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What is Business Intelligence?

Understand the core purpose of Business Intelligence and why it is valuable to an organization.

Breaking Down BI: The Basics

If you Google “Business Intelligence”, there are 75,400,000 results. If we take a business decision and say there are 75,400,000 possible outcomes from the aftermath of this decision, most decision-makers would take a brief bathroom break and fill the sink up with tears.

This is one of the biggest benefits of Business Intelligence, the ability to help management make better informed choices, and keep the sink tear-free.

At its very core, the Business Intelligence or B.I. practice starts with data. This data is considered the most valuable asset within an organization to anyone who develops in the B.I. field and could possibly be the single most advantageous variable that sets a company apart from its competitors.       

An organization has two types of data: qualitative and quantitative. These sets of data can then be used to make dimensions, measures and aggregations. Qualitative data pertains more to the objective measure of something. For example, a customer is choosing a car and the colors or features are qualitative. Quantitative data is based solely on the measurability of something. For example, the same customer is picking between two cars and one is $25,000 while the other in $28,000. From these two types of data we can create models and relationships on B.I. systems. These systems break up the data in two parts:

  1. Measures or the “Fact table”: the numerical values that can be aggregated or mathematically calculated and are at the core of the system.
  2. Dimensions: the different ways to slice and dice data. For example, a date would be considered a dimension because the data can be sliced to just look at a certain date range.

Once the data has been arranged in the proper way it can be made into a data warehouse. These data warehouses serve as a repository for all the data as well as hold the business rules in which the data will be accessed. From this, reports can be generated and many internal aggregations can be made, but moreover external business questions can be answered to.

Without the proper implementation, Business Intelligence solutions companies not only tend to lose to their competitors, but also risk having a dysfunctional organization.

So, in short, Business Intelligence is the structuring of a corporation’s data to answer business questions, improve efficiency, and grow business. A good Business Intelligence architecture helps corporations be better leveraged and intelligible when it comes to making business decisions.

If you're planning out your first BI project, check out one of my other blog posts to help get started with 3 best practices.

Read more about BI at: https://blog.exsilio.com/category/data/

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