If you take a quick look at Wikipedia and search for business intelligence, you’ll find that they describe it as:
‘Business intelligence (BI) is the ability of an organisation to collect, maintain, and organise knowledge. This produces large amounts of information that can help develop new opportunities. Identifying these opportunities, and implementing an effective strategy, can provide a competitive market advantage and long-term stability’.
Personally, I rather like the definition that dictionary.com has for business intelligence: ‘the methods and technologies that gather, store, report, and analyse business data to help people make business decisions.’
The key element to all these definitions, and what I believe is the fundamental benefit of business intelligence?:
Helping organisations to make better business decisions.
At Granger Smith, we use a blend of different business intelligence software solutions and tools to enable organisations, regardless of their size, to identify and exploit opportunities for growth, while at the same time minimising risks and threats to their business. Common business functions analysed within the business intelligence umbrella, includes, but not limited to:
- Analysis of sales trends
- Tracking customer buying habits
- Managing finances
- Evaluating sales and marketing campaigns and determining ROI
- Predicting market demand
- Assessing staffing needs and performance
Over the years the tools and software solutions we have used have become more and more sophisticated. While traditional features for queries, reporting and analysis have long been the core focus of BI tools they have evolved to enable comprehensive, enterprise-wide intelligence, while solutions such as QlikView have enabled users to have ‘self-service’ business intelligence at their fingertips.
During the typical project, we aim to provide the intelligence to answer the following questions:
- What are the organisations internal and external strengths and weaknesses?
- What is the relationship between different sets of data?
- What are the opportunities for innovation and growth?
- Where can costs be reduced?
- What is the optimal deployment of resources?
And finally… how can this be used for better decision-making?