Business intelligence can be applied to the following business purposes, in order to drive business value.
Measurement – program that creates a hierarchy of performance metrics (see also Metrics Reference Model) and benchmarking that informs business leaders about progress towards business goals (business process management).
Analytics – program that builds quantitative processes for a business to arrive at optimal decisions and to perform business knowledge discovery. Frequently involves: data mining, process mining, statistical analysis, predictive analytics, predictive modeling, business process modeling, complex event processing and prescriptive analytics.
Reporting/enterprise reporting – program that builds infrastructure for strategic reporting to serve the strategic management of a business, not operational reporting. Frequently involves data visualization, executive information system and OLAP.
Collaboration/collaboration platform – program that gets different areas (both inside and outside the business) to work together through data sharing and electronic data interchange.
Knowledge management – program to make the company data driven through strategies and practices to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences that are true business knowledge. Knowledge management leads to learning management and regulatory compliance.
In addition to above, business intelligence also can provide a pro-active approach, such as ALARM function to alert immediately to end-user. There are many types of alerts, for example if some business value exceeds the threshold value the color of that amount in the report will turn RED and the business analyst is alerted. Sometimes an alert mail will be sent to the user as well. This end to end process requires data governance, which should be handled by the expert.
Specific issues or scenarios indicate a BI need:
- The need to integrate data from multiple business applications or data sources
- Lack of visibility into the company’s operations, finances, and other areas
- The need to access relevant business data quickly and efficiently
- Increasing volume of users requiring and accessing information and more end-users requiring analytical capabilities
- Rapid company growth or a recent or pending merger/acquisition
- Introduction of new products
- Upgrades within the IT environment
There are several benefits a BI solution offers to an organization regardless of size:
- Share information efficiently and effectively with people across your organization. BI makes it easy for everyone- from decision-makers to functional teams- to access and analyze up-to-date information anytime, anywhere. Everyone throughout the company can make better decisions, faster.
- Empower your people. Providing employees with access to analytical data that is readily available and understandable allows them to work more effectively and support the overall business strategy.
- Simplify collaboration and sharing and improve alignment with a single source for accurate financial and operational information. Having a single, central location allows you to monitor your key performance indicators (KPIs), access reports, analyze your data, and share documents. All of the functional areas are aligned to articulate strategies, set objectives, and monitor the organization’s performance so you can make better informed and timely decisions that support your overall business strategy.
- Gain insights to understand and analyze your business performance and opportunities on a deeper level. Analyze and evaluate information that is more accessible and easy to interact with to make strategic and tactical decisions.
- Deliver meaningful analysis and reporting. Readily track and analyze KPIs against key business goals to gain a better understanding of how your business is performing today and not when it’s too late to impact performance.
- Have a solution with the scalability and flexibility to grow and change as your organization does. Many companies rely solely on the most widely used BI tool, the Excel spreadsheet. While Excel offers many useful features such as graphs, charts, and pivot tables which assist in decision-making, it doesn’t scale to your business. Also, compiling data from multiple, disparate databases is time-consuming and is prone to errors. However, Excel is still a key component of a total BI solution.
- Get key business metrics reports when and where you need them: Today, many business intelligence software vendors are making it possible for users to access key business metrics, reports and dashboards on mobiles devices like their iPhone, iPad, Droid or BlackBerry, giving sales and marketing people access to critical business information on the fly.
Get insight into customer behavior: One of the great benefits of business intelligence software is it allows companies to gain visibility into what customers are buying (or not), giving them "the ability to turn this knowledge into additional profit" and retain valuable customers,.
Identify cross-selling and up-selling opportunities: Business intelligence software allows firms to leverage customer data to build, refine and modify predictive models [that help] sales representatives to up-sell and cross-sell products at appropriate customer touch points.