Business Intelligence (BI) refers to a broad range of computer software applications and tools used to gather, store, collate, organize, report, analyze and present data in a range of formats to assist with business decisions.
BI applications include such functions as online analytical processing (OLAP), dashboards, query and reporting, statistical analysis and data mining.
Business Intelligence solutions can be used to measure a range of key business metrics, from sales revenue, product sales and departmental costs and supply chain metrics, to the geographical spread of customer-base. Data stored in transactional systems or data warehouses can be analyzed and dissected to create reports on past and current business performance as well as predict future business trends and patterns to enable accurate business goals to be set and accurately tracked in a timely manner.
As it can be clearly seen, there are many possible reasons why access to quality BI can boost business performance.
Here are seven. BI help business leaders:
1. Improve operational efficiency and effectiveness leading to reduced costs and increased revenues
2. Detect marketplace opportunities
3. Segment your customer base more accurately to assist with sales and marketing strategy
4. Access timely and reliable business data that allows management to make quick business decision to improve productivity and competitive advantage
5. Keep key team members up-to-date regarding progress towards business objectives and goals with benchmarking and data projection capabilities
6. Improve knowledge sharing throughout your company to support collaboration and cohesion
7. Develop a greater understanding of customer needs and the customer decision making process
BI can help your business gain sustainable competitive advantage.
A 1996 Gartner Group report accurately predicted the importance of good BI to successful business operation in the digital age:
'The key to thriving in a competitive marketplace is staying ahead of the competition. Making sound business decisions based on accurate and current information takes more than intuition. Data analysis, reporting, and query tools can help business users wade through a sea of data to synthesize valuable information from it - today these tools collectively fall into a category called Business Intelligence.'
BI solutions like Yellowfin are highly intuitive, cost effective and entirely Web-based, making them easy to integrate into existing technical environments to minimize impact on existing infrastructure.
Web-based BI applications are also easy for executives of all business backgrounds to use. Anyone comfortable using a web browser can quickly become adept at viewing and analyzing data, creating their own reports, and integrating the benefits of BI analytics and reporting into their routine business dealings.