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Posted March 9 2020
Written by Valérie Veilleux

What is Business Intelligence (BI)?

Every organization knows this for a fact, databases are at the core of their daily activities. Whether it is receiving an order or establishing a long-term strategy, it is crucial to have access to the right information at the right time to guide their choices. It is thanks to that data that organizations can make tactical and strategic decisions to improve their performance, reduce their costs, and grow their competitiveness.

Currently, it seems that all companies have the same bad habit of manually and individually creating reports. Indeed, it is often observed that many resources of the same organization use several Excel files to do their work. These reports are generally hard to keep up to date and do not draw their data directly from the enterprise resource planning (ERP) databases. As a matter of fact, these reports can even pose a risk for the company due to lack of integrity of comprised data and its analysis.

How can Business Intelligence help an organization?

The solution to that issue lies in Business Intelligence systems, or more commonly called BI. BI is in fact an essential process that allows its users to accurately react to internal and external events by relying on precise analysis directly related to business processes. Simply said, BI is a decision-making tool.

Thanks to business intelligence, it is now possible to access a common platform that allows us to simply and quickly view insights to optimize operations, business processes, and decision-making. BI is a comprehensive set of tools that offers several advantages such as: 

  1. Gather databases in one place;
  2. Quickly analyze huge volume of data in real time;
  3. Integrate the latest information technologies;
  4. Gain access to prepackaged application solutions;
  5. Facilitate communicating information to the entire organization.

To better understand the BI hierarchy, here is an illustration that simplifies the functioning of business intelligence tools:

Business Intelligence BI Framework_What is Business Intelligence BI_Createch

What characterizes BI?

Data

BI is a group of sets comprising items of raw value that are used for calculations, measurements, or reasoning. The data has no meaning if not analyzed in a specified context.

Information

It is the result of gathering and organizing data in such a way that it becomes possible to establish relationships between the data items and their meaning in a specific context.

Insights

It is the concept of understanding the information from established models that provide a conceptualization of the information. Insights are the result of a business intelligence process translated into dashboards, reports, and alerts. The strength of good BI tools resides, among others, in their ease of use and handling of insights. Indeed, with those tools, it is really simple, in only a few clicks, to compare business performances with business objectives.

The Data Warehousing Institute defines Business Intelligence as follows:

"The processes, technologies and tools necessary to transform data into information, information into insights, and insights into action plans. Business Intelligence is a combination of data warehousing, business analytics tools, and content-insight management.”

How to Successfully Implement BI

The implementation of business intelligence in an organization is not to be taken lightly since several issues could disrupt the project; some aspects should therefore be taken into account:

The Quality of the Data

Because it is at the heart of BI, it is crucial to have reliable data to get accurate insights. Therefore, developing and implementing data management processes is necessary. Furthermore, creating a protected and centralized data warehouse for the purpose of business analysis is also necessary.

A Good Strategy

Business intelligence is more than just an IT tool, it is a process that requires to be properly implemented. It is crucial to have an excellent business strategy to organize, structure, and exploit this new process. It is also necessary to put together a good team to manage BI-related needs throughout the entire organization.

Training

Users must have access to training and support tools to be able to use BI to its fullest capacity and prevent them from going back to their old methodology.

Business Intelligence tools available on the market

It may be difficult to make the right choice of BI tools as there are currently a lot of them available on the market. In order to better guide your research, here are the 2 tools that Createch is recommendating.

Microsoft Power BI

Since its creation, in 2014, Microsoft Power BI is known to be the best BI solution available on the market. By offering various packages (Power BI Free, Power BI Pro, and Power BI Premium), the software is targeting companies of any size.

What sets them apart from the competition is the fact that they are the only ones able to connect to over one hundred different data sources for the purpose of reporting and dashboarding. 

Power BI is also available as a desktop version to access functions such as creation and modification and in a cloud computing version for the publishing and sharing of insights. Rest assured, the safety of your data being at the core of the platform, it is possible to configure the safety level surrounding your data with Power BI Services, there is no need to worry about its confidentiality.

Microsoft Power BI_Dashboard_What is Business Intelligence BI_Createch

SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC)

This solution, created in the SAP laboratories, succeeds in dusting off the old traditional SAP BI offering: accessible on line as a SaaS, SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) is a comprehensive application that comprises the three following functions:

  • Data analysis;
  • Planning;
  • Predictive analysis.

SAP reached a huge commercial success with this; users really appreciate its flexibility, the possibilities of intelligent interactive dashboards, not to mention the speed at which it can be implemented! Cloud computing is a synonym of “no installation required,” a good Internet connection will suffice to format or visualize any reports on any device.

SAP Analytics Cloud_Difference between SAP BI SAP BW SAP BO_Createch

Reach Out to Createch for Expert Advice

Business Intelligence is a term that is becoming more and more part of the vocabulary of any modern organization. It is a complex process to implement that requires the collaboration of several members of an organization to ensure its success.

Whether you need assistance with the analysis of your processes, the choice of a BI software, or to implement related tools, we are available to help you with your projects, contact us!

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