The global business intelligence market is expected to be valued at 33.3 billion USD by 2025. 

This startling statistic is less surprising when you consider the vast amounts of data we now deal with all day, every day — and acknowledge the fact that digital advancements and other technologies are largely responsible for this overwhelming abundance of information. 

For too many organizations, however, data in and of itself is not as valuable as it could be. That’s because raw data in an unstructured form is difficult to translate into meaningful insights. But the field of business intelligence aims to address this challenge and turn information into something usable and actionable. 

What is business intelligence?: An overview

Today, thanks to the increasing digitization of the modern world, we have access to vast amounts of information — called big data. Business intelligence (BI) is a broad term describing tools and methodologies of deriving data, means of storing it, and ways of combing through it and analyzing it. Ultimately, the goal is to transform vast amounts of unstructured, raw data into actionable insights.

Through the help of BI, organizations can better evaluate their business procedures and processes and anticipate outcomes. 

BI has numerous components, such as:

  • Data visualizations
    • Tools and platforms for gathering and analyzing data (business intelligence software)
    • Analytics
    • Data mining

The goal is to make better decisions that are informed by data.

As you might guess, BI impacts a various of industries and departments, from human resources to marketing to finance. Practically any type of organization or field can benefit from the insights of BI.

5 Benefits of BI

1. It improves your decision-making.

BI informs everything, from your profit and loss reports to your marketing efforts.

Today, it’s not enough to act on intuition, much less impulse. Any business’ decisions must be driven by data. Thanks to BI, this is possible. You’ll have access to information quickly, faster than human capabilities allow. And you’ll see it in a digestible format, such that you understand the data with which you’re presented. 

Using this accessible data, you will be well-equipped to support your decisions and point to real facts to justify them. 

2. You will see results in real-time.

On a related note, BI produces real-time data, allowing you to act quickly and make informed choices immediately. The rate at which insights are produced far exceeds that of human capabilities. What’s more, BI software and tools evade human error, thanks to AI and other technologies, and produce results that are well-informed and structured in an actionable format. Data visualizations and reports allow professionals to understand the information and use it accordingly.

Of course, all of this happens at lightning speed, so you don’t need to waste time waiting to make decisions — you can act immediately.

3. You will learn about consumer behavior.

Understanding your current and prospective customers is an invaluable perspective to bring to your business. You must have the capacity to put yourself into your audience’s shoes and discover their wants, needs, preferences, and behaviors. Thanks to BI, you can do just that.

BI allows you to see how your consumers act — campaigns they respond to, social media habits, times they’re most active, calls to action they click on, emails they open, products they’re drawn to, apps they download, and so on. BI dashboards will break this important data down into meaningful insights, enabling you to view trends. This will inform your future efforts and better target audience segments accordingly. 

4. Your employees will be more productive.

Just as important as understanding consumer behavior is organizational efficiency. A large part of that is employee productivity. 

BI allows you to gain insight into how your employees are spending their time — which tasks are taking the most time, or too much time, as the case may be; when they are most productive; output vs. input; and more.

This information will enable leaders to make decisions about how to institute changes and improvements to their processes and procedures. Among other decisions, they can better determine the best tools to use, efforts to overhaul, and more. This can lead to overall institutional improvement.

5. You’ll stay ahead of the competition.

One ultimate goal of any business is to stay ahead of their competitors. Armed with BI insights, you are better equipped to see what your competitors are doing and consider how you can make your own efforts even better.

Gaining this competitive advantage positions you to perform at a higher level in your market, in terms of project profitability, consumer needs and preferences, future plans, and much more. Plus, you can track your progress and consider you can grow as a business.

Of course, it’s critical for all businesses to use this data to inform their decisions, and those that don’t risk being left behind. From developing new products to improving operations internally, BI insights and analytics are pivotal for bringing your organization to a new — much improved — arena, one where you are armed with information to support your choices and serve the needs of current and prospective customers.