Business Intelligence (BI) explained
Business Intelligence (BI) is a critical aspect of modern-day decision making in organisations. It refers to the use of data, technologies, and analytical methods to transform raw data into actionable insights that support effective decision making. BI helps organisations to leverage their data assets to gain a competitive advantage, improve operational efficiency, and make better decisions. Whether it's identifying trends in sales data, forecasting future demand, or optimising supply chains, business intelligence provides valuable insights that drive business success.
Targeting different stages of data analysis
BI tools and techniques are used to gather, store, analyse, and present data in meaningful ways to support decision making. Some common BI tools and techniques include: data warehousing, data mining, dashboards and visualisations, predictive analytics, OnlineAnalytical Processing (OLAP), report generation, and scorecards and KeyPerformance Indicators (KPIs). These tools allow organisations to turn data into actionable insights that support effective decision making and drive business success.
Power of BI – appliances addressing particular needs
These techniques are also used in other data-focused disciplines, such as big data analytics, data science, and data engineering. The objective of all these fields is to make optimal use of data in support of decision making. Some of the most recognisable aspects of BI include the creation of dashboards and visualisations, report generation, and the construction of KPIs. However, BI professionals also provide low-code solutions for corporate applications, automate common data transformations, and assist other stakeholders in selecting and organising data to meet their specific needs.
Starting with the basics – Microsoft Excel for BI
A commonly utilised tool for basic BI tasks is Microsoft Excel, a program that is well-known and widely used. While Excel is often used for BI purposes due to its widespread availability and user-friendly interface, it has limitations when it comes to handling large amounts of data, collaboration, and data visualisation. For more complex and sophisticated BI requirements, organisations may need to use specialised BI tools that provide additional functionality and capabilities. Some of the most popular BI tools - Power BI and Tableau - are widely regarded as more sophisticated BI solutions compared to Excel, with advanced features and capabilities. These tools offer improved data visualisation and reporting, easy integration with a variety of data sources, and advanced analytics capabilities, making them ideal for organisations with complex data analysis requirements.
Creating visualisations with Tableau
For example, Tableau highlights their Sales Territory Assignments dashboard, which is designed to help sales teams optimise their performance. By taking a proactive approach to territory design, it's possible to improve sales by up to seven percent, without adding additional resources. In order to effectively balance workloads and identify untapped opportunities, it's essential to have access to data that provides insight into key sales metrics and KPIs for each territory. (Source: Follow link - point 4)
Developing professional applications
Power Automate is one of the Microsoft's multiple offerings for Business Intelligence. It functions as a tool for automating common data transformations and tasks, such as data extraction, cleansing, and transfer, thereby enabling BI teams to save time and minimise errors. By automating these, Power Automate can help BI teams save time and reduce the risk of errors, allowing them to focus on more strategic tasks. Power Automate is a valuable tool in the healthcare industry, which faces many challenges due to excessive paperwork. It is widely used for automating time-consuming and repetitive processes in healthcare, such as transferring test results into the Electronic Health Record (EHR) system and processing COVID-19 testing kits. Additionally, healthcare organisations can automate the process of setting policies and granting user authorisation with PowerAutomate, freeing up valuable time and reducing the risk of errors.
Reporting with Power BI
Another example of BI are paginated reports in Power BI can handle large amounts of data and present it in a structured, tabular format. They offer improved performance and capabilities over traditional Power BI reports, such as fixed header and footer, tables and matrices, and a limited set of interactive capabilities. They are often used in scenarios where a detailed, formatted report is needed, such as in invoices, purchase orders, or financial statements. The data displayed in a paginated report is typically well organised and easily readable, making it ideal for scenarios where you need to present data in a clear and concise manner.
Data-driven decision making with BI tools and techniques
In conclusion, Business Intelligence is a critical aspect of modern data-driven organisations. By leveraging a combination of techniques, tools and best practices, businesses can transform their data into actionable insights, make informed decisions, and drive growth. With the increasing need for data-driven decision making, BI has become an essential part of organisations. With a variety of options available, such as Power BI, Tableau, Excel, Power Automate and more, organisations can find a solution that fits their needs, goals and budget. Whether you are a small business or a large corporation, investing in a BI strategy and tool swill help you unlock the full potential of your data, improve efficiency, and achieve your desired outcomes.