Let's start with a cheeky Google search on a layman’s definition for Business Intelligence (from here on in, simply BI).
It’s a set of “theories, methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information for business purposes”. BI is able to “handle large amounts of information to help identify and develop new opportunities”. Furthermore, it is noted how utilising new opportunities and implementing an effective strategy to exploit your data can “provide a competitive market advantage and long-term stability."
Business intelligence is intended to empower your people as much as it is your business. Companies have found that allowing employees to access and track analytical and operational data improves work efficiency and goal reaching by monitoring real-time efforts alongside the business plan. The power of BI provides your teams the opportunity to tell their data stories, working faster, smarter and embrace a more open and transparent work space. That's taking it to the next level.
At the end of the day all organisations will benefit from business intelligence. However, below are some clear indicators that you should consider a business intelligence technology specifically for your business:
Needing to integrate data from several business applications or data sources
Needing to access relevant business data quickly and efficiently
Having a lack of visibility into the company’s operations, events, news, finances, and other areas
Having an increasing volume of users requiring and accessing information and more end-users requiring analytical capabilities
Company growing rapidly or experiencing a recent or pending merger/acquisition
Introducing new products
Upgrading the IT environment.
If any or all of the above applies to your company, then you may want to consider putting Business Intelligence technology at the top of your agenda.
What kind of businesses use business intelligence?
All kinds of companies use business intelligence! BI is helpful for businesses of all sizes and industries - from big to small, and from food to software. It's global.
“In retail, Wal-Mart uses vast amounts of data and category analysis to dominate the industry. Harrah’s has changed the basis of competition in gaming from building mega-casinos to analytics around customer loyalty and service. Amazon and Yahoo aren't just e-commerce sites; they are extremely analytical and follow a "test and learn" approach to business changes. Capital One runs more than 30,000 experiments a year to identify desirable customers and price credit card offers.” (Business Intelligence Definitions and Solutions, Ryan Mulcahy)
As these examples illustrate, all business can benefit internally as well as externally in terms of customer satisfaction with business intelligence. BI enables improved internal communication through simplified collaboration and sharing, so that business objectives and performance can align all the better.
The following are just a handful of organisation benefits your business can enjoy when implementing Business Intelligence:
Quick answers to critical business questions
Align activities with strategy
Reduce time spent on data entry and manipulation
Gain in depth real time insights into customers
Benchmark data against competitor and historical data for continuous improvements
Identify and analyse areas to cut costs and for budget allocation
Boost internal productivity by spending time on what’s important
The data is there, it’s all around us. It’s there to be read, there to help us, and we already have it at our disposal. All that is left, is to adopt the technology to understand it better, to better ourselves.