In this video, Joshua Rischin outlines what business intelligence (BI) is and the types of insights it can provide. Learn how business intelligence can provide key insights.
- Many years ago I'd just finished presenting a report to one of my clients and I'd just delivered my biggest finding. They were spending way too much on their HR function. That's when the client glanced at the report and then glanced back at me and said, "Prove it." As consultants, our findings must be backed up by evidence. And today, this usually means data-driven evidence. You may have heard the term business intelligence used before. And I've stopped to sometimes ask people what they think this term actually means.
I get all kinds of answers, but here are just a few. Some people say it means big data. Others think it simply means dashboards. Forecasting and predictive analytics is another common response too. And then there are others that think business intelligence has to do with data visualization products such as Tableau, Cognos, and SAP. Now, in a sense, all these responses combined give you the answer. Business intelligence, or commonly known as just BI, is the term used to describe how information that organizations collect or have access to can provide critical business insights and in turn be used to inform management decisions.
You may think BI is just another corporate buzzword, but did you know it's actually been around for more than a century? In fact, we've been using it as part of common business language since the '90s. And as the amount of data available continues to grow, the use of BI in the corporate world is more relevant today than ever before. So what does BI actually do? Well, the insights gathered from business intelligence can help answer key questions such as what's driving my business today? What are the emerging trends that business leaders need to be aware of? What are the reasons for these emerging trends? And lastly, what is likely to happen if the client doesn't intervene? This is sometimes referred to as predictive analytics.
With BI insights, organizations can decide to discontinue products that aren't meeting their sales targets or, on the flip side, expand their operations because of increased consumer demand. Okay, let's go back to my client that looked me square in the eye and told me to prove it. Prove that they were spending way too much on their HR. By using business intelligence, I established KPIs, that's key performance indicators, that I knew were common across the industry.
And this helped me prove that their business spent 20% per annum more than similar sized businesses in their industry. As consultants, when you and I use business intelligence effectively, we empower our clients with the insights they need to strengthen their businesses.