TMCnet Feature
November 17, 2020

What Can Business Intelligence Do For Big Data?

Big data is a hot topic these days, but it does very little for businesses on its own. To truly make use of any data your company is storing, you must first understand business intelligence and its many use cases. Here's a closer look at what BI is, why it's important, and the advantages it offers to companies in the context of big data.

What Is Business Intelligence (BI)?

While big data might represent a large volume of information, it means nothing to a company without business intelligence (BI) practices. That's because BI represents the actual software and processes like ETL tools that a company can utilize to turn data into insights that they can use to inform their strategies and decisions. 

BI tools take vast amounts of data, analyze and organize them, and ultimately make the information contained within such databases accessible to a whole organization. Through reports, graphs, dashboards, and summaries, BI helps enable users to gain detailed knowledge about their customers, marketing activities, and other crucial elements of their business. 

Why BI is Important for Big Data

There is no denying the importance of data in today's economy. However, the challenge that businesses face is not in collecting data, but in deciphering it. The fact is, we are obtaining so much data today that about 90% of all data out there was collected just in the past few years. In other words, the amount of data being collected and stored now is exponentially greater than just a handful of years ago.

That leaves companies at risk of information overload, with databases packed with numbers yet no information or insights to really glean from them. With that said, it's a given that implementing new technology can certainly be a daunting process. When it comes to BI software and tools, however, the payoff is generally always worth it, even if the benefits take some time to come to fruition. 

The Advantages of BI for Big Data

When properly implemented and utilized, BI can mean countless advantages for companies that handle big data. Here's a summary of the most impactful.

  • Accurate Reports: Generate reports quickly using templates or a completely custom structure, enabling your company to monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) across sources, be it sales, operational, or financial data. Reports are generated using up-to-the-minute information, ensuring accuracy and quick action. 
  • Valuable Insights: Keep track of productivity and success across the board while continuously monitoring key markers like revenue. BI even allows your organization to narrow data down into individual departments, helping you pinpoint performance issues and seek on-going improvement.
  • Competitor Analysis: Powerful BI software makes in-depth budgeting and forecasting easy, giving you a sharp edge over the competition. You can even use it to track the performance of your competitors' marketing activities, helping you further distinguish your company's own offerings.
  • Quality Data: Inaccurate data can cause major discrepancies in your business' insights, and it's a very common problem when you combine multiple "databases" as your sources. Fortunately, BI software allows you to utilize multiple data sources, aggregating results to give you a complete picture of your company's performance.
  • Better Service: Happy customers are crucial to success, and with BI software, you'll be equipped to better understand how your customers behave and the reasons behind the patterns. With real-time feedback, you're always armed with the information you need to keep your customers on board and acquire new ones.
  • Identify Trends: Staying ahead of new opportunities is essential for setting your business apart, and a BI strategy can help you do just that by making use of external market data and using it in conjunction with internal data, enabling you to detect potential sales trends, business problems, and changing market conditions. 
  • Increase Efficiency: Improving operational efficiency should be an ongoing goal for any business, but always striving for that moving target is extremely difficult without the insights BI can provide. With BI, you will be able to bring multiple sources of data into one place, improving your overall organizational productivity and helping employees analyze the impact of every decision they make.

Ultimately, any company can benefit from the combination of powerful big data and BI tools. The key is learning how to put your data to work for you through the use of business intelligence so that you can use insights to make informed, strategic decisions.

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