What is Business Intelligence and Its Applications
Without a doubt, technology not only provides us with new environments in which to promote our businesses (social networks) or advanced management tools (CMR, ERP…), but it must also provide us with the possibility of better understanding our company and its position in the market. And this means being able to gauge the results of our business strategies and make more objective decisions, based on mathematical data and not on intuitions or wishes.
In short, manage our businesses intelligently. An option that has been accessible only to large companies, but today technology makes it available to everyone. Although it is true that even the fabric of professionals and SMEs do not know how to exploit (because they have not been taught) the new business intelligence tools. We are advancing,
What is Business Intelligence (BI)?
We could define BI as a business and project management methodology or process that allows a company to obtain information from the data it generates, analyze it and consequently make the best decisions aimed at defined strategies and objectives. We insist on the concept of operating more intelligently, based on mathematics and not on intuitions and wishes. BI has structured around three pillars or basic concepts:
Everything originates from the data generated and collected by the company itself. Let’s imagine a manufacturer of water filtering systems. Each filter is governed by an electronic control unit, which controls or monitors the filtering time, the self-cleaning process, the water pressure, etc. This control unit sends all this data to the manufacturer’s online processing platform. Let’s multiply this data by thousands of filters installed around the world, constantly sending data. This Big Data operation is essential for BI.
The data sent by the thousands of switchboards reach the processing platform and are organized according to filter model, filtering system, age, location and weather conditions it supports, type of water, if it is cultivated and its type, if it is industrial, etc. Once the data is organized and related, it begins to acquire meaning, it begins to give us information. The data is stored in a database called a data warehouse.
If we analyze the information obtained from the data, we can draw conclusions. A hypothetical conclusion could be that the systems that filter through a mesh and are installed in tropical areas need replacement of the mesh cartridge after 20,000 hours of work. How have we detected this?
Well, the graphs have shown us that the water pressure inside these filters in these areas and with this system, begins to decrease after those hours of work, reducing the effectiveness of cleaning and consequently shortening the cleaning interval because the filter gets dirtier.
After “knowing” this circumstance, we can program the switchboards, or our own support system, so that when this happens it notifies the client or so that, after 20,000 hours of work, the system sends the client and our support department a notice of filter check.
Infrastructure and resources needed for BI
Business Intelligence is the result of connecting different technologies and computer equipment. Very basically, these are some of the components or steps necessary to do business intelligence:
- Data collection system, whose sources can be from sensors to emails.
- Data storage in the aforementioned data warehouses.
- OLAP (On-Line Analytical Processing). A solution that allows you to analyze large amounts of data.
- Self-service business intelligence platforms and tools, where the analytics process is streamlined, make it easier for people to see and understand data, even if they don’t have technical analytics skills. On these platforms, the information is displayed graphically and in a user-friendly way.
Business Intelligence Applications
Here are some examples of how BI helps companies.
- Analyze customer behavior
- Compare our data with those of the competition
- Optimize operations
- Predict whether we will be successful with a certain strategy
- Identify market trends
- Improve products or services, adapting to demand and customers
- Improve customer experience and loyalty
BI is closely linked to other concepts such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Big Data. All these technologies are applied to the company and are aimed at understanding what is happening and defining what decisions to make and how to execute them, which is a great contribution of BI to the business world.