Business Intelligence Essentials 2023: A Deep Dive into What and Why of BI?

In 2023, where data is crucial, Business Intelligence (BI) is super important for smart decision-making. If you’re new to BI, this guide is for you. It focuses on the common questions asked by new BI users, anchoring on the software’s purpose while exploring other pertinent areas, such as what it is and what it can do for your business.

As we explore this tech-driven era, we’ll talk about the basics and the latest trends in BI. Let us shed some light on how BI can unleash the power of data, helping businesses thrive in a competitive world.

  1. What Is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence encompasses tools, technologies, applications, and practices for collecting, integrating, analyzing, and presenting an organization’s raw data to generate insightful and actionable business information. Embracing these data-driven solutions enhances organizational resilience amid pandemic challenges. For instance, BI includes collaborative tools and project management features crucial for teamwork and productivity in remote work scenarios.

As a discipline and technology-driven process, BI involves activities such as

  • Data mining
  • Online analytical processing
  • Querying
  • Reporting


  1. What Are the Benefits of Using Business Intelligence?

Having understood the purpose of business intelligence in a business, it’s crucial to delve into its key benefits. Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics play a pivotal role in helping companies navigate fragile supply chains, enhance customer engagement, and support workforce adjustments amid pandemic disruptions. The potential benefits of BI programs encompass:

  • Streamlining and enhancing decision-making processes
  • Optimizing internal business operations
  • Improving operational efficiency
  • Generating new revenue streams
  • Attaining a competitive edge over business rivals
  • Recognizing market trends
  • Identifying and addressing business problems


  1. Why Should You Use Business Intelligence Systems and Tools?

Business intelligence tools serve as data-driven decision support systems (DSS), often interchangeably used with briefing books, report/query tools, and executive information systems. These tools empower business users to analyze data independently, reducing reliance on IT for complex reports. This direct access to information allows users to support business decisions with concrete data rather than relying on gut feelings or anecdotes. Considering the increasing importance of cloud BI, with 54% of companies deeming it critical, exploring its applications for your business could provide a competitive edge.


  1. How Do Software Tools Optimize Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence software systems offer insights into historical, current, and future business operations, primarily utilizing data stored in data warehouses or data marts. These systems leverage reporting, interactive pivot-table analyses, visualization, and statistical data mining. They address various business data sources such as sales, production, and finance, supporting tasks like business performance management. Additionally, these systems engage in benchmarking by collecting information about other companies within the same industry.


  1. Who Should Lead the Way in Implementing Business Intelligence?

Effective sharing of information is crucial for the success of BI projects, starting with top executives and extending to salespeople who, driven by the need to stay updated on sales trends, readily embrace user-friendly tools they can trust. BI systems empower employees to modify practices, enhancing teamwork and individual performance, particularly within sales teams. Disparities in team performance prompt efforts to elevate laggard teams. Engaging salespeople as BI advocates can be instrumental in encouraging wider organizational adoption, as they enthusiastically share the benefits and improvements experienced in their work through BI tools.


  1. How Should I Implement a Business Intelligence System?

To successfully implement Business Intelligence (BI), companies should assess their decision-making processes and identify the information executives require for confident and rapid decisions. Considerations should include the preferred presentation format (e.g., report, chart) for relevant information. BI systems must offer contextual insights, explaining the factors influencing business outcomes. It’s crucial to address user concerns and skepticism, as BI’s success hinges on user acceptance and strategic implementation, which can fundamentally transform how companies operate and make decisions. CIOs should be attentive to users’ feelings throughout the process.

  1. How to Efficiently Roll out Business Intelligence Systems?

  • Ensure Data Quality: Start with clean data for accurate insights.
  • Effective User Training: Provide thorough training for users.
  • Quick Deployment with Adaptability: Deploy rapidly and adjust as needs evolve. Prioritize delivering valuable reports promptly.
  • Integrated Data Warehouse: Take an integrated approach in building the data warehouse to avoid future data strategy issues.
  • Clearly Define ROI: Outline expected benefits and regularly assess actual returns.
  • Align with Business Objectives: Prioritize BI efforts based on business objectives.
  • Strategic Software Deployment: Deploy BI with the goal of uncovering essential numbers, avoiding unnecessary software purchases.
  1. What Are Potential Business Intelligence Problems?

  • User Resistance: Cultural challenges may hinder implementation.
  • Data Quality Issues: Accurate insights require standardized and high-quality data; ensure data is in good order before extracting insights.
  • BI Tools Misuse: Differentiate between business intelligence and business analytics; BI primarily focuses on reporting, not process management.
  • Limited Understanding of Business Processes: Comprehensive understanding of activities within specific business processes is crucial before initiating a BI project.
  1. How to Choose the Best Business Intelligence Software?

  • Examine executive decision-making processes.
  • Identify information essential for swift, precise decisions.
  • Emphasize data quality.
  • Develop pertinent performance metrics.
  • Offer contextual insights shaping performance metrics.

Remember, BI is about more than decision support. Due to improvements in the technology and the way CIOs are implementing it, BI now has the potential to transform organizations. CIOs who successfully use BI to improve business processes contribute to their organizations in more far-reaching ways than by implementing basic reporting tools.