what is Business Intelligence

What is Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) plays a key role in the strategic planning of a business. BI Tools (technologies, apps and processes) allow an organisation to store, to discover, to gather,  to analyse and to visualize data.  This makes it possible for decision-makers at all levels of an organization act on information.

Business Intelligence Systems

Business intelligence systems are data driven.  They provide historical, current, and predictive views of business operations.

Most businesses collect large amounts of data.  Data at financial transaction level, data on tenders and quotes, customer, suppliers, contracts.  Marketing data, error data, data on employees. Productivity data, manufacturing related data.  All these data sources need different software’s and are stored in different formats.

There are accounting packages, payroll packages, manufacturing packages.  Most of which are database driven and can be describe as structured data.  Then you have unstructured data such as contract data on word files and in text format. Just think about the amount of data that’s stored in Excel Spreadsheets throughout your organisation?  And how different each of these spreadsheets are laid out.

A BI system will allow you gather all of this internal data of different sources and formats, structure it, and extract the important information  to reveal insights to help a business make faster and more accurate decisions.  Sounds good right?

Organisation are not limited to internally generated data when looking at their business intelligence . They can also use external data sources and public data sources. Heard of Big data?  (if not where have you been?) Can you imagine the insights that you can gather for your organisation with the use of big data.  Well you don’t have to imagine any more because. Most BI software’s have tools that support big data. Tools that make it easy to move data, to analyse data and  to visualize from Hadoop. (You can’t mention big data and not mention Hadoop. It is one of the greatest software’s used to store and process big data)

Who can Business Intelligence help?

But isn’t BI, Big data and External data sources only for large businesses. The answer is simply no.  BI can help the ordinary employee.  BI can help small businesses.  Find out how in my next post.

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