Business Intelligence

What is business intelligence?

Business intelligence describes the processes and tools used to query data to gain insights, which can in turn be used to optimise performance, profitability and stakeholder value. In essence, business intelligence systems enable a business to use data analysis and visualisations that lead to measurable outcomes and take action on insights gained from that data.

These days, many organisations rely on specialised business intelligence software to provide insights. While in the past, data analysts and IT specialists provided these insights through reports generated from in-house data, newer tools offer greater ease of use and can be accessed by more people in an organisation, allowing for the integration of business intelligence insights at all levels. The analytics platform software market was valued at $25.5 billion in 2020, with business intelligence platforms making up one of the fastest-growing segments in the market.

Why is business intelligence important in the workplace?

With the mountains of data that businesses can collect these days, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. Business Intelligence helps modern businesses be agile, react quickly to changes in the market and optimise their products and customer experience. Without insights into their data, organisations are flying blind when making decisions, which could lead to negative outcomes, wasted money, and lost opportunities.

Every part of an organisation can profit from a business intelligence system, from product development, supply chain management and manufacturing to marketing, sales and customer service. Even for organisations that do not sell or manufacture products, insights can improve decision making, allow them to understand their target audiences and drive more efficient marketing strategies. Insights gained through business intelligence can also highlight inefficiencies within an organisation and allow managers and CEOs to optimise workflows.

Real-time insights into their data can give businesses the competitive edge they need to get ahead, which is why it’s unsurprising that a 2020 Gartner survey of Chief Information Officers (CIO) found that 58% of them plan on increasing their investment in business intelligence. For individuals with an understanding of the uses, applications and technologies of business intelligence, this means that their skills are in high demand.