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Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) leverages software and services to transform data into valuable insights that impact an organization’s strategic and tactical business decisions. BI tools access and analyze data sets and present analytical findings in reports, summaries, dashboards, graphs, charts, and maps to provide users with detailed results about the state of the business. BI is a catchall term consisting of variety of tools, applications and methodologies that enable organizations to collect data from internal systems and external sources. It can be used to prepare data for analysis, develop and run queries, and create reports, dashboards, and visualizations with the end goal of providing results to decision makers and end users.

In simple terms, BI refers to a range of tools that provide quick, easy-to-digest access to insights about an organization's current state, based on available data.

Business intelligence strategy-

Heretofore, IT professionals had been the primary users of BI applications. Now, BI tools have evolved to be more user-friendly, enabling many users to leverage the tools.

BI tools are used variably, one where IT professionals use in-house transactional data to generate reports and other is where business users interact with agile, intuitive systems to analyze data more quickly. Former BI is used for certain types of reporting, such as regulatory or financial reports, where accuracy is paramount, and the questions and data sets used are standard and predictable. Latter BI tools are used when business users need insight into quickly changing dynamics, such as marketing events, in which being fast is valued over getting the data accurately.

  • Speed up and improve decision-making
  • Optimize internal business processes
  • Increase operational efficiency and productivity
  • Spot business problems that need to be addressed
  • Identify emerging business and market trends
  • Develop stronger business strategies
  • Drive higher sales and new revenues; and
  • Gain a competitive edge over rival companies.

BI also makes it easier for project managers to track the status of business projects and for organizations to gather competitive intelligence on their rivals. Moreover, BI, data labs and technology teams also benefit from business intelligence, using it to analyze various aspects of operations.

Business intelligence trends-

A growing number of organizations are replacing traditional approaches with Agile BI and data warehousing approaches that use Agile software development techniques to break BI projects into silos and deliver new functionalities. Doing so enables organizations to put BI features into use more quickly and to refine or modify development plans as required.

  • The rapid increase of augmented analytics technologies- BI tools increasingly offer language querying capabilities as an alternative to SQL or another programming language, plus Ai/ML helps find & understand hidden patterns. While general BI tools are used to prepare data & create charts and other infographics.
  • Low-code and no-code development- Many BI tradesmen are also adding graphical tools that enable BI applications to be developed with little or no coding.
  • Increased use of the cloud- BI systems were laggard to move to the cloud, partly because data warehouses were primarily deployed in on-premises data centers. But now, cloud deployments of both data warehouses and BI tools are growing.
How the Business Intelligence process works-
  1. Data from source systems is integrated and loaded into a data warehouse or other Data Lake/ data repository.
  2. Data is organized into data models for analysis.
  3. BI analysts and other analysts, professionals, business users run analytical queries against the data.
  4. The query results are built into data visualizations, dashboards, reports, and online portals.
  5. Business executives and workers use the information for decision making, strategic planning and further actions.
The future of Business Intelligence-

Augmented analytics'; it is where machine learning is baked into the software and will guide users on their queries into the data.

The combinations, BI and analytics included in these software platforms will make each function more powerful individually and more valuable to the businesspeople.

For example, if someone looks for last year’s sales, which is BI; but along with that they will also get predictions about next year’s sales, that’s business analytics. It makes the decision-maker and the decisions more efficient, more powerful, and more accurate. Organizations will have competitive advantage if they move beyond basic BI and adopt advanced analytics as well; Business Intelligence in conjunction with analytics & reporting is the future.

Conclusion-

The BI market has been growing rapidly over the years, and it does not appear to be easing up. BI segment has swiftly become one of the elite modern technologies. What seems certain is that organizations cannot sit idle and tread-water as BI is not a passing fad, it has significant business implications, and it is a major paradigm shifting factor.

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