IT Business Intelligence
IT Business Intelligence, also known as "BI", describes the practice of using technology to gather, organize, classify and analyze a business' data. The role of Business Intelligence is to help companies make strategic decisions regarding the direction of the business. This is why IT Business Intelligence systems are also known as "decision support systems." Business Intelligence can be performed at the macro level to analyze "big picture" company activities or it can be used at the micro level to examine projects and specific processes. There are three major steps in the BI process: identification, extraction and analysis.
Identifying the data to be analyzed is the first step in an IT Business Intelligence system. In this step, IT staff meets with stakeholders to determine the goal of this BI project. This is known "requirements gathering." Exhaustive requirements gathering is essential because every subsequent step in the BI process hinges on decisions made and action items planned here. After all interviews have been completed, the Business Analysis staff outlines the scope and the steps of the project. After the project has been signed off on by management and finalized, it's time to gather data.
Depending on the type of IT Business Intelligence project being undertaken, computer data to be analyzed might be sales statistics, market data, client information or even stats on competitors' performance. Regardless, the truth is this data comes from multiple sources in exceedingly divergent formats. In the extraction step, developers process the data. It is classified, organized and standardized so the end user can easier make "apples to apples" comparisons. Extraction takes raw data and organized it for easy analysis.
In this step, the end product of the BI process - cleaned, organized data - is examined for the purposes outlined during the end-user interviews during the Identification Step. Computer Desktop Business Intelligence applications present the data to the user in a useful way so that they can analyze it and make business decisions based on it. What decisions are made and what BI is used for in each case is determined by the original purpose determined in the planning stage.
IT Business Intelligence systems are designed to identify, extract and analyze data so business managers can make informed decisions. BI has many practical applications where it can be used to effectively support the decision-making process. Some of these include company performance evaluation, benchmarking, competitive analysis and predictive analytics.
Company Performance Evaluation
The only way a company can really know where they stand is through thorough analysis of current and past performance. Just examining sales or profits for the last quarter isn't enough. Companies need to use IT Business Intelligence to gather large amounts of data from all departments, depending on their goals, to get a completely accurate look at performance. Utilizing BI to its fullest, companies can determine their current performance and measure it against goals and other parameters to make decisions that will impact their business now and in the future. Benchmarking
Thorough data gathering and analysis through IT Business Intelligence will only add to established benchmarking processes. Companies use benchmarking to compare current performance to established metrics and best practices. Business Intelligence, with its painstaking approach to complete data assembly, can greatly contribute benchmarking practices.
Business Intelligence isn't just about using data to get a better look at your business, its performance and where it's going. BI processes can also be applied to analyze the actions, performance and health of competitors. Businesses can gather detailed data on specific competitors and the market as a whole to evaluate how rivals are doing and where the entire market stands. Companies can't thrive just by looking inward. IT Business Intelligence provides methods to get a much better look at other businesses and make the decisions needed to compete and win. Predictive Analytics
Companies can, in a way, utilize Business Intelligence to predict the future. The complex data gathering and analysis the takes place during the BI process allow a company to analyze their current actions and past performance in order to make educated guesses regarding their future. Business Intelligence tactics can also look at the past and present of the market to build predictive models covering the future of the market segment itself. The practice of using Business Intelligence for predictive analysis can be seen in use in the accounting field, the insurance industry, telecommunications and many more.
Technology has changed the way companies do business, and IT Business Intelligence is just another example of this. BI decision support systems help companies gather, organize and analyze mountains of information into usable data. This data can be used for many reasons, such as benchmarking, current performance, market analysis, future analytics and planning and much more. As businesses become increasingly reliant in technology, BI systems with become more prevalent in order to assist corporate decision-making.