Business Intelligence, the technology that reorganises data

A company has an enormous amount of data, collected over the years through management software, documents, spreadsheets... All these data are valuable, but if they are not aggregated or transformed in an appropriate manner, they remain of little use. In order to have an overview of the state of the company, Business Intelligence becomes a valuable tool.

What is Business Intelligence?

The term Business Intelligence was first used in 1865 by Richard Miller Devens to describe how the successful banker Henry Furnese had created a network of merchant informants across Western, Central and Northern Europe that provided him with information to beat the competition.
However, the term did not return until 1958, when researcher Hans Peter Luhn used it to describe the ability to understand fact-based relationships that encourage the achievement of certain commercial goals. Luhn described Business Intelligence as an automated system for disseminating information between different departments or divisions of an organisation, a definition that is close enough to the way we use it today. Until the 1990s, however, the term was little used in industry, and over time its meaning has evolved to include applications, systems and methods for analysing business information.

Business Intelligence is therefore a process of collecting, analysing, validating and transforming company data that aims to make it available in a structured, simple and always up-to-date way. The data presented in this way constitute a highly precise knowledge base and can help the company in the strategic decision-making process based on them. Business Intelligence is a set of activities carried out to make accurate information on the company's performance available at all times, so that the manager can make business decisions based on information updated in real time.

The applications of Business Intelligence are numerous in both business and economic sectors. It can be applied, for example, to manage personnel, or to analyse sales and monitor the general management of the company in depth.

What are the professional figures in BI?

In order to build a good Business Intelligence process, appropriate professionals are needed, each with their own task:

  1. Business Project Sponsor: has the task of leading the various functional departments of the business and establishes what the business needs, that is what Business Intelligence must provide.
  2. BI Solution Architect: decides, according to requirements, how to implement Business Intelligence in the best possible way.
  3. BI Analyst: has the knowledge of the IT and business world and is able to communicate with all the figures of Business Intelligence to propose the most appropriate solutions.
  4. Model Designer: defines the data model for analysis activities.
  5. Visual Designer: uses the data model to create dashboards and reports.
  6. Data Architect: designs the data warehouse that will host the data model.
  7. ETL Specialist: it takes care of feeding the data warehouse by recovering data from different sources such as databases, documents, Excel files.

What benefits can Business Intelligence bring to the company?

The benefits that can be obtained from a Business Intelligence project are numerous:  

1. Data quality

The information used by end users comes from validated procedures using certified data.

2. Right decisions at the right time

With Business Intelligence the company always has at its disposal the main indicators of business performance and for this reason the management is able to intervene quickly.

3. Reduction of costs and risks

Reporting and dashboarding times are significantly reduced. With Business Intelligence the company reduces the risk of making bad decisions because they will be conveyed on the basis of certain data.

4. Independence between business and IT department

With full Business Intelligence, the Business and IT departments will be independent and can each work on their own different activities. Their cooperation will be required much less and only in the face of new developments.

At NSI - Think Outside the Box, as a digital transformation enabler, we help companies redesign their business processes and grow with customized IT solutions and digital products.

Next time we'll tell you what the trends are in the application of Business Intelligence... but if you're already curious and want to learn more about the benefits of Business Intelligence write to us!

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