What Is Business Intelligence and What Can It Do for You?

What Is Business Intelligence and What Can It Do for You

Business intelligence specialists help a company gather, store and make the most of data regarding that company’s customers, products, profitability, distribution and more. Good business intelligence specialists can use business intelligence data to produce valuable insights that help businesses grow their profit margins, streamline production and distribution and enhance customer satisfaction.

What Is Business Intelligence and What Can It Do for You

Business intelligence does more than let companies know where they can improve. It can also be used to justify staying the course or to confirm management’s opinions of specific operations. While business intelligence has traditionally been the domain of large companies with a multitude of data to interpret, it can be of immense value to smaller corporations too. As time passes, more and more businesses are learning the value of business intelligence specialists. If you aspire to a career in business or business intelligence, a Master’s in Business Intelligence can give you the tools you need to succeed — click here to learn about earning your degree online.

Business Intelligence Lets You Know When Things Are Going Well

Perhaps one of the most valuable functions of a good business intelligence specialist is to let you know when everything’s going well for your business. In fact, most BI is used not to look for shortcomings or plan improvements, but to verify that business operations are doing just fine.

Business intelligence specialists frequently use their tools and training to verify what might seem evident about the business or its operations. A business specialist and his or her management may have already intuited what’s happening in a specific realm of the business, but it’s important to have the data to back up those suspicions. If you need to know exactly how a single part of your business functions, business intelligence is useful for that as well. Much of what management seeks from business intelligence concerns understanding some of the smaller, more intimate workings of the business.

Business Intelligence Shows You Where You Can Make Improvements

Of course, as a business intelligence specialist, figuring out where to streamline operations and cut costs will be an important part of your job. Because business intelligence lets you isolate small pieces of data from the whole as well as pick out overarching trends, and compare measures side-by-side, you’ll be able to clearly see what’s cheapest and most expensive, least and most efficient, fastest and slowest, latest and earliest, etc.

Business Intelligence Lets You Make Predictions

While no one can see the future, business intelligence is a formidable tool for helping you predict where a business is headed. Through business intelligence you can compare the same types of information from different periods of time — make data comparisons on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or even annual basis, pick out trends and identify which factors are really affecting the business.

Not only does this information give you insight into where the company is, but it also lets you know what path the company is currently on. You can use it to make educated predictions to let the company know what the best course of action is for their desired future outcome. The data supplied by business intelligence work lets you draw parallels between where the company really is and where it should be in terms of goals, quotas, budgets and constraints.

As a business intelligence specialist you can also use these data to make “what if” predictions and forecasts that will show the company what the potential results of various courses of action — or inaction — could be. You’ll often use the data supplied by your intelligence work to support a specific course of action or inaction that, in your opinion, would best benefit the business.

All in all, business intelligence specialists work to interpret all the kinds of data regarding a company’s sales figures, costs, distribution, production and marketing and present that information in a way that’s easy to understand and put to good use. Business intelligence specialists provide the data necessary to support the decisions management makes. They make it possible to improve business operations, predict the future of the business and make decisions that will lead to the best possible outcomes.

Contributing blogger Niall Shepard holds a Master’s in Business Intelligence and has more than 15 years of experience in the field.

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