Business Intelligence in Organizations

Business Intelligence is an all-encompassing term that is used to refer to a broad range of software applications that are employed to analyse and process an organization’s raw facts and figures. It comprises of several components like data warehouse, data management, BI Reporting and dashboard, online analytical processing, querying, modelling and reporting.

BI is utilized by companies for decision-making, budgeting and assessment of new business opportunities. BI is not merely a tool for analysing corporate data. It is used by managers for identifying inefficient business processes as well that need re-assessment and re-hauling.

Quite a few BI tools that are available in the market today are quite user-friendly and simple so that even a basic user can employ them successfully without knowing any technical know-how. There is no dependency on IT for running any complex reports. This helps the business users in getting access to information based on hard numbers facts instead of gut and instinct. Some of the popular ones would be Oracle BI, MSBI, Qlikview and IBM.

Although BI can significantly bring about a change in the way a business analyses its data and makes decisions, an ill-suited implementation can waste the efforts of an organization. It is essential for an organization to make accurate assessment of the Business Intelligence eco-system that would suit its needs. It needs to take care of factors like who all will it be made available to, what all functions like HR, marketing, operations etc. require BI, the numbers and figures that are to be analysed and what are the kinds of reports that should be generated, the amount of money it is willing to spend on its BI infrastructure.

A good way of going about it would be to start with the top management who are the primary decision makers. But it should also involve the next level of executives as they are involved in the everyday operations and this information can come handy to them.

The next step could be to analyse the way decisions are made in the organization and to make note of the information that the executives need to facilitate rapid decision-making. Another aspect of assessing the information is how they would like the data to be presented as in graphs, pie diagrams, excel, charts etc. Good BI systems not only process the information but also give the reasoning behind it.

A lot of technological projects fail quite often if the user is not comfortable with the technology and is not able to interpret it. The organization should make sure that the users are not sceptical or scared of the technology. As BI plays a crucial role in deciding the path that an organization takes and affects judgements, it is imperative to make a balanced choice while going for the Business Intelligence eco-system.