What Is Business Intelligence and What Tools Are Available?

What Is Business Intelligence and What Tools Are Available_

At Tallard Management, we provide a raft of services that help executives to make decisions based on economic trends, strategic definitions in project management, investment mapping and corporate governance, among many other areas. To be able to provide our clients with these sorts of services, we often rely on high-quality business intelligence gathering.

However, as any professional business intelligence analyst will know, merely gathering big data isn’t enough on its own. In other words, you need reliable data analytic services, too, or you’ll just end up with a lot of information that you don’t know what to do with. So, if you want to know how to do business intelligence gathering properly but also improve your decision making as a result of it, then read on.

What Does BI Mean in Business?

Before dealing with the types of BI tools that are around nowadays, it will be worth defining what is meant by the term BI intelligence. In short, business intelligence is a process for analysing commercial data that makes it easier to deliver actionable information that executives, managers and other decision-makers can use to operate more strategically. In other words, good business intelligence allows you to make better-informed commercial decisions.

As part of their business intelligence reporting process, organisations will collect data from their own IT systems and any other suitable external sources they can lay their hands on. However, obtaining such data is only the first step. It must also be prepared for analysis, perhaps by running certain queries within it or by removing superfluous information. 

A business intelligence analyst will then use the big data that has been prepared to allow it to be used in various forms. Typically, data visualisations will be generated to help understand the data more readily. Equally, specialist business intelligence software might be deployed to create BI dashboards which executives can use to mine the information to get answers from it.

Usually, a dashboard means that running reports and queries become a more intuitive process. In the end, it will be desirable to share such BI analytics, meaning the results will be made available to appropriate users within the organisation to help inform their operational decision-making and strategic planning. 

What Is BI Data Analysis?

As described above, business intelligence is, in effect, a two-stage process, the first being the aforementioned data gathering process. Essentially, BI data analysis is the series of operations that help executives to better understand the data they have gathered. These operations can be broken down further into various data analytics services as outlined below.

  • Data visualisations – Charts, graphs, and graphical presentations of datasets are all forms of BI data analytics used today. A simple pie chart can often explain a highly complex set of data, for example.
  • Statistical analysis – This sort of BI data analysis makes use of statistical data to try and identify performance trends. ‘35% of website visitors stayed for over ten minutes, but only 10% went on to make a purchase’ would be a simple example of statistical analysis.
  • Reporting – Reports tend to offer an overview of big data and combine various other aspects of BI data analysis. They can be printed, published online or presented in person.
  • Data queries – Usually conducted by applying filters to large sets of data, queries try to get useful answers to questions like which day of the week are most sales made or whether men or women engage more with marketing campaigns.
  • Descriptive analytics – When a descriptive analytic is used, it tends to offer an initial take on a set of data without running further queries or visualisation. An example might be the bald turnover figure of a company without presenting its operating profit.
  • Performance metrics – By comparing key performance indicators (KPIs) within different reporting periods, it is possible to see if there have been any changes. Staff retention rates are a typical KPI for HR departments within larger organisations, for example.

What Are Business Intelligence Tools?

There are various business intelligence tools that organisations can take advantage of. Some of these provide data cleaning functions as well as features like predictive analytics and data exploration tools. However, not all systems are the same, and functionality varies somewhat. The most common ones are business intelligence software systems. These tend to be referred to as self-service business intelligence platforms because they provide the functionality to be able to run queries, hold data and create visualisations. 

However, self-service business intelligence platforms don’t necessarily provide organisations with the skills they need to be able to use them. Typically, business intelligence tools of this kind will also come with certain security requirements that need to be set up by a qualified user so that the – often commercially sensitive – information stored on them is only accessible to authorised personnel. As such, many BI solutions on the market today are only truly useful in helping decision-makers to plan if they are managed by people who know what they are doing with them.

Turn to Tallard Management for BI Solutions That Meet Your Strategic Priorities

At Tallard Management, we can assist your organisation with all aspects of its business intelligence processes from big data acquisition to finding a suitable business intelligence platform to use. Whether your organisation wants to benefit from artificial intelligence number crunching to assist with its data analytics services or would like help from a business intelligence analyst who can provide better query searches and data visualisations, we can help.

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