What is modern BI? Intuitive transformation data into business insights using only natural language
Business intelligence (BI) uses software and services to turn data into actionable insights that inform the strategical business decisions of an organization. BI tools access and analyze data sets and present analytical results in papers, summaries, dashboards, graphs, charts and maps to give users a detailed understanding of the state of the market.
The term business intelligence often refers to a range of tools that provide fast, easy-to-digest access to insights into the current state of an enterprise, based on the data available.
Reporting is a central aspect of business intelligence and perhaps the dashboard is the archetypal BI tool. Dashboards are hosting software applications that automatically pull together available data into charts and graphs which give a sense of the company's immediate state.
Although business intelligence does not tell business users what to do or what to do if they take a particular course, neither is BI solely about report generation. Instead, BI provides a way for individuals to examine data to understand trends and derive insights by streamlining the effort required to search, merge and query the data needed to make sound business decisions.
For example, a company that wants to manage its supply chain better needs BI capabilities to determine where delays occur and where there are variabilities within the shipping process. That firm could also use its BI capabilities to find out which products are most frequently delayed or which modes of transportation are most often involved in delays.
Concrete examples of how companies could use business intelligence tools:
- BI tools may produce sales and distribution reports automatically from the CRM data.
- A co-op company could use BI to monitor the purchase and retention of memberships.
- A sales team might use BI to build a dashboard that shows where the opportunities for each rep are on the sales pipeline.
- Pricing analytics, which has a direct impact on the company EBITDA
Business intelligence is informative and shows you what is going on now and what has happened in the past to get us to that point. Data science, on the other hand, is a common term for predictive data analysis techniques — that is, they can tell you what's going to happen in the future — and prescriptive — that is, they can tell you what you should do to deliver better results.
BI aims at giving business executives concise snapshots of the current state of affairs. While data scientists forecast and guidance require data science experts to analyze and interpret.
One of modern BI software aims is to make it easy for relatively non-technical end-users to understand and even dive into the data and find new insights by themselves.
IT specialists were the prime users of BI systems in the past. But BI applications have grown to be more accessible and user-friendly, enabling a vast number of users to use the software across a range of organizational domains.
Gartner distinguishes two forms of BI. The first is typical or classic BI, where in-house transactional data is used by IT professionals to produce reports. The second is modern BI, where business users communicate more easily with agile, intuitive NLP to SQL systems to analyze data.
Gartner states that for certain forms of reporting, such as regulatory or financial reports, companies typically opt for classic BI where accuracy is key and the questions and data sets used are common and predictable. Organizations usually use modern BI tools when business users need insight into rapidly changing environments, such as marketing events, where it is valued to be quick over getting the data right 100 percent.
But while solid business intelligence is essential for strategic business decisions, many organizations are struggling to implement effective BI strategies, thanks to poor data practices, tactical errors, and more.
Self-service business intelligence
The push to enable just about anyone to get useful information from business intelligence tools has given rise to business intelligence self-service, a category of BI tools aimed at abstracting the need for IT involvement in report generation. Self-service BI tools allow organizations to make internal data reports of the company more readily available for managers and other non-technical personnel.
Chatbots and intuitive natural language interfaces that allow users to find and turn data in easy-to-understand ways are among the keys to self-service BI success. Once company employees getting intuitive access into data, they start using data insights for their business decisions, so decisions becomes to be more data-driven.