If you have had even passing interaction with the modern business community, chances are you have at least heard the phrase “business intelligence”. That is because this once esoteric business function is poised to grow at such an exponential rate that it is expected to take over the way business operations are conducted.
What is Business Intelligence?
In short, business intelligence (also known as BI) is the utilization of a set of theories, methodologies, algorithms, architectures and technologies to transform otherwise useless data into something meaningful that can contribute to the business goals of a company. It can be broken down into sub-categories, but all of these categories share the common goal of making difficult to interpret or voluminous data easily readable. And with technology advancing faster than ever with things like business Ethernet, cloud services and 3D printing, it’s easier than ever to transfer, store and translate that data.
At first glance, BI may seem like a function that does not have much room to expand beyond making complex numbers easier to read. So why is it growing nonetheless? Here is why:
When Broken Down, Numbers Don’t Lie
Men lie, women lie, and numbers do too — if they are interpreted improperly. No matter how true a business metric is, it can be misleading and point you in the wrong direction if it is presented in a manner that is misleading or omits information. The best BI solutions aim to make sure that your data is presented in a way that gives you the whole story so that it not misleading; this will prevent business leaders from making countless misinformed mistakes.
BI Puts the Data You Need at the Forefront
BI is not simply about making it easier to read a few business metrics. Modern business intelligence solutions are designed to put the information that you need in your face, so that you can spend less time figuring out what you need to focus on and spend more time focusing on taking action. Expanding the breadth of this function allows you to optimize your business activities more and more.
BI Provides Multi-level Approaches to Business Solutions
There was once a time that BI solutions were only used to interpret data on a higher level. It has however, expanded beyond basic data analysis to help business leaders with all areas of operation. This expansion can be broken down into three categories: tactical, strategic and operational business intelligence.
Tactical BI – gives personnel at all levels of an organization to focus on the progress of their short-term activities and initiatives. This allows them to determine the level of success that the activities are expected to, should and actually are having.
Strategic BI – allows higher level executive to determine and assess long-term business goals based on the data broken down by BI solutions.
Operational BI – is where BI is expected to experience the most growth over the next year. Operational BI is a relatively new function of business intelligence that focuses on developing solutions, activities and processes for enhancing specific aspects of a business. It is primarily due to the increasing prevalence and success of operational BI solutions that business intelligence is expected to experience a sharp growth in integration throughout 2D014.
These approaches can be used together to create a more powerful BI strategy.
Full Integration of BI tools Allows for More Fluid Transition From Information to Action
In the early days of business intelligence, data was simplified and interpreted, and then the business’ decision makers had to figure out what to do with it. This resulted in a great deal of wasting of otherwise valuable BI data. The full integration of BI into a business’ operational infrastructure created by the combination of tactical, strategic and operational BI greatly reduces the likelihood that the importance of any BI data is undervalued.
Business Intelligence Helps Companies Realize Their Full Potential
BI is growing for these reasons: it can tell you where you have been, where you’re headed, and where you can go — and how to get there.