Written by Garrett Carey
When working with clients or prospective clients, the question is often asked, “What is Business Intelligence and what can a business intelligence strategy do for me?” While there are varying technical definitions of Business Intelligence, I have always believed that BI is not an IT topic, but primarily a business topic. In fact, a BI project with software like Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition is not a technical project; it is a business project with a heavy technical aspect.
The end user for BI is always an analyst, a manager, a field sales rep, a controller, etc. They have complex analytical requirements, business problems to solve, and data pain points to ease. Generally speaking, they don’t know anything about the technical implementation and do not care. That being said, the definition of the BI scope should not pertain to the technical environment but to the business area and challenges. This would include areas of operations such as sales, accounting, HR, finance, or procurement. Focusing on these business functions, business intelligence software vendors provide the means by which organizations learn about their environment and operations so as to increase the probability of their future success in business. In short, a Business Intelligence strategy brings meaning to data and aims to support better business decision-making.
With improved decision-making capabilities, organizations can find the following benefits from Business Intelligence:
- Drive operational efficiencies
- Improve data quality
- Reduce operating costs
- Increase sales
- Understand customer trends and improve customer satisfaction
- Identify market changes quickly
- Understand geographical influences
- Increase overall business efficiency
- Increase market share
- Increase profitability
In summary, organizations should not be asking what is Business Intelligence, but instead, ask what is happening, what has happened, why it is happening, what will happen, and what do we want to have happen again. When leveraged to the fullest extent, Business Intelligence helps organizations answer all of these questions.
About the author: Garrett is a Senior BI/EPM Solution Architect who has worked with eVerge Group since 2005.