What is Business Intelligence?
Business Intelligence (BI) plays a key role in the strategic planning of a business. BI Tools (technologies, apps, and processes) allow an organization to store, to discover, to gather, to analyze and to visualize data. This makes it possible for decision-makers at all levels of an organization to 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 the financial transaction level, data on tenders and quotes, customers, suppliers, contracts. Marketing data, error data, data on employees. Productivity data, manufacturing related data. All these data sources need different software and are stored in different formats.
There are accounting packages, payroll packages, manufacturing packages. Most of which are database driven and can be described as structured data. And then you also have unstructured data. Examples would include contract data on word files and in text format. Just think about the amount of data that’s stored in Excel Spreadsheets throughout your organization? And how different each of these spreadsheets is 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?
Organizations are not limited to internally generated data for 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 organization with the use of big data? But, you don’t have to imagine anymore because. Most BI software’s have tools that support big data. Tools that make it easy to move data, to analyze 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 ordinary employees. BI can help small businesses. To find out how check out the next post in the series – Business Intelligence – A small business case study
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