Business Intelligence: Imperative for Making Successful Decisions

Janifha Evangeline | Monday, 29 March 2021, 02:24 IST

Transforming data into actionable insights is highly imperative as this helps organizations in making strategic and tactical business decisions. This is where BI comes into the picture. While the use of BI tools is of paramount importance in large organizations, today, small, and medium-sized organizations are also looking for investments in this software owing to the benefits associated with it. Historically, BI tools were based on a traditional business intelligence model and it was a top-down approach where business intelligence was driven by the IT organization and most of the analytics questions were answered by static reports, but the modern BI is interactive and approachable.  

A successful BI program is the one that produces a variety of business benefits for the organization implementing it. Business intelligence is not highly imperative for business growth, but it can also be used to gain a competitive advantage in business. However, reaping benefits from Business Intelligence requires more than implementing the technology that enables it.  

Deploying the technology is the easiest part of any BI initiative, according to Boris Evelson, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. Getting the personnel and processes portions right is much more challenging, he says.

That being the case, an organization that wants to be successful must address personnel and processes as the key facets of its BI strategy.

According to Business Intelligence experts, the following are some of the essential components of any successful BI strategy.

  • Business ownership over BI

Organizations that place BI in the hands of business users have greater success rates than those who confine BI within IT, Evelson says. This may mean embedding BI within lines of business or having BI operations report to the chief digital officer or chief customer officer.

“The business must absolutely be in charge,” he adds.

While the complexities of early BI technologies held IT in charge of many BI programs, the tools used today are more intuitive, enabling and allowing them to go to the business users, so that they can run only those queries that they need.

Similarly, in recent years, the speed at which users require access to data and insights that are derived from business intelligence (BI) has gone high dramatically. However, business users today need actionable information in real-time and would simply not wait for IT to generate reports.

As such, IT ownership can be an impediment, rather than an enabler, of BI success, Evelson says.

  • Monitor BI use and adjust as required

IT must always remain an active partner in monitoring and evaluating the use of BI systems, even though the businesses should own BI initiatives.

As Evelson explains, “Rather than putting up roadblocks, monitor what they’re doing, what data sources they’re accessing, what tools they are using and how they are using them, whether business unit A is using BI more than business unit B.”

In this way, he says, the CIO can set thresholds in partnership with business units. For instance, the CIO will know whether a few analysts in marketing have downloaded their tool and are successfully using it, in which case it may be fine to leave them alone.

  • Validate

“Organizations may be tempted to quickly spin out a lot of BI capabilities, but quality outweighs quantity, says Chris Hagans, Vice President of operations for WCI Consulting, a consultancy focused on BI. “It’s better to have fewer things you trust than have a whole lot of things that are suspect,” he adds.

Consequently, organizations should not only require a strong validation process that mainly focuses on authorizing access to all the data that is required to answer queries but should also avoid problematic data from entering the BI system as it would not lead to producing faulty insights. Furthermore, the validation process must be agile enough in order to respond quickly to new BI function requests.

Bridging the gap between the data and its real-world applications

Diverse, and numerous, data management is now highly critical in modern BI deployments owing to the complex data sources. Moreover, as a large number of workforces use data to drive decisions, organizations must not only ensure accuracy within their data but also its use in the analysis.

Intending to address the data management and governance challenges that arise with this broader data access, organizations have now turned to data curation. While Data curation comprises the way an organization captures, cleans, defines, and aligns disparate data, the whole process helps in bridging the gap between the data and its real-world applications.

Most of the organizations are spending millions of dollars on technologies that particularly facilitate integrating data definitions with the analytical tools, which help in analyzing the data intending to eliminate or avoid ambiguity across teams and organizations as well. To achieve this, data curation tools and processes that include the data catalogs and semantic governance are connecting with BI platforms for linking data with business context.

Importance of conveying information to decision-makers

How much ever we automate, however huge our dataset is or however clever our calculations are, if we are unable to communicate findings to others, there will not be any impact through our analysis. And this is where data visualization comes into the picture. Data visualization is becoming standard for data analysts to learn and know how to convey information to decision-makers, and this should be done in a way that is not only actionable but also very easy to understand.

The surge in demands for dashboards for data visualization to enhance the ability in making business decisions is anticipated to bolster the growth of the Business Intelligence market size. Various types of data visualization tools are implemented by organizations across verticals to easily interpret data and extract actionable business insights.

Analytics adoption

“We need to rethink how we measure the benefit of BI. It’s not just about who has access. It should be about how people are using analytics to inform their decision-making processes. That’s adoption,” says Josh Pareneau, Market Intelligence Director, Tableau.

Most often, BI initiatives possess a well-defined start and end date. And it is unusual for these to be always regarded as ‘complete’ after they are rolled out to users. However, only providing access to business intelligence solutions isn’t the same as adoption and Chief data officers are re-evaluating how BI adoption plays a part in a strategic shift towards modernization. This is because actual value is not measured by the solutions, we deploy but by how the workforce executes the solution to impact the business.

The future role of Business Intelligence

According to recent reports, the global business intelligence and Analytics software market size are anticipated to reach USD 33770 Million by 2026. Factors bolstering the growth of this market include the increasing focus on digital transformation, rising investments in analytics, and surge in demand for dashboards for data visualizations, and increasing adoption of cloud and growing data generation.

Business intelligence is continually evolving as per the requirements of business and technology and organizations realize that AI and ML will continue to grow so that businesses can integrate the insights from Artificial Intelligence into a broader BI strategy. Since organizations strive to be more data-driven, efforts to share data, and collaborate will increase and data visualization will be even more crucial to work together across teams and departments.

Don't Miss ( 1-5 of 25 )