Business Intelligence and Why You Need It

Does My Business Need Business Intelligence Software?

Business intelligence allows businesses to make better decisions by accessing big data, and cloud computing has levelled the playing field.

Business intelligence allows businesses of any size whether you run small, medium or large to make better decisions by accessing big data. Even small companies that don’t accumulate a large volume of data which can stem considerable benefits from better analytics.

At first only larger businesses could afford the cost of incorporating Business Intelligence software within their companies due to the cost of the software itself and the infrastructure to run it on. However, recent technological innovations like Software as a Service on a cloud computing platform have levelled the playing field.

In today’s corporate economy even small businesses with sales less than £100,000 a year can massively benefit from Business Intelligence, in addition to using software comparisons between top business intelligence applications which offer competitive pricing.

What Is Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence is not a single piece of software or even a suite of software to crunch big data. Instead, it is an umbrella term which includes:

  • Best Business Practices
  • Software
  • Infrastructure
  • Other tools, which are used to enhance decision making and enhance performance

Business Intelligence is all about information analysis. A database pulls together information from the different parts of your business, then applications convert the raw data into reports, charts, and other analytical tools to provide insight. Business Intelligence can be used in a number of different ways:

  • It can be used to look at any aspect of your business.
  • It can be used to see how well your sales efforts are going.
  • It can be used to assess the efficiency of your manufacturing processes.
  • It can be used to measure staff performance.

Misunderstandings with Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence is often considered synonymous with competitive intelligence. It is easy to understand the confusion because business intelligence and competitive intelligence both require decision making. In addition Business Intelligence does increase your competitive advantage.

Although Business Intelligence does increase your competitive advantages there are some important distinctions, business intelligence uses a wide range of technology’s top reviews of internal data and analyses business processes. Competitive intelligence uses data for a different purpose, instead it focuses on the marketplace. Data is analysed and disseminated to understand how to get an edge over competitors.

Business Intelligence is also often confused with business analytics, these two terms are used interchangeably. This can often be a mistake; business analytics is related to competitive intelligence and can be considered a subset of it. Whereas Business Intelligence collects data by asking questions, reporting, and online analytical processing while business analytics is all about predictive modelling, and its tools are statistics and quantitative measurements.

How Does Business Intelligence Work?

Business intelligence provides a spectrum of broad range analytical applications, including collaborative business intelligence, mobile business intelligence, open source business intelligence, Software as a Service business intelligence, operational business intelligence and real-time business intelligence. The technology is not just about gathering intelligence but about making sense of data in a way that can be quickly grasped.

This can be accomplished through the visualisation applications for creating infographics and designing charts. Business intelligence also offers dashboards, as well as performance score cards. In essence, key performance indicators and business metrics are much easier to understand when displayed as visualised data.

Can Business Intelligence Benefit a Small Business?

It isn’t common that a small business can be reluctant to put Business Intelligence into practice. Not only because it can be expensive and time consuming to set up, but because they are not clear about the benefits of using it. Here are some reasons why it can pay for itself:

  • It’s much easier to make informed decisions.
  • It’s a structured way for growing revenue.
  • It increases the competitive advantage over other players in the industry, including larger businesses.
  • It improves the efficiency of their business operations.
  • It enhances the quality of their customer service.

These are not small achievements, they are the key factors to business success and prosperity. Attempts to analyse data without business intelligence are inept. For instance, information is often tabulated on Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets. It is time consuming collecting the data and tedious putting it together in a more easy way to grasp.

The results aren’t always accurate or insightful, whilst Microsoft Excel has many excellent uses, however when running bigger tasks, such as taking your company to the next level you need bigger, better, faster, and more efficient tools.

Failure to analyse data can result in the difference between profit and loss or between a modest profit and outrageous success. Here, for example, are two big things that can happen when analytics are done properly:

    • You get insights into industry trends and can spot marketing opportunities that you would have otherwise missed.
    • You learn what customers want and need from your company, and this information can help you redesign your business to acquire more customers.
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