Business Intelligence (BI) systems and solutions started to take hold in the late 1990s and have only grown in popularity since then. Since then only more and more businesses have been recognising the benefits to of investing in such systems as part of their wider growth strategy. BI systems of today have evolved into crucial business tools, transforming organisations into data-driven businesses. They convert the massive amounts of data we’re all dealing with on a daily basis into meaningful information, providing valuable business insights to vastly improve decision-making.
BI is a tool which amalgamates data from across the business, applying advanced analytics to pinpoint any trends and themes in this data. These are then presented back to the business in an accessible, easy-to-understand format. This combination of data gathering, analysis and reporting uncovers in-depth business insight, furnishing the business with the right, accurate information to inform strategic direction. This insight forms the basis of robust, timely decision-making, with decisions based on an accurate picture of your whole business.
Providing historical, current and predictive views of all business operations, the best BI tools give unprecedented oversight and insight into the business. With information provided in a highly visual format, you don’t have to be a data analyst to make sense of the information. Users also have the added ability to drill back down into the data, increasing the depth of understanding further still. Using ‘what-if’ analysis, BI is able to increase forecasting accuracy for enhanced strategic planning. This stands the business in good stead to fully exploit any growth opportunities that arise.
The availability of flexible self-service BI reporting has helped businesses to streamline their operations, giving users access to the right information at the right time and simplifying the operational reporting process. It’s not just for board-level decisions either, with the best BI tools enabling different departments or business functions to access the data that’s relevant to their roles. They can then use this insight to present a high-level overview of their particular business function to senior colleagues in an accessible format. There’s no longer any need to wait for IT to produce large, detailed reports. Users are able to use BI tools to customise the information they receive to suit their specific business requirements.
BI systems were once seen as suitable only for larger organisations, something that is definitely no longer the case. The flexible, scalable nature of modern BI tools means they’re suitable for businesses of all sizes and scopes. BI in the cloud is proving to be a cost-effective and robust method of achieving the necessary levels of analysis. In spite of its slight difference in functionality of its more complex on-premise relatives, cloud BI delivers real results and fast. The best BI solutions will grow alongside your business, adding depth of functionality where needed, supporting any business expansion with in-depth data analysis at every step of the growth journey. This is where BI in the cloud comes into it's own, with excellent cloud-based scalability.
Used to support both operational and strategic decisions, the most advanced BI tools draw data from inside and outside the business. They combine internal and external information to provide a holistic view of not only the business but its place in the wider market. What this creates is a level of intelligence that can’t be derived from any single data source. It provides businesses with the insights necessary to support timely, effective decision-making.
Extending beyond the usual business metrics of increased sales and reduced costs, the insight delivered by modern BI tools places businesses one step ahead of their less tech-savvy competitors. With the right BI software in place, businesses can benefit from instant insight into changing business and market dynamics, responding quickly and effectively with increased business agility.
In this data-heavy era, BI tools are more important than ever. They give businesses the depth of insight needed for creating agile organisations able to respond quickly and proactively to ever-changing market dynamics. Those businesses with the right BI tools will maximise their performance, securing that all-important competitive advantage in an increasingly data-driven world.
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