What is business intelligence? And how is it helpful to businesses?

Heard the term ‘business intelligence and wonders what it meant? Find out what business intelligence is, and how it’s helpful to businesses.

The chances are that you’ve used business intelligence – even if it’s just a very basic level already. Put simply, it involves pulling together data to look at different markets and scenarios.

Used properly, business intelligence can give you an important oversight on your business and customers, and enable you to make wise, more informed decisions.

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So what data can you use, and how do you use it? You can use both proprietary internal data from your own organisation, and available external market data. You then use this to create a unique set of data to use for analysis, troubleshooting and modelling in the future using a series of “what if?” questions.

What can you use to create business intelligence?

The larger your business’ operations, the more business intelligence will help you to respond to market changes quickly and appropriately.

And to make the process easier, you can buy business intelligence software from a number of software producers. This software will turn your company and market data into something that’s far more useful than mere columns and rows of information in a spreadsheet and data stored in a database.

How Microsoft helps key managers create useable reports

One example of business intelligence software is Microsoft’s offering. They have their own Power BI software tool that is capable of linking into their SQL Server relational database system and the Azure Analysis cloud and data analytics platform to access data to make it more useful to retailers and other companies in real-time.

Regardless of where and how your data is stored, their software can draw connections, pull together graphs and provide reports that are highly usable for key managers who can take action quickly in response to what they’re seeing.

With the high take-up of Microsoft’s Access, Excel, Word, OneDrive, Azure Cloud, SQL Server and hosting software, the company is in a great position to get the most out of its own existing tools without any compatibility issues for users.

Tableau gives you drag and drop interaction

To make big data more accessible, some business intelligence tools offer a few interesting features to better connect humans with live data. A case in point is Tableau, which has software accessible on the desktop, tablet or online from anywhere.

The Tableau software lets the users drag and drop relevant elements found in the stored data over to the graphing tool which updates using real-time data feeds. Columns, rows, colour keys, date ranges and other selectable features of the graph convert big data into something visual and immediate.

Dashboards are created containing various graphs that provide real-time information to managers in a snapshot at any time of the day.

The software is also interesting because it has genuine AI capabilities to understand and interpret the company’s data (and external data sources too). In this way, it’s able to see patterns emerging suggesting a positive or negative trend that gets highlighted to managers for a closer look.

How to make buying business intelligence software less confusing

Of course though, these are just two examples of many options available. And, with so many solution providers with business intelligence software, it can be difficult to know which to choose.

That’s where sites like Select Hub are helpful, with buyer’s guides that fully explain the ins and outs of business intelligence software to make the selection process easier.

Every business should be analysing their sales and customer data to see what’s working and what isn’t. And as your business grows, having a big picture overview is even more necessary because it’s often not possible to visualise every moving part.

Business intelligence helps bring the big picture back into focus again, enabling you to make make smarter operational decisions going forward. And every smart business owner should be looking at how they can use business intelligence in their organisation – the key, after all, is in the name.

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