Who has not heard of Business Intelligence (BI) or Business Intelligence? Businesses are incorporating it as a solution to problems that arise with digital transformation within the organization. As it is necessary to be aware of the development of technology, we explain what Business Intelligence is.
What is Business Intelligence?
The Business Intelligence (BI), in Castilian Business Intelligence or Business Intelligence, is the set of processes required to offer a software solution that allows us to analyze how our company is working. This knowledge will make us optimize this operation by making pertinent decisions.
Within the BI world, there are multiple possible solutions. As each company has its casuistry, a completely valid solution for some companies may not be valid for others.
We can help the automotive sector to give an example. For a company, the perfect solution will be a city car, and For another, it will be a four × 4, a minivan, for another a truck, etc., there will even be one that will need a complete fleet of vehicles.
Within BI solutions, there are different options. By relying on rapidly developing technologies, these solutions cover new aspects and improve others. So those included first will give way to others that will emerge over time.
In any case, the most common solutions (all together or only some of them) are based on the creation of both predefined and customized reports, together with their automated distribution ( reporting or corporate reporting ).
Some solutions would be:
- The forecast results ( forecasting )
- Query tools for advanced users ( query ) including access to multidimensional cubes ( OLAP )
- Dashboards ( dashboards or scorecards )
- Special data warehouses ( data warehouse or data marts ).
BI solutions are in the process of transformation. Encompass from the systems used for measuring corporate data and related to those who also support analysis, forecasting, and data discovery capabilities (reports Data Discovery ). In this way, we can see that Business Intelligence relies heavily on Big Data with data analysis and data development.
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Business Intelligence solutions to improve processes
Let’s take an example to see how these technologies used; This example is that of a large company where all these functionalities are required, helping us understand where each of them fits in our companies. Imagine a business with different software programs in use: an ERP, a program specially developed to control its production systems, a CRM, etc.
Although it is not always necessary to cross data from one system with all the others, it is done to some extent. This implies that it must done externally. For example, in spreadsheets, advanced users collect data from different systems and cross it.
It is a very error-prone system, apart from being expensive (it always needs available personnel), and slow (this person has to prepare the type of information required in each case). BI solutions allow you to prepare it in advance: there are different solutions (for example, those based on metadata), but the best known are those of special data warehouses.
These allow us to have these data available, having previously treated them to correct and discard errors (errors as shocking as dates from other centuries, poorly written geographical areas, etc.) are common. In addition to storing them with the previous groupings required (temporary, geographic, by type of business, others), so than any report, scorecard, etc., that needs them, it will be much more efficient.
These special data stores have many more
interesting functionalities. However, for some specific cases, they may not be the perfect solution (this post is not intended to be a treatise in this regard): as always, it will depend on each case, and for this, there are specialists in these technologies.
Use of data depending on the department
Once we have these data prepared and crossed, there will be users who will only need the development of a part of them.
For example, predefined reports with a certain cadence will be useful for commercial visits every week. Others, such as sales managers, will require aggregate data on product sales by vendors and geographic areas and data for the accurate monitoring of budgets and sales forecasts.
Managers or those responsible for objectives will need dashboards to follow the company’s key indicators’ evolution. In the hospital sector, they will used to measure the use of beds or visits per patient. Others should be able to cross data to provide knowledge and discover patterns that modify or create new ways of working. The example of beers and diapers is famous: as having small children, you cannot go out so much, you tend to consume more at home, so they got close to each other.
The advantages of Business Intelligence solutions
But why BI solutions required? What do they contribute, and how do they help us? From the company, years ago, the focus was on having management programs that improved day by day. These programs are the so-called ERP ( Enterprise Resource Planning ).
It should be borne in mind that there are very diverse and more or fewer functionalities. They allow us to control aspects such as delivery notes, orders, invoices, customers, products, manufacturing, accounting, sales, to payroll.
There are also other programs, such as CRM ( Customer Relationship Management ) to control sales activities. With the use of all these computing solutions, a lot of data that used to be wasted stored but can used. ERPs or CRMs tend to have a series of predefined reports to provide us with information about part of them (sales reports, for example). The good news is that they offer more and more options than those contemplated in the BI world.
In any case, they not usually very complete, and they also assembled according to the data they include. If we use different computer programs in our company, they will only be valid for your data, so you cannot have a joint vision. Furthermore, the structure in which they reside is not optimal for their exploitation. That’s where Business Intelligence solutions come in to solve all these shortcomings and limitations.
Business Intelligence success stories
Toyota Motor Corporation
The Toyota Motor Company is not the first time that it has been at the forefront of innovation in the global business sector. We highlight it because the automaker incorporated information management software that allowed it to reduce production costs, obtaining more clients.
Another example of a motor company that uses BI is Bridgestone Firestone, who uses information management software to distribute its products and for the logistics of receiving and purchasing raw materials exported from different parts of the world.
Also, supermarket chains such as Wal-Mart or restaurants such as Wendy’s and Ruby Tuesday and Fridays use Business Intelligence for decision-making based on customers’ data, being able to maintain loyalty and maximize sales.
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