What is Business Intelligence and Why is it important?
Business Intelligence, literally translates to being intelligent about your business.
The process of leveraging data produced by an organisation’s activity to get actionable insights that can help in making data-driven business decisions. It is an end result of the process of collecting, storing, analysing, and visualising the data.
What are BI tools?
Cindi Howson, former VP at Gartner, differentiates two types of BI, Traditional BI, where IT professionals use in-house transactional data to generate static reports, and Modern BI, where business users interact with agile, intuitive BI platforms to analyse data more quickly.
The Modern BI tools have made it possible in making internal reports more readily available to managers and other business users, which has given rise to Self-Service Business Intelligence.
One of the free BI tools is Google Data Studio, which easy to use and takes as input quite a lot data sources. To get a taste of modern BI, plug your data and play with this tool and create automated reports. Here's a quick guide we put together for you -
As you marvel at the effectiveness of modern BI tools, keep in mind the pitfalls to self-service BI as well -
While these insights and self-service BI tools might be useful for initial or exploratory visualisation purposes, they are often so broad that they can soon turn from a smart plug-and-play tool to a smart I-spend-my-whole-day-understanding-this tool.
By converting your business users into ad hoc business analysts, you can end up with a chaotic mix of KPIs and metrics that vary across departments, disregard to nitty-gritty of data storytelling, run into data security problems, assumptions and such.
So even if you are thinking about committing to self-service BI within your organisation, you can’t just buy an off-the-shelf product, point your staff to the UI, and hope for the best.