What is Business Intelligence?
Business Intelligence (BI) is the set of processes required to offer an IT solution to analyze our company is operating.
This knowledge will allow us to optimize this performance by making relevant decisions.
Within the BI world, there are multiple possible solutions. As each company has its casuistry, a entirely reasonable explanation for some companies may not be suitable for others.
We can use the automotive industry as an example. While for one company, the perfect solution will be a city car, it will be a 4×4, for another a minivan, for another a truck, etc. There will even be one that will need a complete fleet of vehicles.
Within BI solutions, there are different options. By relying on rapidly developing technologies, these solutions cover new aspects and improve others.
So the ones included first will give way to others that will emerge over time.
In any case, the most common solutions (all together or only some of them) are those based on the creation of both pre-defined and customized reports, together with their distribution in an automated way (reporting or corporative reporting).
Some solutions would be:
- The forecasting of results (forecasting)
- Query tools for advanced users (query), including access to multidimensional cubes (OLAP).
- Dashboards (scorecards)
- Special data warehouses (data warehouses or datamarts).
BI solutions are in the process of transformation. They range from systems used for corporate data measurement and related reporting to support analysis, forecasting, and data discovery functionalities.
In this way, we can see that Business Intelligence relies heavily on Big Data with data analysis and data development.
Business Intelligence solutions to improve processes
Let’s take an example to see how these technologies are used; this example is that of a large company where all these functionalities are required. It will help us understand where each of them fits in our companies.
Let’s imagine a business that has different software programs in use: an ERP, a program specially developed to control its production systems, a CRM, and so on.
Although it is not always necessary to cross-reference data from one system with others, it is done to a certain extent. This implies that it has to be done externally. For example, in spreadsheets, advanced users collect data from different systems and cross-reference it.
It is a very error-prone system, apart from being expensive (it always needs available personnel) and slow (this personnel have to prepare in each case the type of information required).
BI solutions allow this to be prepared in advance. There are different types of solutions (e.g., metadata-based), but the best known are special data warehouses.
These make it possible to have this data available after processing it to correct and/or discard errors (such as shocking dates from other centuries, misspelled geographical areas, etc., are shared).
In addition to storing them with the previous groupings required (temporal, geographical, by type of business, others), any report, dashboard, etc., that needs them will be much more efficient.
Master in Business Intelligence and Data Analysis
These unique data warehouses have many more exciting functionalities. However, for some specific cases, they may not be the perfect solution (this post is not intended to be a treatise on the subject). As always, it will depend on each case, and that is what the specialists in these technologies are for.
Use of data depending on the department.
Once we have these data prepared and cross-referenced, users will only need to develop part of them.
For example, pre-defined reports with a certain cadence will be helpful for weekly sales visits. Others, such as sales managers, will require aggregated product sales data by vendor and geography.
Managers or target managers will need dashboards to track the evolution of the company’s key indicators. They will be used to measure bed usage or visits per patient in the hospital sector.