You have probably heard a lot of chatter around about big data or people throwing around words like data analysis, and of course, weird acronyms that could easily fit in with your teenager’s vocabulary next to LOL and LMAO.
But don’t worry, we are here to give you a simple explanation of a very important topic ... BI!
Let’s start by getting rid of the abbreviation. BI stands for Business intelligence. So… is it an intelligent business? Is it someone that is really smart at making businesses? Well not exactly, although if you use it well you should get both of those things out of it.
BI is a technology-driven process. This basically means that it is a process that runs with technology, actually, it combines a number of tools, technologies, and methods. All of this, with the purpose of gathering and analyzing data, to furthermore interpret the results.
Does that still sound really vague and like it's meant only for IT-geeks?
Don't go yet, you are about to find out why it is so popular and why your business needs it.
You have hopefully noticed that almost all human activities have been shifting to the digital world in the last decades. This has allowed productions to get faster and more accurate, the information to be stored safely and easy to find, but more than that it means that we have now the possibility to track data or information about everything that happens in the digital world.
Where is your product being sold the most? What are your competitors doing differently? What has been happening in the market in the last 2 decades/ 1 year/ 10 days?
Having this information and using it well gives you the power to analyze what has happened in the past, and what is happening in the present, in order to spot problems and make the best decisions for your current business. Imagine always knowing how to improve the efficiency of your operations, basing your decisions on the current market trends and customer behavior patterns?
When enterprises take advantage of the constant flow of information that is being created every time that one of their machines is running or one of their products is soled, they are able to transform simple disconnected information into insights, and to ultimately increase their competitiveness and revenue by supporting all of their decisions on real evidence. So why isn't everyone doing this?
In a normal enterprise with an ERP system, what happens is that the monthly or weekly reports usually create more questions than they answer. Big companies with a budget and big IT departments could send the data of the reports to their IT- team or hire external help to get the insights, (which encompasses many other processes like data mining, predictive analytics, statistical analysis, and more, but we are covering the basics today). However, this being really expensive and time-consuming used to only be possible for very powerful corporations.
Lucky for you, that is not the case anymore. Like we mentioned here, data analytics has never been so easy. Nowadays, you can find BI-tools that allow all kinds of companies to implement BI without spending millions or being experts on the subject. But how do these “tools” work? To understand that you will have to first get to know some not so exciting terminology like “text mining” and “querying”. But don't worry, we will guide you through all of that in an upcoming post that will leave you feeling like a pro.
In case you can not wait and want to start learning all about this topic right away, we covered four BI tools in past posts which you can find here: Power BI, Tableau, Qlik Sense and ThoughtSpot.