What is business intelligence for, how does it work and which business intelligence tools should you choose?

In today's digital age, data has become one of the most valuable resources for any business. But how do we transform mountains of data into meaningful information that can drive business growth? We talk about business intelligence and its impact on making better business decisions.


If you work in a company that harnesses the value of data, it is very likely that you have already heard of business intelligence, as practically all companies already incorporate business intelligence platforms into their business routines.

Business intelligence has become a key part of how organisations can harness the value of their data assets and transform them into intelligence

Imagine having the ability to analyse large volumes of data, discover hidden patterns and gain deep insights into market and customer behaviour. That is exactly what business intelligence does. 

In fact, the goal of BI platforms is to streamline the processes that enable companies to make better decisions based on data. In the business world, data-driven decision making is known as data-driven decisions. In other words, data-driven decisions.

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In this article, we will explore what Business Intelligence is, what it is for and how to implement it in a company to make more informed and strategic decisions.

What is business intelligence?

Business Intelligence, also known as BI for short, refers to the set of technologies, processes and tools that enable companies to turn raw data into meaningful and useful information and insights for strategic decision making. In essence, business intelligence involves collecting, analysing and presenting business data so that companies can better understand their internal operations, the market in which they operate and the behaviour of their customers.

In short, as its name suggests, business intelligence encompasses all those processes and technologies that enable companies to transform their data into business intelligence.

In a world where the amount of data generated is overwhelming, Business Intelligence has become a fundamental pillar for organisations that want to stay competitive. It provides a bird's eye view of the enterprise by bringing together data from a variety of sources, such as internal databases, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, social media, websites and more. This data is processed and ultimately translated into reports, interactive dashboards and detailed analyses that help businesses understand trends, identify opportunities, anticipate problems and make informed decisions.

As we have already discussed, business intelligence encompasses a multitude of processes that, if we were to name them all, would constitute an endless list that would be difficult to digest. However, below we list the best known processes and the most visible face of business intelligence:

  1. Data analysis: Once the data has already been processed and is ready for use, data analysis is carried out which allows experts to discover patterns, trends and relationships that may go unnoticed in a superficial analysis.
  2. Predictive analytics: In recent years, data analytics has been complemented by artificial intelligence to make predictions. Predictive analytics uses statistical techniques and algorithms to forecast future trends and simulate different scenarios, helping companies prepare for the future.

  3. Data visualisation: Data that has already been analysed is represented in the form of graphs, charts and other visual elements so that the information is understandable and can be interpreted and analysed by non-data-savvy business users.

  4. Customised dashboards and reports: Insights extracted from data analysis are captured in dashboards and reports that leverage data visualisation to build visual stories from the conclusions drawn.

  5. Data-driven decisions: Finally, business users make decisions based on the insights extracted from the entire process. Data-driven decisions encourage business leaders to make decisions based on true data and information, rather than on assumptions or intuition.


how does business intelligence work?

Business Intelligence (BI) transforms raw data into strategic information. It uses advanced analytics to discover patterns, trends and relationships in data, providing businesses with deep insights. It helps make informed decisions, improves operational efficiency and optimises business strategies by providing a complete understanding of the business environment and customer behaviour.

How does business intelligence work?

Business Intelligence works by collecting and analysing complex data from a variety of sources. This data is transformed into detailed reports, graphs and analyses, which are interpreted to identify meaningful patterns and trends. Using advanced tools and algorithms, BI creates understandable visualisations, enabling businesses to make informed, strategic decisions. In addition, BI can forecast future trends and simulate scenarios, providing organisations with a competitive advantage by anticipating changes in the marketplace and adjusting their strategies accordingly.

In essence, Business Intelligence is the process of turning data into knowledge, catalysing informed and effective business decisions.

What is business intelligence for?

Business Intelligence (BI) is an essential resource for businesses in the digital age. It enables organisations to make smarter, more informed business decisions. By analysing large volumes of data and turning it into meaningful information, BI helps to identify crucial patterns, trends and relationships in data. This deep understanding of the business and marketplace enables companies to optimise operations, improve efficiency, increase customer satisfaction and ultimately increase profitability. In addition, BI empowers companies to anticipate changes in the marketplace, adapt quickly to emerging trends and make proactive decisions that give them a competitive advantage.

In short, Business Intelligence serves as a beacon that guides organisations on their path to success, providing valuable information for informed and strategic business decision-making.

Business Intelligence for decision-making

Business Intelligence (BI) is an essential catalyst in the modern business world, providing a crucial connection between data and strategic business decisions. In fact, at Bismart we often say that the quality of your decisions depends on the quality of your data.

By delving into the vast oceans of data generated daily by businesses, BI extracts meaningful patterns and trends. This deep analysis gives organisations a clear and consistent view of their operations, their market and their customers, creating a vital bridge to informed and effective decision making.

BI is not just about collecting data; it is about transforming it into intelligible information. By organising and visualising data in a meaningful way, businesses can assess their past performance, understand their current situation and anticipate future trends. This deep understanding is critical to making sound business decisions.

diferencia entre datos, información y conocimiento-Sep-22-2023-12-54-04-2708-PMPersonalisation is another area where BI plays a key role. By segmenting customers according to their behaviour and preferences, companies can tailor their products and services to meet individual needs. This ability to personalise creates a deeper and more satisfying customer experience, which in turn influences sales and marketing strategies.

Anticipation and preparation are perhaps business intelligence's most impactful contributions to decision making. By using advanced analytical tools, companies can foresee market changes and simulate different future scenarios. This predictive capability allows organisations to proactively prepare for potential challenges and seize new opportunities, rather than simply reacting to unexpected situations.

