Business intelligence is a set of tools and techniques for transformation of raw data into meaningful and actionable information for business analysis purposes. It is a technology driven process for handling large amounts of unstructured data, analyzing the data and presenting usable information to corporate executives, business managers and other end users. This helps them in making more informed business decisions. Business intelligence includes a vast variety of tools, applications and methodologies that helps in collecting data from internal as well as external sources. The data is then prepared for analysis and queries are made against it and reports, dashboards and data visualizations are created that makes the results available for decision makers. Business intelligence programs come with certain potential benefits. These include accelerating and improving decision making; optimizing internal business processes; increasing operational efficiency; driving new revenues and gaining competitive advantage over business rivals. All these make business intelligence very important in today’s world.
When proper companywide business intelligence is in place, the management is better equipped to look into and check various aspects of business including finances, production and human resource. This information can be synthesized with the help of business intelligence tools and reports generated. But it becomes an extremely tedious task to skim through hundreds of pages in detailed periodic reports especially when discussing with clients. But suitable business intelligence tools can save time and can give them a clear picture about the worth of the company. Thus there is a scope for improving sales and marketing opportunities.
In the present age, where competition is high, a company should handle strengths and weaknesses expertly. Several business intelligence tools help companies in strengthening their capabilities and recognize weaknesses as compared to their competitors. These tools are extremely useful in identifying market trends and changes in these trends. Such information allows the companies to respond immediately to changing trends and make the most of the opportunities.
Business intelligence tools continuously monitor existing and potential customers. They also monitor those customers that may have been dissatisfied with a company’s products or services. One of the main advantages of business intelligence is that it boosts a company’s ability to analyze current consumer buying trends. Once a company understands the consumer’s needs, it can use this information to develop products that match the current consumption and hence increase profitability.
SaaS BI or Software as a service Business Intelligence
This is a web based cloud model that allows companies to rent or borrow software instead of actually installing it on their own computers. This is also known as Cloud BI. This is a better model because there are no upfront costs or additional staffing requirements needed to manage the business intelligence system. Many organizations are likely to opt for cloud based BI in future.
In conclusion, informed decisions to enhance a company’s performance is extremely important. Business intelligence has all the necessary tools that make this happen. Although it was considered for years that business intelligence tools were available only for larger organizations, the belief is changing gradually and organizations in all industries and of all sizes are beginning to make use of the magical tool called business intelligence.