We’re living in an era in which we have access to more data from a wider range of sources than ever before, due to the Internet of Things and other technological advancements. The whole digital universe is expected to balloon to 44 zettabytes by 2020, according to the World Economic Forum.
This obviously gives businesses the opportunity to gain unprecedented insight into performance, operations, and consumer behavior and preferences. However, given the sheer volume of data already dealing with, figuring out how to properly process and leverage it is a major challenge.
That’s where business intelligence (BI) solutions come in and can make a big difference. As the amount of data available has exploded, many organizations have turned to BI software to help them make sense of it and get the most out of it. In 2018, the analytics and BI software market grew by 11.7 percent to reach $21.6 billion, with modern BI platforms as the fastest-growing segment, according to Gartner.
If you’re considering implementing BI software to help your organization perform better, here’s everything you should know about what these types of solutions are, how they work, and the key benefits of using business intelligence tools.
Understanding BI Tools: What BI Solutions Are and How They Function
BI as a general concept includes applications, tools and technologies that collect and analyze data relevant to business operations to drive better decision-making. BI tools are capable of taking in significant amounts of unstructured data from both internal and external systems and can help prepare that information for analysis and transformation into visualizations, reports and dashboards, according to Microsoft.
It’s important to note that BI tools are distinct from business analytics (BA) applications, Salesforce states. The essential difference is that BI tools look at what happened in the past as well as what’s happening right now. Meanwhile, BA leverages data mining, statistical analysis, and quantitative analysis to identify past business trends as well as predict what will happen in the future. If you want to get as much value as possible from the data you collect, it makes sense to use both BI and BA solutions.
There are various kinds of BI solutions and functionalities out there, including the following. Please keep in mind that this isn’t an exhaustive list.
- Dashboards and visualizations: Dashboards extract and store visual aids such as graphs and charts. They can make key performance indicators (KPIs) easier to understand.
- Data mining: BI data mining tools find and pinpoint patterns in datasets. These types of solutions can help businesses make better decisions to boost ROI and meet financial goals.
- Online analytical processing (OLAP): This type of solution lets users extract and view data from different perspectives. For instance, a marketing staff member might want to view sales of a specific item during a particular month. They can then compare that with another month or item to help them make marketing strategy decisions.
- Extract, transform, load (ETL): This is a data integration process that is typically leveraged to create data warehouses.
- Cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS): These kinds of BI apps are hosted and stored on a virtual network or get deployed outside your organization’s firewall. They’re commonly used for dashboards, KPIs, and other business metrics.
Why Businesses Choose BI: 5 Key Benefits of BI Solutions
The right BI solution(s) can help your organization reach peak performance due to various advantages. Here are just a few of the key benefits of using business intelligence tools, as detailed on our AI and BI page and by the Small Business Chronicle article “The Advantages of Business Intelligence.”
1. Faster, fact-based decisions: BI tools allow you to collect and analyze data related to business decisions quickly. This empowers your organization’s leaders to make decisions informed by current and comprehensive information about operations.
2. Less waste: BI solutions can also help you identify losses and wasted resources that you weren’t aware of previously.
3. More insight into market trends and opportunities: With greater analytical capabilities and more detailed data, you’ll have a better idea of what’s going on in your target market(s) and have a clearer view of opportunities for growth.
4. More knowledgeable for sales reps: With the power of BI, your sales force can get access to more current product info, trends in the marketplace, and client preferences – which can help them close more deals.
5. Better informed supplier negotiations: Comprehensive data on products and up-to-date market info can also assist you as you work with suppliers.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of business intelligence, our team of tech experts can answer your questions as well as determine whether or not your business could achieve more by implementing a BI solution. We work with a wide range of suppliers offering different products in the BI market. Let our IT consultants serve as your trusted advisors and help you identify which product is the best fit for your company.
Get in touch with our consultants today by calling 877-599-3999 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.