisions.  
    • It is the infrastructural framework of organizational data related to collection, storing, and analysis operations. 
    • For companies dealing in the product business, BI is the backbone of growth as it helps study consumer behaviours and purchase patterns to plan marketing approaches. 
    • Multiple tools in this field help in efficient data analysis and provide reports in the form of spreadsheets and more for a quick and better understanding of the user. You will know what power BI and other software tools in this domain are later in this article.  

    These details about business intelligence give a better overview of the tasks coming under it and how it can benefit organizations. So let us dig deeper and understand how important it is.  

    1. Why is BI important?
    why bi is important

    How would an organization know if their business tactics are proving right, and their strategies yield the right results? First, they would check the data to see if the consumption rate has increased, their sales have improved, and their brand visibility has multiplied. For this, they will explore and dig deeper into the previous and current data sets and extract useful information like purchase patterns and revenue and sales graphs; that is something they can only do with the help of an efficient business intelligence system.  

    Without the help of business intelligence analytics, this data mining and visualization process is impossible, and the company will not have any solid grounds to make significant decisions. Thus, business intelligence is crucial for every business so its management can make the right decisions to survive and set a benchmark in the market.  

    You can also learn the significance of the fact that professionals in this domain complete Business Intelligence and Visualization courses to brush up their skills and grab high-paying jobs in this category. Once you have relevant experience and the certification to prove your worth, your future gets secured, as there is no lack of job options in this market. 

    What is Business Intelligence?

    You already know that business intelligence is a crucial aspect of business growth. The question that might arise is how it works. What processes or procedures are involved, and what steps a BI analyst goes through to get expected results. 

    The entire work of BI depends on the data warehouse in an organization. These warehouses have all sorts of company data generated through every action performed by or towards the organization. For example, you can find data about potential consumers, buying patterns, product demand, sales, and more. The only thing is that these data units are available in raw form in the warehouse. That is where business intelligence management comes to play. It helps sort these data sets into meaningful information, puts relevant details under one unit, and performs operations to dig out the desired information. 

    What data units the experts must segregate depends on the business query or the information they seek. Moreover, even if the business query is multi-dimensional, for example, the sales graph this year versus last year, BI can help. It uses an OLAP (online analytical processing) engine to solve such queries and provides the results immediately. In addition, multiple other tools are available in the market with equipped features to help perform operations on your BI architecture to fetch relevant information related to your business.  

    Business Intelligence Systems Implementation

    It is evident that business intelligence contributes a lot towards business growth. So, every organization would want to implement a system to retrieve information from the raw data they generate. Therefore, they introduce various tools and software into their existing operations, which help in efficient BI reporting. The steps listed below explain the effective implementation of the BI systems. 

    1. Create an effective business intelligence strategy that works as a blueprint for what information you want to extract. The idea is to set your objectives and expectations from the business intelligence setup. For example, you may only want to expose the shortcomings or know your highlights too. Whatever you want or need, write it down in your strategy to ensure the implementation of only the helpful tools. 
    2. Set the performance indicators to ensure you get the information you need. The KPIs or the key performance indicators are measurable parameters that clear your business achievements. It can be the marketing metrics, BI finance metrics, or likewise.  
    3. Educate your staff about the BI implementation process and the tools you plan to introduce into the system. Of course, you should always hire professionals skilled in the domain to handle the tasks, but it is fruitful to train the rest of the team members to make their adaptability convenient.  
    4. Look for the best tools and software for business analytics available in the market and choose the most reliable ones. You can take a virtual tour of the software before you start using it and introduce it into your existing system only when, you are sure.  

    With these simple strategies, you can continue with efficient implementation. However, do ensure that everything happens under the guidance of a skilled business intelligence specialist.  

    Types of BI Users
    types of business intelligence users

    In any organization, a team of employees makes the best use of business intelligence. These users are: 

    1. Data Analyst

    These professionals deal with data regularly, performing operations like collecting, organizing, analyzing, and sorting the data.  

