What it means, why it matters, and best practices. This guide provides definitions, examples and practical advice to help you understand the topic of business intelligence.
Business intelligence (BI) is the combination of applications, processes, and infrastructure that provide data access and analysis to improve your decisions and performance. Modern BI tools bring together data integration, data analytics and data literacy to close the gaps between data, insights and actions.
From self-service BI and dashboards to mobile BI and conversational analytics, modern business intelligence supports a wide range of business needs and users, allowing every employee to access the insights they need, regardless of technical skill. Here are the primary business intelligence use cases and capabilities:
Gone are the days when business users had to wait days or weeks for data analysts to build reports. Self-service BI tools let users easily explore data and make discoveries using natural language search and interactive selections and create their own visual analytics with simple drag-and-drop tools. And AI is making these processes easier than ever.
The ability to explore and interact with data makes it easier for users to explore, discover patterns, and gain insights from data. Interactive BI dashboards make data even more actionable, revealing the shape of the data, highlighting outliers and trends, and putting data in the ideal context to answer any question.
This class of analytics lets users explore data and discover insights using natural language text chat and voice within analytics apps. AI-powered natural language capabilities allow users to ask questions in their own words and get answers presented in an easy-to-understand conversational manner. The best BI platforms let users freely explore data using text search and interactive selections to filter within charts, tables and other elements.
Embedding analytics into applications like CRMs and ERPs helps people find insights and deliver value faster, right where they work. BI technology that offers open APIs and developer tools let organizations embed analytics, build custom BI apps, and create visualizations and extensions to address the ever-growing demands for insights.
Work happens everywhere today. And to do their best work, employees need access to business intelligence insights whenever and wherever decisions are made. Mobile business intelligence lets users create and explore analytics and collaborate using any device. The best mobile BI solutions support interactive analytics even when users are offline.
While BI reporting is one of the most traditional forms of business intelligence, it remains an essential BI capability. While many second generation BI tools don’t offer reporting, some offer highly flexible, modern reporting capabilities. This includes drag-and-drop report creation and formatting, pixel perfect output in popular formats and flexible automated delivery.
AI and machine learning are quickly becoming an essential facet of BI, quickly processing massive volumes of data to suggest relevant insights and automate processes while letting users interact conversationally. Augmented analytics complements human intelligence and increases data literacy so more users can get value from their data.
Essential resources for selecting the best BI and dashboard tool for your organization, including an evaluation checklist, a TCO comparison report and analyst findings.
Here are some key BI strategies frequently used across major departments in an organization:
According to BARC’s BI Survey, the top benefits of business intelligence software are faster and more accurate planning, analysis and reporting, better business decisions and improved data quality. But how do these translate to real business value? With the right business intelligence platform and strategy, here are four major ways BI can deliver value and drive digital transformation within organizations:
1. Reinvent business processes, optimizing business performance
2. Understand customers to deepen loyalty and increase lifetime value
3. Uncover unexpected new sources of revenue
4. Better balance risk with reward across business operations
See how to explore information and quickly gain insights.