In recent years it has turned into one of the most effective strategies and tools for business management. What? You have heard that your competitors or partners use it?

Here is a quick-read guide for you to learn the essentials of business intelligence and decide whether it can be useful for your own enterprise. Check out five key points below.

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1. What Is Business Intelligence?

Also knows simply as BI, it is a whole set of strategies and technologies which various enterprises use to collect, process, store and disseminate business information of different kinds.

Generally, BI should be referred to as special computer software that can provide various business operation and handle big amounts of data.

Today BI technologies help identify opportunities, support decisions and develop strategies that provide an enterprise with long-term stability and make it competitive at the market.

2. Where Does BI Take Its Roots From?

Although in the 21st century business intelligence implies dealing with computers, this term was coined in 1865. Its author, Richard Millar Devens, used it in his Cyclopedia of Commercial and Business Anecdotes, describing how the banker Sir Henry Furnese managed to get profit by collecting and acting on the information about his business environment.

Almost 100 years later Hans Peter Luhn, one the first researchers in the field of computer science, used the term BI in his article A Business Intelligence System. It was dedicated to the description of a special automatic method that would provide enough awareness to scientists, researchers and engineers who had to deal with rapid growth of literature after World War II.

Since that time the concept of methods of BI have been greatly developed, enabling contemporary enterprises manage business information successfully.

3. Why Can BI Be a Good Decision for My Business?

And now we are going to list the main advantages of business intelligence. Consider them when you decide to try the system.

  • Big data can be managed in real place and in real time.Modern mobile devices allow you to access the data in any place and at any time. Whether you need to make on-the-spot decision or check some numbers, you can always stay sure of your abilities.
  • Tracking KPIs gets simpler.Now you can easily control how successfully your enterprise is achieving the set goals by tracking your Key Performance Indicators via notifications that you get when any data change.
  • Your sales get improved and your waste is cut. With the BI system you get almost unlimited access to the freshest reports about current preferences of your customers’, sales trends and profitable markets. At the same time you can identify the main areas of unreasonable and thus unnecessary waste.
  • Negotiation and communication are now more effective. All business users have independent access to the data and reports. Besides, easy availability of data adds more reliability and confidence to your negotiations with partners or suppliers.
  • You can forecast opportunities for your enterprise. Simultaneous analysis of different types of data enables your company to identify the most profitable possibilities as well as its potential capacities which can be developed.

4. Should I Beware Something?

Just like everything in our world business intelligence also has its dark sides. Learn more about them in advance in order to eliminate all risk factors before they start threatening your success.

  • Differences in data interpretation.Different analysts may draw different conclusions from the same set of data. Such inconsistencies may hold the whole work process back for some time.
  • Questionable security of your data. However sad it is, but no BI system is insured against hacking and data breach. Take this issue into account when applying BI in your business.
  • Unexpected expenses. First, most of BI applications you will have to use if you want to be integrated are not free of charge and require investments. Second, if something in BI implementation goes wrong (hardware, software, etc.), fixing it may cost you quite a lot of money.
  • Legal and regulatory sanctions. They are directly connected with the issue of data breach. In order to avoid dramatic losses, you should keep pace with all legal innovations and evolve your BI apps.
  • Limited availability for your business. These days some industries are just starting to implement the BI systems. So, it may take you some time to set everything right if the industry you are interested in is not very well-developed.

5.Which BI Tools Are Really Worth Using?

Check out the list of the most popular BI software that can help your company optimize collection and analysis of different data.

  • BI platforms: Domo, Sisense, Looker.
  • Data visualization software: Grow, iDashboards, Segment.
  • Self-service BI: Chartio, Looker, Tableau Desktop.