    2. IT Experts

    IT department has a significant role in managing business intelligence operations, making their implementation in the company convenient. Moreover, they also take care of the security factor of a BI platform. 

    3. Business User

    Every company can have BI users across every department. One category is informal users who need to learn how to perform operations on data but need to access the sorted reports. Another category is users who perform the actual data operations. 

    4. Executive

    These are the people in top management positions who need business intelligence reports to make significant revenue-related decisions.  

    People in these four positions use business intelligence more often. So, when it is about selecting the tools or implementing a new BI strategy, ensure that you consider these people. If they get the best setup, your business success is assured. 

    Examples of Business Intelligence Systems Used in Practice

    Business Intelligence gets used in almost every business domain that requires information from the raw data sets gathered by the company. Some of the real-life examples of business intelligence are listed below. 

    1. Walmart BI Strategy

    Walmart is a retail store that uses data analysis to study consumer behaviors. Based on this information, they decide on their online and offline strategies to attract more customers and multiply their sales. For example, if they find that the products on the shelves near the payment counter are the highest selling, they might use it to promote brands and make more profits.  

    2. Tesla

    Tesla linked its cars to corporate offices with the help of advanced technologies. The idea was to gather data about consumer concerns and analyze it to find flaws or shortcomings. Then, they use this information to solve customer issues and earn a satisfied consumer and an excellent market reputation for the company. 

    3. Expedia

    This travel company provides flight options to people traveling to international or domestic locations. They use data analytic tools to understand the most travelled destinations, the peak season of travel, and other details to provide the best flight options and discounts to keep their customers engaged.  

    These are only a few examples; multiple other companies like coca cola, American Express, and more use various business intelligence tools and techniques to help their business grow.  

    Advantages of Business Intelligence

    Business Intelligence is a trending domain, offering plenty of benefits to an organization. With the right set of tools, strategies, and highly skilled professionals, revenue growth will be exponential. Some of the benefits of BI are listed below. 

    1. Improved Productivity 

    With business intelligence, companies can solve queries or fetch relevant information from raw data with a single click. Thus, it helps save a lot of time and effort, giving users a lot of time to invest in other significant tasks. 

    2. Better Visibility 

    You will be able to clearly see the shortcomings of your business or the reason why your competitors are doing better than you. Moreover, you will have better visibility of the spots that need work. 

    3. Widens Perceptions 

    Any user using the BI tools will have a broader perception of the data units as they can access the elaborate dashboards. It gives a better perspective and helps in efficient decision-making. 

    4. Makes Analytics Convenient 

    Another advantage of business intelligence is that it makes analysis super convenient. With the right tools, you will get advanced features to segregate data into any category you want.

    The list of advantages an organization can get from BI operations is endless. The only factor influencing it is the choice of tools or having efficient data analysis professionals to work on it.

    BI System Disadvantages

    Like the two sides to a coin, there are a few things that could be improved with business intelligence. The business intelligence framework will take your data on digital platforms, causing significant issues. Some of the disadvantages are: 

    1. The digital data warehouse to perform cloud business intelligence operations is prone to data breach risks. Intruders may peek in and steal all your confidential data, leaking information unique to your organization. The solution to this is to enhance the system's security! 
    2. The latest BI technologies or tools are a bit expensive due to the advanced features they provide. However, you can still find pocket-friendly options, or if you look at the productive side of things, the features you get make it worthwhile.  
    3. Another disadvantage is that you need help finding skilled professionals for BI tasks. An incompetent professional will only use the tools or setup to the fullest and give information that can help make significant decisions. The way to solve this issue is simply by hiring professionals who have taken certification courses, like KnowledgeHut Business Intelligence and Virtualization courses.

    Types of BI Tools and Software

    There are five fundamental categories of BI tools used by professionals working on the benefits of BI. They get divided based on the functionalities and the results they provide. The categories are mentioned below for your reference.  

