Business Intelligence Overview
What is Business Intelligence?
Business Intelligence at first glance is a broad array of applications or technologies designed for storing, gathering, analyzing, and processing information. These applications also provide access to data for professionals and help them make better business decisions.
It is the ability of in depth analysis and data mining of detailed business data to provide real and significant information to users. The software allows users to access and review large amounts of complex data. Yet this is only Business technology on the technical side of the spectrum, in fact we also need to acknowledge the human end, meaning the human views and concepts of Business Intelligence.
Business Intelligence is just as much complicated yet helpful applications as it is the interpretations of those who use those applications. This includes the ability to effectively act through the exploitation of information and human resources.
In the Business intelligence environment one also needs to effectively analyze and intuitively present the right information, which enables them to take the right action, or make the right decisions. Business Intelligence puts emphasis on the human element and the need for not just any information, but the information that will benefit professionals and meet their quality requirements.
Why do we need Business Intelligence?
In today’s struggling economy with competition controlling and shrinking the landscape, it is important to make sound business decisions based on complete data. With the proper Business Intelligent implementation, businesses can make decisions and feel comfortable that they are provided with the proper tools and data needed to believe in their decisions. Without the correct Business Intelligence solution even well planned and executed data warehouse architectures can fail.
Business Intelligence is a decisions support system and database that can provide professionals with the information they need to make the most effective decisions for their organization. It also provides data about the organizations details, such as customers, products, and services. Honestly when a one can access this information rapidly and easily in order to take appropriate action or make the right decision business success is realized.
Who uses Business Intelligence?
Business Intelligence is used to track a wide scope of unruly data. This data can be demographic trends, product line profitability, fine tuning of pricing options, identifying of top customers, and tracking product trends. That said we can come to the conclusion that most organizations could benefit from Business intelligence software. These organizations can include restaurant chains, retail, or even professional sports teams.
Unfortunately Business Intelligence software and applications are not easily affordable, therefore they are most commonly used in large corporations, rather then small business. Yet there are new companies on the rise that are providing Business Intelligence applications to mid-sized organizations for a some what affordable fee.
There are so many benefits to having one of these systems that the price is worth it if the organization can fit the expense into their outgoing funds. Business Intelligence tools can provide significant value when considering the benefit they will have to an organization.
What are the benefits of having a Business Intelligence System?
Some of the benefits of having a Business Intelligence system include the ability to access data in a common format from multiple sources, a way to measure goals and analyze cross-departmental data, to see who your organizations good and bad customers are, and to track customer behavior in order to improve services and relationships.
This software can also help to track specific product sales and distributors to improve supply and production, as well as track external trends to improve processes, track market trends to improve an organization’s competitiveness, and fine tune pricing and marketing policies.
Some issues still need consideration, though increased efficiency and extraction of clear information from complex data can improve and reduce the need for data analyst and improve revenues, determine the exact return on an organizations investment in Business Intelligence systems can be difficult. It can take a while to see the real world benefits of Business Intelligence software and executives can easily label the venture as a failure when results are not immediate.
Though the demand for Business Intelligence tools is growing at a rapid pace there is still criticism from the marketplace that the programs are to complex and difficult to use. User resistance will be one of the biggest hurdles for suppliers of Business Intelligence providers to overcome. Another potential problem is the Business Intelligence tools themselves. The applications may be more user friendly than they used to be, the core use of Business Intelligence is still reporting data rather than process management, though that is slowly starting to change. Business Intelligence users must careful not to mistake business intelligence with business analytics.
Are there different types of Business intelligence?
There are two different types of Business Intelligence, each serves the main purpose of providing large quantities of information in an easy to view and digest manner. The first type pf Business Intelligence we will explore is Traditional Business Intelligence.
Traditional Business Intelligence is the use of cubes and graphs to normally track a business’s performance in the past and upcoming terms. It is also used to predict the organizations future performance based on past data. One does this by using reporting and analyzing tools. The one draw back to Traditional Business Intelligence is that the present or real-time data is not usually being observed. Taking action using present data calls for Operational Business Intelligence.
Operational Business Intelligence is used to offer immediate results by providing the needed information to its users. This can be done to implement any needed changes to effectively run the organization in a small amount of time. Operational Business Intelligence deals with operational data, such as the data used by inventory managers or even truck drivers.
It allows these professionals to have up to the minute information to use to make immediate decisions. Where Traditional Business Intelligence deals with past data, Operational Business Intelligence uses real time data, allowing users to access, review, and make needed adjustments.
Is Business Intelligence worth the challenge?
In the end, simplifying and gathering data from multiple sources in an organization enables users to rely upon the informational memory to help with the decision-making process and problem solving strategies to better understand the customers and market behavior.
It may take patience and cooperation from both ends, meaning the data analysts and the IT specialists, to accomplish the desired outcome and benefit from Business Intelligence tools. This can be achieved through comprehensive training on how to use and interpret the information provided by the applications.
When the Business Intelligence tool users are comfortable and well trained, they should find that the product will in fact meet or even surpass its market value. It is easy to view both sides of this issue, yet when one truly takes into account the need for a better way to process, collect, and analyze complicated and large amounts of information the price of such a tool should not be an issue. This is said simply because when using the cost / benefit process it is simple to see that no matter the scenario the benefit usually out weighs the cost.