What is business intelligence, Meaning, definition, Types

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(BI) or business intelligence (BI)

Business intelligence (BI) is a tech-driven process of analyzing data, and delivering relevant information that aids managers, executives and employees make better business decisions. In the business intelligence process businesses gather data from internal IT systems and from external sources, then prepare the data for analysis, then run queries against the data , and develop visualizations of data, BI dashboards and reports that make analytics results accessible to the business user for decision-making and for strategic decision-making.

The main purpose for BI projects is to make better business decisions that allow companies to boost revenue, boost efficiency of operations, and increase competitive advantage over their competitors in business. To accomplish this, BI incorporates a combination of analytics, data management and reporting tools, in addition to diverse methods of monitoring and studying data.

How the process of business intelligence functions

An Business intelligence structure encompasses more than software for BI. Data from business intelligence is usually stored in data warehouses that are a large data warehouse designed for the whole organization, or smaller data marts that store small amounts of information about business for specific businesses and departments, usually connected to an enterprise-wide data warehouse. Data lakes that are based on Hadoop clusters and similar massive information systems are becoming increasingly utilized as storage or landing areas for analytics and BI data, particularly log files sensors, text, and other forms of semistructured and unstructured data.

Data from BI systems can contain historical data and real-time data collected from systems from which it is generated, allowing the BI tools to assist both tactical and strategic decisions. Before it can be utilized to create BI applications, the raw data from multiple sources generally have to be consolidated, integrated and cleaned by through tools for data integration, as well as tools for managing data quality. instruments to make sure that BI teams as well as business users are analyzing reliable and consistent data.

The stages of the BI process are as follows:

  • the data processing that is where data sets are arranged and modeled to facilitate analysis;
  • analytic querying of the data;
  • Distribution of key performance indicators (KPIs) and other information to business users.
  • Use of information to aid in making the business decision-making process.

In the beginning, BI tools were primarily employed for BI as well as IT specialists who conducted queries and created reports and dashboards to business customers. In recent years, however, executives, business analysts, and workers are utilizing the business intelligence platforms themselves because of the growth of self-service BI and data discovery tools. Self-service business intelligence platforms allow business users to access the BI database, build graphs and visualizations and create dashboards by themselves.

The BI software programs typically incorporate some form of advanced analytics, like the use of data mining predictive analytics text mining statistical analysis, and massive data analytics. One common instance is predictive modeling, which allows an analysis of the what-if scenarios. Most of the time, however advanced analytics are managed by distinct teams made up of analysts statisticians, statistical modelers, and other highly skilled analysts, while BI teams are responsible for more basic queries and analysis of corporate data. The five steps listed above are essential elements in the BI process.

Business intelligence is essential for business

The main purpose that business intelligence plays is help improve the business processes of an organization through the utilization of relevant data. Companies that successfully employ BI methods and tools are able to convert their data collected into insightful insights into their business procedures as well as strategies. The insights gained can be utilized to make more effective business decisions that improve the efficiency of their operations and generate more revenue and lead to faster business growth and greater profits.

Without BI businesses are unable to benefit from data-driven decision-making. Instead, managers and employees are typically forced to base crucial company decisions on other variables that include accumulated experience of prior experiences, intuition, and gut feeling. While these approaches could lead to good decisions but they also carry the risk of making mistakes and mistakes due to the absence of information that supports these methods.

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The benefits of business intelligence

A well-run BI program delivers a wide range of benefits to an company. For instance, BI enables C-suite executives and department heads to keep track of the performance of their business on a regular basis to be able to react swiftly when opportunities or issues arise. The analysis of customer data assists in making marketing sales, customer service, and sales efforts more efficient. Manufacturing, supply chain and distribution bottlenecks can be identified prior to causing financial harm. Human resource managers will be better equipped to keep track of employee productivity along with labor costs, as well as other data about the workforce.

In the end, the most significant advantages businesses can derive from BI applications are the capacity to:

  • accelerate and enhance decision-makingspeed;
  • Optimize internal business processes for business;
  • improve efficiency and effectiveness of operations;
  • identify business issues that need to be addressed.
  • identify new market and business trends;
  • create stronger business strategies;
  • increase sales and create more revenue; and
  • Gain an edge in competition with other companies.

BI initiatives can also bring more specific business benefits for instance, it makes projects managers easier to keep track of the progress of projects in the business and for companies to gather information about their competitors. Additionally, BI, data management and IT teams profit from the business intelligence by making use of it to study the various aspects of technology as well as analytics processes.

