What exactly is business intelligence (BI)?
It’s a set of techniques and tools for the transformation of a organization’s raw data (data sets) into meaningful and useful information to take important business decisions.
Business Intelligence is the technology that would get the right data to the right people at the right time so that they can take more effective business decisions.
Why do business need Business Intelligence (BI)
The need for Business intelligence emerged from three (3) technical waves or developments.
1.The dependence on IT Departments for Data insights.
When organizations start using computers to store data electronically, the end user have to be dependent on the IT department for Data insights. These means, the end users cannot able to create their own analysis because it required technical and coding skills. This dependence on IT Department for data insights resulted in more efforts and time consuming to get the updates done.
2: End User or Self-Service.
Analysts to End User or the self-service which gave data analyst access to BI, now with some knowledge of data analytics could use BI tools. This means more teams to access the BI and more people would have better data insights. This was the role of IT team.
4: Access to BI by everyone.
Everyone which means the power lied in ends of the end user. This made it easier to access data and create reports and visuals to get better insights. Introduction power tools like Power BI, Tableau and Spotfire made this tradition easy.
Now anybody who had a basic understanding of data could create build reports to build intuitive and shareable dashboards.
The third wave, came the important aspects of data visualization-the pictorial or graphical representation of data or information. This provides insights into complex datasets by communicating the key aspects in a more intuitive and meaningful way
The way human brain processes information, it is easier to use images and graphs to understand and visualize large amount of complex data then going though tons and tons of spreadsheets and reports.
Data visualization is about giving the managers and CEOs an idea of what’s going on inside the organization without having to look at tons and tons of numbers. Well designed graphics have the power to put this complicated data into simple pictures and this is where modern BI wins.
Data visualization is a quick and easy way to convey concepts of information in a universal manner. It can help one identify key areas and hidden patterns. Get factors that give better customer insights and analyze and associates data and products properly and finally make proper predictions and decisions.
Main Benefits of Business Intelligence (BI) and Data Visualization
Provides fast answers to any business query
Managers and CEOs who need information that is backed by evidence or data can have access to it anytime they need it to make decision. Using BI information services, they can drill down the information to their specific information needs.
Enables real time analysis with quick navigation.
Since BI integrates different data sources together, Managers and CEOs can see different activities of the business in real time. As transactions happens, they can see real time and respond. For example , a retail company in Papua New Guinea like CPL Stop N Stores which has many Outlets in the towns and many provincial towns, the management can analyze transaction data from all cross it’s stores. During the Christmas season, they can monitor the sales real time so customers are better served during the peak shopping season. This type of analysis is possible with BI information services.
Identifying cross selling and upselling opportunities
Upselling is the practice of encouraging customers to purchase a comparable higher-end or priced product than the one they are currently looking at, while cross-selling invites customers to buy related products. This is especially done by companies that sell products online. When customer’s are searching for products, the system, the E-Commerce platform can offer customers these options. Then the BI generates responses from these kinds of customer offers so that management can see the customer’s preferences, shopping trends, and customer demographic profiles. This information is useful for marketing and customer relationship programs.
Reduce the risk of bottle necks
Every organization has it’s specific business workflows. With the information provided by BI services, Managers and CEOs of organizations can see the specific workflow areas that has bottle necks and take corrective action. For example, in a business restaurant setting, BI can provide information about time gaps between the time waiter places the menu order, the time it took for the chef to cook the menu and the total time it took to bring the food to the customer table. In this way, the company can improve the cooking time if it takes longer to cook if the particular menu is popular and if less popular, consider dropping it from the menu list. Real time monitoring of activities can assist in improving the workflow and improve the efficiency rate.
Help managers and CEOs know the business better
With BI services, the Managers and CEO have overall or holistic view of the organization’s performance at any given time. BI kind of provides kind of aggregate data and information about all the different functional areas of the business at a centralized platform. They have a quick and powerful snapshot of data at their disposal to take the necessary actions.
Improve Decision Making
In order to make quality decision, Managers and CEOs need quality information. Information that is current, creditable and data backed. BI services provide just that. This can lead to quality decisions.