Business intelligence allows organizations to better understand, analyze, and even predict what’s occurring in the overall environment and in their company. BI helps your organization turn data into useful and meaningful information which you can distribute to those who need it, when they need it, wherever they need it, so that they can make timely and better informed decisions.
It allows organizations to combine data from a wide variety of sources and see an integrated, up-to-date, 360-degree view.
This is especially important for middle sized companies. These kind of companies are typically able to more quickly implement business decisions. BI provides a great solution for IT and business users by allowing the IT department to be more productive in working with its business users.
Typical uses of a BI solution for a midsize company can be to:
Determine the inventory level of a product or part
Identify its best-selling products
Identify customers that are cutting back on their purchases so that special inducements can be offered to retain them
Implement dashboards and scorecards so that executives and supervisors can quickly recognize operational exceptions or key performance indicators (KPIs) that are important
- Establish and monitor performance metrics and take corrective actions if they are in danger of not being met
- Compare year-to-date sales for this year with last year and forecast what sales are likely to be for the entire year
- Integrate operational, spreadsheet, and historic data for analysis purposes
Provide business users with the ability to perform their own ad hoc analyses without having to involve scarce IT resources
- Align daily operations with strategic objectives and quickly recognize when they are not in agreement
We mentioned just some of them.
Also, what is important to understand, is that business intelligence is not just about tools and their applications. It’s also about distribution and control.
Reports should be able to be published to the Web and delivered to a user’s preferred mobile device. Of course, not every employee should have access to every report or analysis. That's why, administration, monitoring, security, and control
are also part of the BI environment.
The use of commercial BI products does not necessarily mean the elimination of spreadsheets. BI can provide controlled linkage of spreadsheets to up-to-date data while enforcing proper distribution and control so that “spreadsheet chaos” is no longer an issue. The ability to locate and search out relevant reports is also part of the BI landscape, as a report is of little value if no one knows it exists or how to find it.