business intelligence - What is BI - What's Business Intelligence

What Is Business Intelligence & Why We Need It

Business Intelligence (BI) is artificial intelligence that can deliver relevant information to understand your business and your customer better. BI uses programs to collect data and then turn it into structured data to be presented to improve the quality and speed of your business. 

BI is the umbrella for many different types of functions, like predictive modeling, analytics, and data mining. With BI, you can make informed data-driven decisions and actions. There’s now no need for antiquated working methods like relying on a single Excel spreadsheet. Instead, advanced technology requires us to advance our business strategies.

How Does BI Help Us?

BI is the most comprehensive and quickest way to make informed decisions. It utilizes different programs to procure answers about how your business is doing and the patterns your customers have in purchasing. 

BI can bring everything together from each separate silo (like social media, Cloud services, on premise databases, and Excel) by using different programs, such as:

Data mining — uses statistics, databases, and machine learning in order to predict trends within vast amounts of datasets

Reporting — creates an analysis in a way that is easy for the average person to understand

Performance metrics and benchmarking — measures current performance against older data to keep track of performances and track goals

Descriptive analytics — using previous data to find out what is currently happening

Querying — asks questions from the data and provides data-driven results

Statistical analysis — takes results from descriptive analytics and exploring data with statistics to find trends and determine why they are happening

Visual analysis — uses visuals like a dashboard of charts and graphs to create a clear image of results

Data preparation — puts together data sources, knowing dimensions, measures, and preparing it all for the data analysis

Why Do We Need Business Intelligence?

Modern day technology allows companies to collect more data than ever. All this data is useless unless you have a way to compile it and understand it. The rate at which business is happening and customers are buying is also happening at incredible speeds, and we need to be able to keep up. 

Using BI can streamline big business decisions and do so very quickly, strictly relying on what the data is. In addition, past data collected can predict trends in the future. The possibilities are endless, including finding different ways to further profit, looking at customers’ behavior, and comparing your data with other competing companies. It is also possible to look at performance and track goals, predict future successes, quickly find trends in the market, and find issues before they become real issues. BI can create data visualizations in a way that is clear to everyone. 

When Is It Best To Use BI?

Any type of business can significantly benefit from BI, including small start-ups that are just finding their footing. Utilizing BI is incredibly beneficial by leveling up established companies, and smaller businesses can make more informed decisions right off the bat without wasting any precious time or money. 

Learn BI Skills Today

It is never too early to get ahead of the game and predict what will come next. The best time to use BI would have been from the beginning; the second-best time is now. 

Explore Udacity’s Data Analysis and Visualization with Microsoft Power BI Nanodegree program. Meet the growing demand for data analysis and visualization professionals by gaining the Power BI skills that top companies want.

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Jennifer Shalamanov
Jennifer Shalamanov
Jennifer is a content writer at Udacity with over 10 years of content creation and marketing communications experience in the tech, e-commerce and online learning spaces. When she’s not working to inform, engage and inspire readers, she’s probably drinking too many lattes and scouring fashion blogs.