In addition, BI provides instant and detailed feedback on the effectiveness of business strategies. Business leaders can monitor performance in real time and adjust their approaches as needed. This ability to adapt quickly in an ever-changing business world is essential to staying competitive and relevant in the marketplace.

In short, Business Intelligence is the catalyst that transforms raw data into informed strategic decisions. By providing detailed and relevant information, BI becomes the guiding light that illuminates the path to business success, enabling organisations to make informed decisions that drive growth, operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.


Why is business intelligence important in the era of Big Data?

In the era of Big Data, where organisations are faced with massive and complex volumes of information, Business Intelligence (BI) becomes critical for a number of reasons:

1. Managing the abundance of data: Big Data involves large volumes of data from diverse sources. BI helps to manage and analyse this massive data, extracting key information and transforming it into useful insights.

2. Pattern and trend discovery: BI allows large data sets to be analysed to identify meaningful patterns and trends. This helps companies to better understand market and customer behaviour, which is essential for strategic decision making.

3. Make data-driven decisions: In the Big Data environment, making decisions based on intuition or assumptions is not enough. BI provides deep and accurate analytics that support informed and strategic decision making, increasing the likelihood of success.

4. Improve the customer experience: By better understanding customer preferences and needs through Big Data analytics, companies can personalise their products and services. This improves the customer experience and strengthens customer relationships.

5. Optimisation of operations: BI in the context of Big Data enables organisations to identify operational inefficiencies. By analysing detailed data, companies can optimise their internal processes, reduce costs and improve efficiency.

6. Adaptability and competitiveness: Companies that use BI to analyse Big Data can anticipate changes in the market and adapt quickly. This gives them a competitive advantage, as they can respond nimbly to emerging trends and market demands.

In short, Business Intelligence becomes even more important in the era of Big Data because it provides the tools and techniques needed to turn the deluge of data into actionable insights. It helps companies understand their business environment, make strategic decisions and stay competitive in an increasingly complex and dynamic business world.

Who needs business intelligence?

Today, any organisation, regardless of size or industry, can benefit significantly from Business Intelligence (BI). From small businesses to large corporations, government institutions, non-profits and startups, all can take advantage of the benefits BI has to offer. 

In fact, asking who needs business intelligence today is practically an obsolescent question, as any organisation, no matter what type of organisation, would not only benefit from BI processes, but will already need business intelligence to stay competitive.

Any data-driven entity seeking to make informed, strategic decisions can benefit from Business Intelligence. By providing valuable insights and assisting in data-driven decision making, BI has become an essential tool in a wide variety of industries and organisational contexts.

It is safe to say that, in today's context, all companies need to apply business intelligence to stay competitive.

What business intelligence tool to choose?

The BI market is a growing ecosystem that is constantly expanding. As a result, there are a huge number of business intelligence platforms, tools and software. This complicates choosing the right business intelligence platform for your business needs. 

At Bismart, we have previously compared the most popular BI tools on the market. However, business technology consulting firms such as Gartner conduct annual studies and name the best business intelligence platforms on the market. Specifically, Gartner publishes the Gartner Magic Quadrant for business intelligence and analytics platforms every year. 

In recent editions of the Gartner Magic Quadrant, Microsoft Power BI has been positioned as the absolute leader in the business intelligence and data analytics market.

Business intelligence with Power BI

Power BI has become a leading platform in the Business Intelligence market for a number of fundamental reasons that have driven its success and mass adoption.  

At Bismart we are a Microsoft preferred Power BI partner and have been working with this suite of services since they were first released. Our team of Power BI experts could name many, many reasons why Power BI is the best BI tool in the business intelligence market. However, this time we will rely on the testimony of Gartner, one of the world's most influential technology consultancies.

In Gartner's words: "Power BI is now the choice organisations have in mind when they use Gartner's client query service to ask about ABI platform selection: <<why not Power BI?>> is, indeed, the question most companies are asking themselves".

Gartner describes Power BI as a BI platform that provides "data preparation, visual discovery, interactive dashboards and powered analytics. It is offered as a SaaS option in the Azure cloud or as an on-premises alternative in Power BI Report Server. Gartner praises Power BI's weekly cloud updates, highlighting features such as "powered analytics through AI-enriched experiences, intelligent narratives (NLG) and anomaly detection capabilities for exceptional visualisations".

According to Gartner, Power BI is the best BI platform on the market due to:

1. Integration with Microsoft Teams: Gartner highlights the increasingly tight integration of Power BI with Teams, further extending its reach into the world of remote work.

2. Unmatched Value for Money: Power BI has been a driving factor in the significant price reductions in BI platforms in recent times. Its free and paid versions offer technical capabilities and possibilities that are hard to match, and its paid version is particularly affordable compared to other alternatives.

3. Product Ambition: Gartner applauds Microsoft's continued investment in innovative features built into Power BI, such as artificial intelligence and automatic optimisation powered by machine learning, which automatically adjusts query performance.

Power BI vs Excel

On the other hand, although it is not a tool specifically designed for business intelligence, many companies continue to use Excel as a business intelligence tool.

  • If you are interested in knowing the difference between Excel and Power BI, don't miss our comparison: Excel vs Power BI


To recap:

In today's digital age, Business Intelligence (BI) has become essential for businesses. It transforms data into meaningful information, allowing you to discover patterns, understand the market and make data-driven decisions. Any organisation can benefit from BI, and among the options, Microsoft's Power BI stands out for its integration with Microsoft Teams, value for money and constant innovation. While some companies still use Excel, Power BI offers a more advanced, business intelligence-focused experience.

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Posted by Núria Emilio