“Business Intelligence” as a term always has some interesting visuals in people’s minds. If you instantly flashed to James Bond or Maxwell Smart…you’re our kind of people. *high five*
Business Intelligence is looking at your viable data and deciphering “what is happening right now?”. Knowing what is happening helps you repeat success and avoid failure in the future
A great analogy for Business Intelligence (BI for the cool kids) is the car. Your business is your car, its constantly generating data. The miles per gallon calculation, the miles to your next oil change, tire pressure and so on. The BI part of your car is the dashboard. You get real time feedback from the car on things like RPM and your speed. You also get neat little lights when you’ve broken something. Tire gets low? There’s a light. Oil needs a change? There’s a light. Engine detonated at 7000 RPM? There’s a lot of smoke, maybe some fire, and then a light.
Ok, so you understand what BI is on a broad spectrum. That should be easy to spot with your reporting right? …not so fast. Somethings are easy to spot in data and others are buried deep in the bowels of your data set.
For example: If you’re a toy company selling teddy bears you would understand why you see spikes in your data around Valentines Day and Christmas. People buy more teddy bears around that time of year. Mystery solved. Business Intelligence takes that a step further and shows you the real time data. Its being broken down and put into a format you can make decisions with. Because you can see your business running to plan there are no “lights” on your dash. If something is out of the ordinary then your BI solution would let you know instantly you need to fix something.
So now you know you’ve got a correlation in your data that wasn’t what you thought. Thank you BI for proving I don’t understand my business right? Wrong. Using BI you can now formulate marketing efforts to lengthen that time frame for purchase, hold off on pricing reductions until after your busy time to keep your margin’s high, increase your inventory a week earlier to prevent early outages, and more
You can now see deeper into your business than ever before because you know what just happened. The more accurate the data you input into your reporting now, the more impressive the results will be as you get further down the line in Data Hierarchy
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