Table of Contents
Various departments use business intelligence, including:
Traditional business intelligence originally emerged in the 1960s as a system of sharing information across organizations.
It further developed in the 1980s alongside computer models for decision-making and turning data into insights before becoming specific offerings from BI teams with IT-reliant service solutions.
Modern BI solutions prioritize flexible self-service analysis, governed data on trusted platforms, empowered business users, and speed to insight.
With BI systems, organizations can identify market trends and spot business problems that need addressing.
BI helps with data visualization that enhances the data quality and, thereby, the quality of decision making.
BI systems can be used not just by enterprises but SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises)
How To Implement Business Intelligence
Implementing business intelligence can be broken into three key steps:
Data from corporate databases is derived. The raw data could have been distributed across numerous systems of heterogeneous systems.
The data is revamped into the data warehouse; charts and data cubes are constructed.
Using the business intelligence system, the user can inquire, request ad-hoc reports, or perform other calculations. Many industries have adopted BI ahead of the curve, including information technology and teaching in the health industry.
Who Uses Business Intelligence Systems?
Business users typically use modern BI tools when they need to analyze quickly changing dynamics, such as during marketing events, since being quick is more important than getting the data right 100% of the time.
Different departments use a business intelligence tool, including sales, marketing, finance, and operations.
Some of the tasks are to analyze quantitative data, assess performance against business objectives, identify opportunities based on customer insight, and share this data from data warehouses.
BI directly impacts an organization’s strategic, tactical, and operational business decisions.
BI supports fact-based decision-making using historical data rather than assumptions and gut feelings.
BI tools perform data analysis and create reports, summaries, dashboards, maps, graphs, and charts to provide users with detailed intelligence about the nature of the business.
Who Are The End Users of Business Intelligence?
End-users of business intelligence solutions are decision-makers (of any level within the company) who do not necessarily possess IT skills and use business data and information from the BI solution to guide their decisions.
To inspect the usability of a BI solution, a nontechnical person must test it.
With a BI program, businesses can create reports with a single click, thus saving lots of time and resources. It also allows employees to be more productive on their tasks.
Over the past few years, business intelligence has evolved to include more processes and activities to help improve performance. These processes include:
Data mining: Using databases, statistics, and machine learning to uncover trends in large datasets.
Reporting: Sharing data analysis to stakeholders to draw conclusions and make decisions.
Data visualization: Turning data analysis into visual representations such as charts, graphs, and histograms to more easily consume data.
Visual analysis: Exploring data through visual storytelling to communicate insights on the fly and stay in the analysis flow.
Data preparation: Compiling multiple data sources, identifying the dimensions and measurements, and preparing them for data analysis.
Measurement: Creating KPI (Key Performance Indicators) based on historical data
Help With Data Analysis
You know you’ve got modern business intelligence when you have a comprehensive view of your organization’s data and use that data to drive change, eliminate inefficiencies, and quickly adapt to market or supply changes.
Many self-service business intelligence tools and platforms streamline the analysis process.
BI takes out all complexity associated with business processes. It also automates analytics by offering predictive analysis, computer modeling, benchmarking, and other methodologies.
Business intelligence includes data analytics and business analytics, but uses them only as parts of the whole process. BI helps users conclude from data analysis.
Data scientists dig into data specifics, using advanced statistics and predictive analytics to discover patterns and forecast future patterns.
Data analytics asks, “Why did this happen, and what can happen next?” Business intelligence takes those models and algorithms and breaks the results into actionable language.
Business analytics shouldn’t be linear because answering one question will likely lead to follow-up questions and iteration.
Rather, think of the process as a cycle of data access, discovery, exploration, and information sharing.
This is called the cycle of analytics, a modern term explaining how businesses use analytics to react to changing questions and expectations.
It’s all too easy to lose control of business intelligence projects and become bogged down in data. One way to take back control is to log all the BI users.
This will become essential in governing your data, but it’s also useful to identify gap areas where business intelligence is weak or isn’t producing the results you want.
A Bird's Eye View
Different Types of Business Users
We’ve drilled down into our very own data to find out the key players in business data reporting.
The CEO, of course, is at the helm of the business, driving the company’s success by improving operational efficiency and constantly looking for ways to reduce costs and enable growth.
Meanwhile, Gartner once described analytics as to the “combustion engine of business.” So business intelligence and the CEO seem like a match made in heaven.
The Data Analysts
The data analyst, as the name suggests, lives and breathes data. Analyzing data is the job of data analysts.
A statistician, by nature, will drill deep down into data, looking for fresh insights that they will use to underscore business strategy and expand business techniques.
The role includes documenting all your business data, identifying patterns, and creating reports and dashboards that will support the decision-making process.
The IT Team
IT is another key player in the BI process.
The IT user still plays a central role – maintaining the infrastructure and giving departments the tools that allow them to fulfill their data requests – however, the role has become more rounded.
These days, IT will cooperate much more closely with departments and the business.
They will try to close the gap between IT and business operations to accelerate the adoption of BI.
Business Intelligence Examples
If you were to think of a business intelligence example, they might include:
Embedded software applications
Location intelligence software
Business Intelligence Users vs. Power Users
We often talk about two types of business users: the casual business intelligence user and the power user.
The difference is that a power user can work with complex data sets. In contrast, the casual user will use dashboards to analyze predefined sets of data.
Generally, the business user is often a manager looking for ways to help a department operate more efficiently and more effectively.
Bringing business intelligence to the masses is to embed BI across entire organizations, making data a part of how they conduct their business, streamlining operations, and bringing agility to the whole process.
One of the biggest bonuses of handing responsibility for data reporting over to individual business intelligence users is that it enables on-demand reporting, with ad-hoc reports allowing users to get more specific insights that answer a specific query.
What Are The Challenges With Business Intelligence?
With more power given to business users, there’s the risk of IT teams taking their eye off the ball.
While business intelligence users no longer need the technical skills they used to, IT is needed more than ever, and there’s an even greater need for data governance to ensure the success of BI.
Gartner predicted that, in 2017, less than 40% of self-service business intelligence initiatives would govern sufficiently to prevent inconsistencies that adversely affect the business.
Realize that artificial intelligence and machine learning will continue to grow, and businesses can integrate the insights from AI into a broader BI strategy.
As companies strive to be more data-driven, efforts to share data, and collaborate will increase. Data visualization will be essential to work together across teams and departments.
The Bottom Line
No matter how cutting-edge a BI application is and how well it’s designed and implemented, it is ultimately the end-user who has to make the most.
The business intelligence end-user is a decision-maker (of any level within the company) who does not necessarily possess IT skills and uses business data and information from the BI solution to guide his actions.
The goal is to help end-users solve problems, eliminate inefficiency and achieve the company’s strategic goals. Adoption is merely a condition to this end, albeit a necessary condition.
A well-implemented BI solution that aligns with the company’s strategy has indeed the potential to make a tremendous impact–if adopted.
The first condition to adoption is the ease of use.
The true test of the usability of a BI solution is with the nontechnical end-user.
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