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- August 13, 2014
- Last update: August 19, 2014
- by Alexander Pashuk
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Business intelligence (BI) is a set of technologies, software and practices to achieve business goals through better use of available information. However, this term often implies software designed to assist the manager in analyzing information on the company.
- There are several variants of understanding of the BI term:
- Business Intelligence is a category of tools for building informative reports with information about current situation. In this case, the purpose of BI – to provide to the user necessary information in the right time. This information can be vital for making management decisions.
- Business intelligence is a broad range of applications and technologies for gathering, storing, analyzing, and providing access to data to help enterprise users make better business, tactical and strategic decisions.
So the first definition is just part of second one. In addition to reporting BI includes analysing, data integration (ETL or Extract-Transform-Load), data warehouse and data mining tools.
- General BI functions include the following:
- Managing finances
- Analyzing sales trends
- Tracking customer habits
- Evaluating sales and marketing campaign efficiency
- Prediction market demand
- Effective project management
- Analyzing time spent on projects
- Assessing the need in employees
- Assessment of productivity and quality of work
- Monitoring KPIs
- Effective performance management
Before starting to use benefits of BI we need to identify and analyze all data sources (which may include common data source – relational databases and flat files, but also may include specific data sources as non-relational database structures).
The data processing stage applies a series of rules or functions to the data from previous step and creating data warehouse. In other word, in this step heterogeneous data transformed into homogeneous data, which form a single data warehouse. The first two steps are creating a process that is also known as ETL – Extract-Transform-Loading.
Reporting & Analysis
After data preparation and data processing, business intelligence developers can start analysis and creating reports with ready to use BI system.
BI key features
The benefits of using BI systems
Implementation of BI systems in the company provides the following key benefits: increase in the speed and accuracy of reporting, analytics and planning; improved decision-making processes and increased customer satisfaction. In addition, BI systems usage can lead to a reduction in operational costs or increase in revenue.
- In most cases, after implementing BI system the following benefits are achieved in the company:
- Better business decisions
- Faster reporting. analysis or planning
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Improved data quality
- Improved employee satisfaction
- Increased revenues
- More accurate reporting, analysis or planning
- Reduced external IT costs
- Reduced business headcount
- Reduced IT headcount
- Saved other non-IT costs