Different types of business intelligence tools and applications

Business intelligence is a collection of applications for data analysis specifically designed to satisfy a variety of requirements for information. The majority of them are supported by self-service BI software as well as the traditional BI platforms. A list of BI tools accessible to companies includes:

Ad Analytical ad hoc. Also known as ad-hoc querying, it is among the fundamental features of the modern BI applications, and is a crucial characteristic that is included in the self-service BI tools. It’s the process of creating and running queries in order to analyse particular business problems. While queries that are ad hoc are usually written by accident but they are often being regularly run with the analytics results being incorporated into reports and dashboards.

The HTML0 format is used for online analysis processing (OLAP). One of the earlier BI technology, OLAP tools enable users to analyse data across several dimensions that are especially suitable for complicated calculations and queries. In the past data needed to be taken from a warehouse of data and kept in multiple-dimensional OLAP cubes. Today, it is now possible to perform OLAP analysis directly on columns of databases.

Mobile BI . Mobile business intelligence allows dashboards and BI apps available for tablets and smartphones. Most often, they are used to look at data rather than analyze it and analyze it, mobile BI tools are usually focused on the user’s experience. For instance mobile dashboards can only show only two or three visualizations of data and KPIs, which means they can be easily viewed on a mobile device’s display.

Real-time BI. When you use real-time BI applications data is analyzed in real-time when it is created, gathered and processed in order to provide users the most current information about the business’s operations, customer behaviour as well as financial markets and other areas of concern. It is a live analytics process typically includes streaming data and also supports the use of decision analytics like scoring credit, trading stocks and targeted promotions.

Operational intelligence (OI). Also known as operational BI this is a kind of real-time analytics that provides information to frontline managers and employees working involved in business operations. Applications designed for OI are intended to support operational decision-making and allow faster resolution of problems, for instance aiding call center workers to solve issues for customers as well as logisticians to alleviate delivery bottlenecks.

Software-as-a-service BI. SaaS BI tools use cloud computing systems hosted by vendors to deliver data analysis capabilities to users in the form of a service that’s typically priced on a subscription basis. Also called cloud BI or cloud BI, the SaaS option has been increasingly able to offer multiple cloud service, and permits companies to run BI applications across multiple cloud platforms in order to meet the user’s requirements and to avoid locking into a vendor.

Open source BI (OSBI). Business intelligence software that’s open source typically comes in two versions one of which is a community edition that is available at no cost and a commercial subscription version that comes with technical support from the vendor. Teams working on BI can also access the source code for developing uses. Additionally, certain vendors that sell proprietary BI tools offer free versions specifically for individuals.

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Embedded Business Intelligence . Business intelligence tools embedded into the software put the capabilities of BI and data visualization directly into the business applications. It allows users of business applications to analyse data in the programs they use for their work. Analytics features embedded in the application are typically used by software companies that sell applications however, corporate software developers are also able to incorporate them into personal applications.

Collaborative BI. This is more of an technique than a specific technology. It involves the use with BI software and collaborative tools that allow multiple users to collaborate on data analysis and exchange data with one another. For instance, they are able to annotate BI analytics and data by adding comments, questions and highlights by making use of chat rooms as well as discussion software.

Location intelligence (LI). This is a specific type of BI that allows users to analyse geospatial and location data. It also has map-based visualization capabilities integrated. Location intelligence can provide insights into geographical elements of business operations and data. It could be used to select a location for corporate and retail facilities, as well as location-based marketing and management of logistics.

Market research vendors and Business Intelligence vendors.

Self-service BI and tools for data visualization are now the norm for the latest BI software. Tableau, Qlik and Spotfire are today an integral part of Tibco Software has taken the lead in creating self-service technology in the early days and then became dominant contenders on the BI market by the year 2010. The majority of suppliers of conventional BI report and query tools followed their footsteps since. Today, nearly all important BI tool comes with self-service functions including visual data discovery as well as querying ad-hoc.

Furthermore, the most the most modern BI platforms typically comprise:

  • Data visualization software used to assist in creating graphs and infographics to present the information in an easy-to-read manner;
  • tools to build BI dashboards as well as reports and performance scorecards which display data that is visually displayed on KPIs as well as other business metrics.
  • data storytelling tools for combining visuals and text in presentations designed for professionals and
  • Monitoring of usage, optimization of performance security controls, and other features for managing BI deployments.

The tools for BI are available from numerous vendors. Large IT companies that offer BI tools are IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, SAS and Salesforce who acquired Tableau in the year 2019 and offers its own tools that were developed prior to the acquisition. Google is also part of the BI market with its Looker division, which it acquired in the year 2020. Other important BI suppliers comprise Alteryx, Domo, GoodData, Infor Birst, Information Builders, Logi Analytics, MicroStrategy, Pyramid Analytics, Sisense, ThoughtSpot and Yellowfin.

