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  • Writer's pictureNisha Sashidharan, Head of Marketing

What is Business Intelligence? And the Importance it Holds!

In the early days, business intelligence (BI) was confined to spreadsheets overflowing with numbers. Today, technology allows for insightful visualization and immediate action. Now it offers organizations innovative and fresh ways to improve productivity, increase profits, and understand customers. 

Modern BI tools open a world of opportunities for organizations, empowering them to unearth new insights, efficiencies, and innovations and become more proactive in carrying out day-to-day business operations. As technology advances in the blink of an eye, the future of BI looks extremely promising; however, to realize its importance, it is essential to know about this technology in detail. 

At Extentia, we bring you a new blog series that covers various aspects of BI and lets you dig deeper into your understanding of the technology. 

What is Business Intelligence?

In the digital age, businesses are growing at an unprecedented pace. To stay ahead of the curve, companies must make well-informed decisions. This is where the role of business intelligence (BI) becomes crucial. BI refers to the tools, technologies, systems, strategies, and applications used to collect, categorize, analyze, and present information in a meaningful and actionable manner. Business intelligence aims to help organizations make better decisions from mountains of data.

Business Intelligence - Facts and Figures

Here are some statistics to help understand the importance of BI in an increasingly data-driven world:

  • The global business intelligence market was worth $24.05 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to $33.3 billion by 2025. (Source: MarketsandMarkets, 2020)

  • The global business intelligence software market is projected to be worth $17.6 billion by 2024. (Source: Apps Run the World, 2020)

  • Due to Covid-19, many organizations adopted BI in 2020 as they adopted online working, selling, and marketing. (Source: Analytics Insight)

  • Data analytics makes decision-making 5x faster for businesses. (Source: Better Buys)

  • 54% of enterprises stated that cloud business intelligence tools are critical/very important to their current and future initiatives. (Source: Dresner)

  • Over 30% of large organizations will have analysts practicing decision intelligence by 2023. (Source: Gartner)

  • 49% of manufacturers use business intelligence plans to increase their budgets YOY. (Source: Forbes)

Why is Business Intelligence Important?

Irrespective of the industry, every business deals with data that can be leveraged to gain an advantage and stay ahead of the competition. Unless the pile of data is understandable or interpretable, it is of no use to the business. BI helps organizations access data or information critical for the success of all departments, such as Finance, Sales, Marketing, Human Resources and even leadership.

Implementation of BI helps in myriad ways. Here are some reasons:

  • Gain Consumer Insights: BI helps understand customers' buying patterns like how, when, what, and how often they buy. This, in turn, helps in creating better products and product experiences.

  • Improved efficiency across the organization: When teams can access relevant and meaningful data, it improves overall productivity. Also, it helps the management to stay informed and make well-informed decisions. It impacts on the overall revenue as well.

  • Better marketing initiatives: When the marketing team is presented with data and insights from current and past campaigns, it enables them to craft a campaign that provides a great return on investment (ROI). BI also helps in providing information on other critical marketing KPIs like cost per click/lead, customer acquisition cost, etc., which are crucial metrics for creating a successful marketing campaign.

  • Gain a competitive advantage: BI enables organizations to gain insights into the competition in planning which further helps them shape their strategic plans. It also helps create better sales and marketing plans, giving the organization a competitive edge.

  • Improved operations: Businesses can grow only when the leadership has good visibility of what is happening in the organization. Having intel on the processes and everyday operations helps the administration control the functions. Organizations leveraging BI often need to be more reactive and ahead of the curve.

  • Sales and Marketing Insight: A wealth of data arises from customer interactions. BI helps the sales and marketing teams in all stages of the funnel. Proper BI implementation can enable teams to identify new customers, serving and retaining existing ones to provide after-sales services. All this data can be used and interpreted for making strategic decisions.

  • Real-time data mining: The leadership depends on the reports generated by various teams to stay on top of the functioning of the business. Implementing BI makes it possible to be abreast of the organization's health. In this case, BI helps provide real-time, actionable data to the management, which allows them to stay on the course of the organization's overall strategic vision. It also cuts down on possible human errors. Every time the leadership needs to decide, they can quickly create an error-free, data-backed decision!

Difference Between Traditional and Modern BI

Over the past decades, businesses have relied upon business intelligence to make strategic decisions. Today, companies are experiencing shifts in a rapidly changing, dynamic, data-driven world. The rapidly evolving way data is collected, analyzed, and disseminated thanks to the rapidly changing landscape.

Here are the significant differences:

  • Ease of use: Modern BI allows everyone in the organization to access data and empowers all the teams to amend the data. Traditionally, only the data team had access to the data and was saddled with tasks to keep updating and sending data to everyone.

  • AI Capabilities: Traditionally, data intelligence was a manual process governed by a few data professionals. Today, BI is not only automated but also uses AI and ML to help crunch and break down copious amounts of data. Real-time data mining has become possible because of the implementation of AI.

  • Automated Reported: Modern BI provides past insights and actionable and predictive reporting. Traditional BI had limited capabilities regarding on-demand reporting, while today, we have diverse on-demand reporting possibilities.

  • Data Structuring: Traditionally, data had to be structured before utilization, whereas modern BI interprets copious amounts of data from multiple sources and breaks it down in real-time.  

In a nutshell, Business Intelligence helps combine data from multiple sources, analyze the information in a meaningful format, and disseminate it to relevant stakeholders throughout the organizations. Organizations with business intelligence can navigate the complexities of an increasingly data-driven world and be prepared for challenges as they are equipped with real-time data.

Stay tuned for the next blog in this BI series! 


Read other Extentia Blog posts here!

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