Business intelligence (BI) refers to strategies and tools employed by enterprises for data analysis and information management. Data is crucial to any organisation in the world, and globalisation has led to the generation of large amounts of data. Business operations generate data in the form of emails, reports, presentations, contact centres, and many more. For a structured enterprise, it is necessary that data collected from these sources be gathered in a central place and analysed to create insights that can accelerate growth.
Business intelligence helps enterprises to build a data-driven culture. Since the world thrives on big data, it is only right that your enterprise embraces the right approach to business intelligence. Business intelligence has transformed over the years, and there are new trends you can jump on to accelerate growth and achieve your business goals this year and beyond.
Before we delve into these trends, let’s break down business intelligence so you have a better understanding of what it entails and how it can be adopted by your enterprise.
How Does Business Intelligence Work?
The efficacy of business intelligence stems from the combination of systems and tools used in transforming data into business insights. The processes involved include:
- Data collection from multiple sources and transformation: The first step in it is the collection of data; structured and unstructured. The data are then transformed and stored in a central location, otherwise known as a data warehouse. Storing data in a central location makes analysis easier and helps enterprises save time.
- Data analysis: This is done through data mining to find patterns and outliers, which give insight into the enterprise’s current state.
- Data visualisation: From the findings in the analysis, there are BI tools that make it easier to understand and share information. This is done using reporting methods.
The next step is to implement the insights by creating action plans and making changes accordingly. Of course, business intelligence is an ongoing series of processes, and there is no end to it because data will always be collected and stored for as long as a business exists. Therefore, enterprises and even small businesses must adopt business intelligence tools and strategies to remain relevant.
Certain people are particularly skilled in business intelligence. They are known as business intelligence analysts, and it is their job to analyse data and use it to help businesses in decision-making processes. They are tasked with any or all of the following:
- Breaking down important business data from the data warehouse.
- Interpreting the broken-down data.
- Sharing insights as well as recommendations derived from the insights.
They must possess adequate knowledge and expertise with database tools like SQL and Excel, data visualisation tools, coding languages, finance, and business. They must also possess excellent communication skills.
Every organisation needs one or more business intelligence analysts that can guide them through data analytics and the business intelligence space as a whole.
Business Intelligence Trends
Here are 3 current business intelligence that enterprises in Nigeria can key in to accelerate growth and stay ahead of the competition in their industries:
- Data Literacy: Although Business Intelligence (BI) has existed for a while, it is still a relatively new concept, and companies have struggled with understanding its basics. This also caused a slow adoption rate of business intelligence strategies and tools in organisations. However, current trends are showing that companies are beginning to see the light, and now know the value of data analytics implementation across organisational operations. They now understand that insights pave the way for decision-making and no longer separate analysis from decision-making.
Before businesses can get to the stage where data informs all aspects of decision-making, they must create a solid foundation in data literacy. Without data literacy, they won’t be able to make sense of the data they collect and store, and consequently, they will be unable to drive any change that might help them grow. It is important that enterprises have a data literacy culture whereby all employees possess the skills to interpret data, derive insights, and appropriately communicate them.
Companies that will thrive in the digital age are data-driven. However, there is an existing gap between data analysts in organisations and non-technical employees. Yes, there are business intelligence analysts who are specifically trained to become BI experts. Still, non-technical employees can’t be left out. A degree in Science or Engineering shouldn’t be a prerequisite for data analytics.
Businesses need to encourage a data-first culture so employees can do the same. The data literacy trend of business intelligence is seeing more companies promote data-driven culture by organising training and other creative ways to teach employees the hows of data analysis and application. This can be seen as an investment, as employees are upskilled and can contribute more to the growth of the organisation.
- Collaborative Business Intelligence: Collaborative BI is another trend of business intelligence where teams in organisations collaborate by sharing and discussing insights in real-time. In technical terms, it is the unification of business intelligence software with technologies for collaboration to enhance a data-driven decision-making culture in an organisation.
Does this sound too technical? Let’s break it down.
If you are familiar with the Slack app, you must be well aware of how it lets team members share data through documents, links, and other data assets. They can also tag themselves and create channels for specificity. This is what we mean by real-time data exchange and discussion. Collaborative BI tools are not limited to social networking applications like Slack, which only satisfies the need for one aspect of the collaboration – communication. The other part of the collaboration includes Web 2.0 technologies and tools. Popular collaborative BI products for enterprise-wide usage include Microsoft SharePoint and System Applications and Products (SAP).
SAP is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software system used by businesses to aid business intelligence strategies and processes. Hidden Brains offers SAP integration services for Nigerian businesses that want deep business insights for essential business operations. We help businesses develop intelligence-driven mindsets.
Collaborative BI is important for organisation-wide data analytics and reporting. It is necessary that all the systems/teams in an organisation can have seamless, constant communication and connection. It also supports data literacy in organisations. You can say the trends in business intelligence are interwoven, and that’s sort of the point.
- Self-Service Business Intelligence: This is also another trend in business intelligence that promotes data literacy. There is no intelligence without data or the understanding of data, so it is only right that BI trends promote data literacy. Self-service Business Intelligence tools allow employees in enterprises to become independent of IT experts. They allow enterprises to make decisions faster and smarter with the use of real-time information that is communicated the right way.
Self-service BI tools give clear insights from the analysis and transformation of internal business data into structured, detailed reports at a faster rate.
How does this tie into data literacy for enterprises?
When other teams in an organisation are data literate and can analyse data on their own, they no longer have to wait for insights from the IT team. They can interpret data without technical help. This makes IT resources readily available for other teams and saves time and other resources used in business processes. Non-technical teams can create their reports and eliminate ad-hoc reporting. This way, they can develop data reporting skills and accelerate growth in the organisation.
Things To Look Out For In A Business Intelligence Software
Enterprise business intelligence software can’t be integrated into business operations without verifying that its features are compatible with the process and its ability to accelerate business growth. There are on-site BI systems and BI cloud systems. BI analysts must be able to discern which of the two is best for the data needs of the organisation. They can also choose to combine both systems. Here are some important features to look out for in a BI software:
- Compatibility with hardware for data accuracy
- Scalability to handle larger volumes of data whilst maintaining efficacy
There are other trends in business intelligence, like data democratisation and data governance. They all tie into data literacy. The nucleus of BI is data, so it is crucial that organisations build a data-first culture, as mentioned earlier. Data is the future, and organisations that speak data, own the future.
Hidden Brains is a leading software company based in Lagos, Nigeria, set to guide Nigerian enterprises through digital transformation. Business Intelligence is a must-have for businesses on a digital transformation journey. We offer different services that can help your enterprise adopt business intelligence strategies and tools. From our integration services to our consulting services, we are here to see you through the entire process.
You can reach out to us via our email, [email protected], or call us at +2348141261421 for enquiries and consultation. You get 30 minutes free!
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