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Making sound business decisions can be challenging, no matter what industry you’re in. If you want to gain actionable insights and make shrewd, data-driven decisions about the future of your organisation, you need to have a good business intelligence strategy in place.

In this blog, we take a look at what business intelligence means and why you should consider making it an integral part of your organisation’s game plan.

What is business intelligence?

Business intelligence refers to the process of collecting, analysing and presenting important data in an organisation. The term is also often used when referring to the technology, applications and tools that make data science processes (such as data mining, data management and data visualisation) possible.

While business intelligence is largely concerned with examining historical data, data science involves forecasting future performance and predicting future trends. However, the two terms are often used interchangeably.

What is the purpose of business intelligence?

More and more businesses are taking advantage of technologies that help them to collect and analyse information, and for good reason. By making business intelligence a key part of your organisation’s strategy and availing of expertly-developed solutions to make data management more efficient and effective, you can improve decision-making processes and capabilities. This can ultimately improve your company’s chances of success.

For a deeper understanding of why you should incorporate business intelligence into your organisation’s operations, read on.

Why use business intelligence?

According to a report conducted by Wakefield Research in 2020, two-thirds of CEOs still rely on gut feeling rather than data when making business decisions. Perhaps, despite knowing the powerful part that business intelligence can play in decision making, some organisations are simply overwhelmed by the abundance of information available these days. However, it’s important to understand that solutions exist to make the process of gathering and interpreting intelligence simple.

Here are just some of the reasons why you should start investing in business intelligence today:

It’s easier than ever before

If you’ve yet to harness the power of business intelligence, now is the time. Businesses have access to more data than ever before but with technology constantly advancing, the task of managing data is also becoming easier. Data collection and analysis no longer requires manual effort and significant amounts of in-house time. In fact, business intelligence solutions can be engineered to your exact requirements with the aim of answering your most pertinent questions.

It supports and facilitates better decision-making

Whether you want to identify where you should open your next business unit, figure out which markets you should be targeting or understand how to better predict future demand, you can leverage well-organised, cleansed and expertly-analysed data to help you make the right decisions at the right time. This doesn’t completely remove gut feeling from the equation, of course, but you can ensure your hunches are backed up by robust data before making any changes.

It can help you recognise performance gaps

In order to improve an organisation, you need to evaluate what isn’t going well. All too often, business leaders can skim over or completely ignore failings, and many organisations don’t even know what their shortcomings are. Data can help you spot performance ‘pain points’ and identify areas for development. This may be on an individual, team or company level.

It can help you identify new revenue opportunities

Business intelligence can help you to pick out opportunities for growth and diversification. Perhaps your customer engagement data may suggest the potential for upselling or cross selling to certain target markets, or you might find that your current customers have an unmet need that could give rise to a lucrative new business offering.

It can help you spot market trends

Expert data analysis can help you to see patterns and trends in the market and make you better equipped to predict future fluctuations. Looking in detail at past and current consumer behaviour, for example, can help you to identify how customer needs are changing, shifts in consumer values, any seasonal variations that exist and any changes in how consumers perceive your business and its goods or services.

It can give you a competitive advantage

Data is one of the most important assets a business possesses. However, simply gathering data is not enough. In order to get the edge over your competitors, it’s important that your organisation is able to process, analyse, communicate, capture and maintain data. By using business intelligence software, raw data can be translated into meaningful insights that can inform future decision-making. Ultimately, businesses that invest in business intelligence are better able to stay ahead of market trends and stand a better chance of success than those that do not.

It can can help to increase profit

Increasing profit is a goal that all businesses share. If you want to avoid wasting time and resources on business projects that are doomed to fail and instead concentrate your efforts on ideas that are backed up by solid data and meaningful insight, you need to prioritise business intelligence.