Business intelligence is the practice of acquiring business data from both inside and outside the corporation in order to transform it into actionable data. The resulting reports can then be used to inform a variety of business decisions across the whole enterprise, from operations to long-term strategy. Software, expertise, and planning go into making the most of business’s intelligence possibilities.
More than just crunching numbers, extracting meaningful information can mean filtering through enormous amounts of data that is in varying formats and structures. Information technology capabilities and software solutions are used to do this. Once the data is filtered from different sources and then integrated into one database, the data fields that will make a cohesive report will need to be extracted and then formatted into a readable format. These reports from data across the corporation can then be used to identify new business opportunities, pinpoint wasteful or inefficient areas of the organization, and to leverage advantages over their industry competition.
A Wide Angle Lens
The information technology tools and skills used in the pursuit of business intelligence can provide a panorama of insights for corporations. It can look back on historical performance, give the current status, and forecast into the future. This is done by utilizing such functions as data mining, online analytics, benchmarking, and both predictive and prescriptive analysis. This can transform the corporate management team’s visual acuity from a two to three-dimensional perspective.
Reasons for Implementation
Businesses that want a way to more quickly and accurately make decisions have a strong motivation for implementing business intelligence projects for their organizations. With sources of data and a desire to be successful, entrepreneurs with an idea for a new startup can utilize business intelligence techniques to ascertain the feasibility of their prospective venture. These data reports can help shape the overall direction and goals of a company.
More Than Just Software
There are a variety of options for business intelligence software applications but it also takes knowledgeable personnel to create great business intelligence. Taking raw data and turning it into consistent and clean reports through queries and analytics is a growing field that will become more complex over time.
Training in information science in the context of a business education such as the USC MMLIS helps professionals become leaders in database management and business intelligence project management. Business professionals with information science training can also work as in demand consultants for the growing business intelligence field.
Business intelligence needs the confluence of technology and creative, detail oriented thinkers to provide context to data. Not just a sales report, contextual data will be able to tell what factors influenced an increase in sales from one measurement period to the next. Another factor to provide context is the combination of both external market data and internal financial data. The low margin restaurant industry as a whole has extensively utilized business intelligence to make detailed operational decisions at almost every level in order to increase profitability.
Business intelligence is used to drive business analytics in order to make strategic decisions. This can influence the entering or withdrawing of operations in certain market sectors. Through analytics, inefficiencies can be spotted and dealt with to increase the corporation’s bottom line. Analytics of the business intelligence data gathered is an essential part of successful business operations around the world. Business intelligence can help managers see where modifications are needed in workflow processes as well as sales performance.
More than just making raw data accessible, the reporting applications in the business intelligence arena have made new business opportunities apparent as well as optimize operations expenses. The ability to gather often disparate data into cogent reports makes business intelligence functions worth harnessing for your organization.