    1. Cloud- SaaS-Based Business Intelligence Solutions

    In this category, a third party provides BI solutions to an organization by accessing its cloud data warehouse. 

    2. ETL Software

    This category includes extracting, transforming, and loading operations that blend data from various locations and use it to fetch required information. 

    3. Open Source BI Tools

    These are self-managed tools restricted to built-in features compared to other licensed solutions for BI operations. 

    4. BPM or UML Tools

    These are the tools specific to the entire project or the task coming under it.  

    5. Embedded Analytics BI Software

    This category has tools that make data analysis super convenient for all types of users. 

    Based on these categories, you will find multiple tool options with features that prove helpful in business analysis. You can choose the one best suiting your requirements and enjoy all its perks.

    Stand out in the business analysis field with our prestigious ecba certification online. Elevate your career and become a certified expert. Enroll now!

    Business Intelligence Best Practices

    As business intelligence tools and software become a mainstay for every organization, it is fruitful to learn the best practices. Understand that using the technologies efficiently is the best way to get excellent results. Hence, you can use the best practices listed below for your reference. 

    1. Identify your business requirements well to choose the right tools and follow better business intelligence methodology for business growth. 
    2. Put in the effort to identify your target audiences because the entire data analysis process aims to satisfy the consumers.  
    3. Identify all the data sources from which you can retrieve information that can aid in studying the trends relevant to your business.  
    4. Keep auditing your strategies to ensure they yield the best results and make necessary changes if you are not achieving your targets.  

    With these practices under consideration, you can rest assured that your business will see tremendous growth.

    To stay put in the competition, every organization needs to learn the use of business intelligence. They need to know about the latest trends and newly introduced tools to ensure that they make the right decisions to support business growth. Some of the trends that you can see in the market are: 

    1. Data literacy is the newer concept under which companies plan to train their employees to implement data analytics throughout the organization. However, the foundation is so strong that the best results are assured. 
    2. Another trend that organizations are following in 2022 is data visualization. They implement tools that provide deeper insights into the data units for a better perspective. 
    3. NLP, natural language processing, is another trend that has made a breakthrough entry in the BI framework. It allows users to ask voice queries eliminating the need to type. 

    There are plenty of other remarkable trends in the business intelligence industry, improving how the industry works.  


    By now, you must have learned how significant business intelligence is in the current market. It is an engine for growth in organizations. That is why the demand for BI tools and data analysts has increased. Any professional who wishes to build a career in this domain should opt for professional certification courses. It will help enhance their skills and enable them to grab the best job packages. If they can prove their worth, their future gets secured, and their career graph keeps growing.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1What does BI mean?

    BI refers to business intelligence. It is a set of tools and strategies that one can use for creating, storing, mining, or analyzing the raw data sets.

    2What is BI known for?

    BI is known to mine information from raw data sets. The data provide help in learning significant patterns that help in business growth.

    3What are examples of BI?

    The real-life examples of BI include a retail outlet trying to learn consumer behavior to identify its highest-selling products.

    4What are the different types of BI?

    Different types of BI include Cloud-SaaS-based tools, ETL tools, and open-source BI software.


    Mansoor Mohammed

    Business Agility Expert

    Mansoor Mohammed is a dynamic and energetic Enterprise Agile Coach, P3M & PMO Consultant, Trainer, Mentor, and Practitioner with over 20 years of experience in Strategy Execution and Business Agility. With a background in Avionics, Financial Services, Banking, Telecommunications, Retail, and Digital, Mansoor has led global infrastructure and software development teams, launched innovative products, and enabled Organizational Change Management. As a results-driven leader, he excels in collaborating, adapting, and driving partnerships with stakeholders at all levels. With expertise in Change Management, Transformation, Lean, Agile, and Organizational Design, Mansoor is passionate about aligning strategic goals and delivering creative solutions for successful business outcomes. Connect with him to explore change, Agile Governance, implementation delivery, and the future of work.

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