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Business Intelligence

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What is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence, or BI, is an umbrella term that refers to a variety of software applications used to analyze an organization’s raw data. BI as a discipline is made up of several related activities, including data mining, online analytical processing, querying and reporting.

Companies use BI to improve decision making, cut costs and identify new business opportunities. BI is more than just corporate reporting and more than a set of tools to coax data out of enterprise systems. CIOs use BI to identify inefficient business processes that are ripe for re-engineering.

With today’s BI tools, business folks can jump in and start analyzing data themselves, rather than wait for IT to run complex reports. 

Organizational benefits of implementing business intelligence

Quick answer to critical business questions.
Align activities with strategy.
Reduce time spent on data entry and manipulation.
Gain in depth insights into customers.
Benchmark data against competitor and historical data for continuous improvements.
Identify areas to cut costs and for budget allocation.
Boost internal productivity by spending time on what’s important.

How do I know when to use business intelligence for my business?

All organizations can benefit from business intelligence, but here are some clear indicators that you should look into a business intelligence technology for your business:

The need to integrate data from multiple business applications or data sources
Lack of visibility into the company’s operations, finances, and other areas
The need to access relevant business data quickly and efficiently
Increasing volume of users requiring and accessing information and more end-users requiring analytical capabilities
Rapid company growth or a recent or pending merger/acquisition
Introduction of new products
Upgrades within the IT environment.

Business intelligence is meant 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.