Business Intelligence

Although the term Business Intelligence certainly isn’t new (it was first used in the 1960’) with the rise of the amount of data produced and processed nowadays, it is an essential element for any company.

Not so much a technology on it’s own, Business Intelligence (BI) is a technology-based process that combines data analytics and reporting in order to provide companies with valuable insights that allow them to make informed decisions. It’s a way to use data as a valuable guideline to improve efficiency and increase revenue, and to target your customers correctly.

What are the elements of Business Intelligence?

There are few basic features that form part of the whole process.

  • Data analytics – data mining and statistics are used to detect trends, and query to discover patterns
  • Performance metrics and benchmarks – integrating and examining both historical and real-time data in order to achieve KPIs particular to each business
  • Data visualization – a crucial part of any data analysis as it turns it into a visual representation of new insights
  • Reporting – the sharing of discovered insights that allows managers to draw conclusions and make informed decisions

Although the term Business Intelligence is widely used, there is also another term – Business Analytics – that can often appear alongside. The first one is based on descriptive analytics, while the second one on predictive analytics. However, the important thing are the questions both of these processes answer, all of them being essential to companies functionality: What? How? Why? and What next?

Why is BI important?

As we have already mentioned, the main and most important benefit is that it allows companies to make smarter, data-driven decisions.

What does it let you do:

  • Optimize operations
  • Track and improve performance
  • Discover issues or problems
  • Spot market trends
  • Analyze customer behavior and needs
  • Compare with your competition
  • Increase profit

The BI cycle is best explained with an infographic from Tableau, a leading data visualization software. It shows us BI as a cycle of data access, discovery, exploration, and information sharing.

Tableau Business Intelligence scheme
What tool do you use?

With the amount of data that is involved in the process, one of the most important tools is the one that will let you properly inform and present the knowledge you gained. That’s why data visualization is a key instrument.

data graphs

There are various platforms and softwares where you upload all of the necessary data and transform it into a visual representation. Those dashboards are the best way to quickly tell a story and highlight trends or patterns. Charts, tables, graphs, maps and infographics, all reinforced with colours, are visually attractive and can be more informative than plain data sheets. They are also good content both for your customers and shareholders, the example being the video infographic below:

How does BI apply in marketing?

The main question in marketing is: How customers behave, what will they buy next and how can we convince them to do that? Business Intelligence let’s us learn much more about our target group and improve the way we can communicate and engage with customers. This translates into better marketing campaigns based on data-driven insights that will allow to target the right audience and generate the best results.

In this case we need to make the most of all the data available, both external and internal. The external digital data comes from company website and social media, SEO, campaigns, leads and conversions. The internal data is fueled by CRM and shows us client typology, segmentation, customer journey and behavior.

This way we can apply new information to the following tasks:

  • Marketing KPIs
  • Budget analysis and planning
  • Campaign calendar
  • Sales and marketing management
data charts

You can analyze your last campaign and cross data from marketing with information from sales: What type of customer bought our product, where did they buy it and when? How did they learn about the product and so how can we reinforce this channel? Which country do our customers come from and how happy are they with our product?

Those are the types of questions that Business Intelligence can help you answer. 

Pretty useful, right?

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