Although full-featured BI systems are by far the most popular business intelligence software but the BI market also encompasses different categories of products. Some companies offer software specifically for embedded BI applications; some examples are GoodData as well as Logi Analytics. Companies such as Looker, Sisense and ThoughtSpot focus on the more complex and carefully curated analytical applications. A variety of dashboard and data visualization experts focus on these areas that comprise the BI process. Other vendors are experts in tools for data storytelling.

Examples of the use of business intelligence in examples

In general terms, enterprise BI use cases include:

  • Monitoring business performance, or other metrics;
  • helping to make decisions and plan strategic;
  • reviewing and developing the efficiency of business processes;
  • providing operational employees with useful information on equipment, customers, supply chains , and other business elements giving operational employees useful information on equipment, supply chains, and customers
  • Recognizing patterns, trends and relationships among patterns, trends and relationships in.

The specific applications and BI applications differ between industries. For example, financial service firms and insurance companies utilize BI to conduct the analysis of risks throughout process of approving policies and loans and also to determine new products that they can offer existing customers based on their existing portfolios. BI assists retailers with marketing campaigns, promotion planning, and inventory management and manufacturers depend on BI to provide historical and real-time analysis of their plant operations as well as to assist in the planning of production, purchasing, and distribution.

Hotels and airlines are huge users of BI to do things like monitoring flight capacity and occupancy rates for rooms as well as setting and adjusting prices and scheduling employees. For healthcare institutions, BI and analytics assist in the identification of illnesses and other medical conditions , and also in the effort to improve care for patients and outcomes. Schools and universities use BI to keep track of general student performance and to identify students who may require assistance, in addition to other applications.

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Business intelligence for big data

BI platforms are being utilized as interfaces to front-ends for big data systems , which contain the combination of unstructured, structured, as well as semistructured information. Modern BI software usually offers a range of flexibility in connectivity, allowing users to access a variety in data sources. This, coupled with the basic design of the user interface ( UI) that is present in the majority of BI tools is a great choice for large-scale data architectures.

People using BI tools have access to Hadoop or Spark system, NoSQL databases and various other large-scale data systems, as well as traditional data warehouses, and have a complete overview of the various information stored within them. This allows a wide range of potential users to become involved in analysing large amounts of data and not rely on expert data analysts being the only people who have access to the data.

Big data systems can also are used as staging zones for raw data, which is refined and refined, later loaded into a data warehouse to be analyzed to BI users.

Business intelligence trends

Alongside BI managers business intelligence teams usually consist of a mix of developers, architects, analysts for BI and BI, who work in close collaboration with data designers, data engineers, and other experts in data management. Business analysts and other users are usually also involved during the BI development process to represent the business perspective and ensure that its requirements are fulfilled.

In order to help to help, more and more businesses are replacing traditional waterfall development processes with agile BI as well as data warehouse strategies which employ agile software development techniques to break down BI projects into smaller chunks and introduce new capabilities in an incremental and iterative basis. It allows businesses to implement BI tools into operation quicker and improve or alter their plans for development when business requirements change or as new requirements arise.

Other noteworthy developments that are occurring in the BI market are the following:

  • The rapid growth of augmented analytics technology. BI tools increasingly offer natural language querying in lieu of creating queries using SQL or another programming language. They also offer AI machines and algorithms to help users discover, comprehend and process data to make infographics, charts, and graphs.
  • Development that is low-code or no-code. A lot of BI companies are also adding graphic tools that allow BI apps to be built without coding.
  • A rise in the use of cloud. BI systems were initially slow to migrate to the cloud, largely because data warehouses were installed in data centers on premises. However, cloud-based deployments of data warehouses as well as BI tools are increasing as of early 2020. the consulting firm Gartner reported that the bulk of new BI spending is currently for cloud-based applications.
  • Initiatives in order to enhance the data literacy . With self-service BI increasing the application of tools for business intelligence in enterprises, it’s essential to ensure that users new to the tool are able to comprehend and use data. This is the reason why BI teams to incorporate information literacy techniques into user education programs. BI suppliers have launched initiatives like that of Qlik’s Data Literacy Project.

A timeline of noteworthy BI developments

Business intelligence and data analytics. Business analytics and data analytics

The use of the term “business intelligence dates to the early 1850s, however expert Howard Dresner is credited with being the first to propose it in 1989 as a general term to describe the application of techniques for data analysis to assist decisions in business. The term that came to be called BI tools was a result of earlier, usually mainframe-based analytics technology like decision support systems as well as executive information systems which were used primarily by executives in business.

Business intelligence is often employed as a synonym for analytical business. In other instances, the term business analytics can be used more narrowly to mean advanced analytics or to encompass both BI. However, data analytics is generally a broad term that refers to all kinds of BI and analytics software. This includes the three main kinds of analysis using data: descriptive which is the most common type of analytics BI offers as well as predictive analytics that analyzes the future of behavior and outcomes and also prescriptive analytics that recommends actions for business.