How do you ensure your organization follows best practices that help in making astute and carefully crafted decisions in a world where data is now deemed more valuable than oil? Via Business intelligence (BI) that helps break down technical and procedural infrastructure that stores, collects, and analyses data. Even though today almost every company worth its salt is exploring ways to use data to their advantage, the phenomenal boost cloud economies have gained has anchored focus on well thought of data driven decisions. In a study conducted by research firm Gartner, average cost of poor quality of data can amount to losses worth $9.7 million and $14.2 million yearly, making it critical for companies to incorporate BI tools and data visualization software for success in the long run. With Statista predicting that the volume of data generated, consumed, stored, and copied is projected to exceed 180 zettabytes by 2025, the quality and authenticity of your data interactions becomes even more critical. With ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and Business Intelligence designed to meet a remote and cloud-driven business worldwide, that can be accessed anytime, anywhere, agile responsiveness has been made easy. This in turn has allowed greater strategy shifts and pivots to be undertaken regularly in an unpredictable world.

Origin and Evolution of Business Intelligence

Before BI turned into a go-to unit of data economy, traditional businesses started using BI in the 1960s as an acronym for sharing critical information across organizations. By the 1980s data was harnessed so that it became more insightful alongside robust computer models. Over the years, BI has grown to include a lot many processes and activities that have helped improve performance thanks to a wide range of power-packed information suppliers. Business Intelligence (BI) in the 21st century is instrumental in helping enterprises harness data for better performance, empower business users, speed up implementation of new processes by deep diving into insight, and collate data via trusted platforms. Some ways in which business intelligence is delivered is via data mining, reporting, performance metrics and benchmarking, descriptive analysis, querying, statistical analysis, data visualization, visual analysis, and data interpretation.

Through effectively using and channeling various methodologies used to collate historical and present data, analysts can efficiently look for market trends in order to increase revenue and sales. When implemented conscientiously it helps identify ways in which companies can increase profit, study customer behavior, make effective data comparison and evaluate competition, optimize operations, successfully predict outcome of various methodologies, track performance, and eventually, discover issues or problems.

Why Building Business Intelligence (BI) Is Highly Valuable

With business intelligence tools evolving to become more intuitive, pools of raw data get transformed into highly valuable information. This helps companies make informed decisions and act decisively to yield the most positive results. By using descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics, business intelligence uses current, historical and potential future data to set performance metrics against competitors. Diving deeper into what sets the three apart—Descriptive analytics helps you understand what has happened or maybe happening via dashboards, data warehousing and scorecards as well as business reporting. Predictive analytics uses data mining, machine learning, and predictive modelling to project future events and thereby assess the likelihood of something happening. Prescriptive analytics on the other hand tells you why you must be intentional in your actions in order to enable optimisation, decision modelling and simulation, ultimately providing the best possible analysis for actions and business decisions.

Further to the clear analytics advantage of adopting BI are other benefits of business intelligence companies often leverage:

  1. Visualisation at best: The simple user interface of dashboard representations of data allows the user the ability to easily visualise information via graphs. This greatly helps in insightful understanding of data.

  2. Wide network connection: With access to various data sources, you have a 360-degree view of your business that eliminates any chance of working in silos.

  3. Collaborate effectively: Make use of tools that enable data-informed improvements across various business functions like marketing, operations, sales, support, finance, customer care and HR, individually, and together.
  • Multi-user + Multi-platform: Business intelligence applications can work in mobile environments and online as well. One can use various tools to improve system performance so that enterprises can easily distribute information to specifically targeted users in a more agile environment. The multi-platform and multi-user modality can easily go through multi-terabyte data warehouses, providing excellent query performance.
  • Scaling up made easy: Scalability consideration is important for a growing business, therefore, with advanced reporting and analysis in place, via dashboards and reports easily made available to users, you can enjoy unrestricted access to information that is not just limited to data analysts or executives.
  • Competitive and agile: Access to global data helps speed reporting, planning, and analysis, with the system’s analytics capabilities making it possible to market conditions swiftly and intelligently.
  • Insights that can be leveraged: As business intelligence helps foster product and service differentiation, a lot of data is vetted to identify competitor performance.
  • Support decision making: Leveraging existing data helps companies gain a competitive edge at the right time, helping them make accurate decisions faster.

  • Customer satisfaction at best: Business intelligence helps improve customer satisfaction as you make necessary changes based on reports that help define customer behavior, along with making corrective changes after studying customer feedback thanks to real-time data.

  • Evaluate employee satisfaction index: BI also simplifies assessment of your team members’ strengths and weaknesses, enhancing their learning and performance curve by offering training modules. Further to this, BI also tracks employee improvement and contribution that encourages recognition of positive behavior.

  • Find saving opportunities and profitability insights:  As BI analyses an organizations raw data it is able to identify opportunities that help in cost-saving, like, excess inventory, marketing overages, human resource redundancies, waste in facilities management, and in some cases, too many vendors.
  • Enhances strategic approach via KPI targeting: In order to build smarter strategies, companies can remain intent on gaining competitive edge by actively looking for new opportunities. Big data helps identify how the market is moving and improves profit margins for the company via reports that track established KPIs and tracks how your enterprise is taking shape.

Ways In Which Major Industries and Companies Have Used BI To Their Advantage

  1.  Financial Services Firm: Charles Schwab used BI to understand how their branches across the US were performing, and in turn, identify area of opportunity that could be explored to improve performance metrics. With all data across various branches centralized into one view, branch managers were able to determine investments opportunities and leads wherever possible.

  2. Ecommerce: In the case of leading Korean ecommerce site,, with 1 million visitors daily, the company needed to identify the reason for abandoned shopping carts and have a better grip over what drove customer behavior on the site. On studying BI insights, it was found that long checkout process and unexpected delivery times needed to be fixed. After a year, when the changes were implemented, it was found that customer loyalty increased with $10 million in sales!

  3. Wholesale Distribution: Specialists in best-of-the-world toiletries and gift sets, Baylis & Harding were keen on giving executives and managers better visibility into customer and sales data, as well as finances, in order to make better decisions. This would not only help expand the business, but also generate more leads. BI tools created standard and ad hoc reports with customized dashboards and relevant KPIs that helped company executives focus, plus, share goals and performance details with their teams.

  4. Media and Publishing: In order to improve the overall user experience Twitter routinely deploys BI and AI to identify and suspend 95% of accounts related to terrorism-related accounts. After monitoring live video feeds and categorizing them data is enhanced to embolden search capabilities alongside helping algorithms identify videos that users might be interested in viewing.

  5. Food and Beverages: Chipotle Mexican Grill, with more than 2,400 restaurants across the world, implemented Business Intelligence in order to make sure operations was carried out effectively. This was done via detailed information across dashboards that standardized reporting and effectively working across data systems.

With NetSuite fueling growth through BI, the switch up to the leading cloud based software-as-a-service is non-negotiable in today’s data driven economy.

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