How Business Intelligence Is Helping Businesses

Just as knowledge is power, data is the foundation of business success. The Internet has given us the opportunity to collate data covering numerous aspects of business—from user demographics and consumer trends to trade volumes and transaction cycle times.

The 4.8 billion Internet users in the world generate 2.5 quintillion (that is 18 zeros) bytes of data each day. To put this in perspective, every day, 500 million tweets are published on Twitter and approximately 306.4 billion emails are sent and received.

However, too much data can be a problem in itself. Faced with such an overwhelming mountain of data, businesses have the challenging job of sifting through extraneous information to find, identify, extract, and analyze relevant data.

Data visualization seeks to create clarity out of information by presenting raw data in the most efficient and comprehensible way possible. This used to be a highly labor-intensive undertaking, but data scientists have now harnessed the power of technology to compile data and generate it in a visual form.

What is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence (BI) refers to the umbrella term for technology and tools that enable data collection, management, analysis, and visualization. A BI system processes raw data, turning it into easy-to-digest graphs, charts, and reports. These data visualizations provide actionable information and thus facilitate data-driven business strategies.

While most businesses believe that they need to embrace Big Data, few of them have traditionally had the access to advanced analytics. Until now. Today, there are several BI tools available such as Microsoft Power BI, Google Data Studio, and Tableau. These tools range from basic dashboard builders to highly technical platforms.

Power BI is an agile and powerful tool that is relatively easy to use yet features impressive data flow and data modeling capabilities. It also integrates seamlessly with other products within the Microsoft ecosystem such as Excel and Access, allowing users familiar with these programs to easily grasp how it works.

The Benefits of BI

BI has benefits for your business and a multitude of statistics back it up. Research has found that the use of analytics and data visualization has a return of $13 for each dollar invested—a remarkable ROI. This is because real-time reporting enables the prompt recognition of trends and patterns, allowing business leaders to make critical decisions.  

Without the support of BI tools and data visualization, it is difficult to identify the connecting factors of independent variables. It is similarly extremely tedious to manually collate data to examine trends over time and the frequency of certain occurrences, such as purchases.

According to statistics, it would take an average of nine extra hours for businesses to notice trends and correlations in data without the use of data visualization. Having a strong and timely understanding of these indicators will allow businesses to respond quickly to prevent problems and formulate effective marketing and client acquisition strategies.

In addition, BI tools streamline the data dissemination process by eliminating the need to wait for staff to formulate reports. Managers with access to data visualization tools are 28 percent more likely to efficiently find the information they need and 48 percent of them can access the data they need without the assistance of IT personnel.

And because a large majority of information transmitted to the brain is visual, data presented in a visual form greatly reduces the time we need to absorb information. In fact, visuals have been proven to improve learning and retention by 400 percent. Applied in the business environment, data visualization has been found to shorten meeting times by 24 percent.

Learn to Use Power BI

If you are looking at harnessing data visualization for your business performance, Power BI is essential software. Due to its versatile and scalable nature, it is useful to professionals who perform different roles within an organization such as accountants, administrators, designers, marketers, and sales personnel.

Power BI is a popular data visualization program with a large market share thanks to its integration with the Microsoft Office suite. Therefore, there are many educational resources available online to assist aspiring professionals in learning how to leverage its capabilities.

Microsoft has Power BI tutorials on its website including step-by-step guides, videos, and hosted webinars. However, you can also sign up for hands-on, instructor-led training at professional training academies to get the most in-depth understanding of how to use the program. Courses generally range from half a day to two days.

With huge streams of information flowing through the digital landscape each day, businesses must find a way to paint a clear picture with data. With data visualization, we can display information in a format that is simple for us to comprehend.

Business intelligence uses the power of data visualization technology to enable professionals to identify trends and key information. With the support of business intelligence tools such as Power BI, stakeholders and business owners can make better decisions based on real-time data and intelligent data modeling.