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September 24, 2020

What Is Business Intelligence (BI)?


Edwin Lisowski

CSO & Co-Founder

Reading time:

7 minutes

What is Business Intelligence (BI)?

Business Intelligence (BI) systems are used to obtain the maximum benefit from the available information in order to improve business processes. This allows for very flexible and effective data analysis – the same information can be viewed both at a high level of general and taking into account the smallest details.

BI increases the speed of operation, often with immediate effects, especially for the financial department, strategy and sales, facilitates the flow of knowledge, and reduces the number of files produced by teams, thus increasing order in the organization.

The information presented and delivered to users in a comprehensive way using analytical dashboards or reports. The created reports can be changed by the user and presented in the form of tables or charts of any type and shape.

Accordingly, Business Intelligence (BI) refers to the tools, technologies, applications, and practices used to collect, integrate, analyze, and present previously unprocessed data within an organization in order to create insightful and useful business information.

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What is Business Intelligence and its capabilities:

  • Create and share interactive reports
  • Monitoring the most important KPIs
  • Easy access to data from various sources
  • Data analysis at various levels of detail, over a period of time

BI as a discipline and technology-based process consists of several related components, including:

  • Data Warehouse
  • Online Analytical Processing (OLAP, Tabular)
  • Querying
  • Reporting
  • Data mining

Data sources for integration

  • ERP (e.g. SAP, Dynamics Nav, Bitrix)
  • CRM (e.g. Salesforce, HubSpot, Dynamics CRM)
  • Sheets (e.g. Excel, Google Sheets)
  • Marketing Automation (e.g. Outreach, Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign)
  • Transactional systems and databases (e.g. SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL)
  • Logs, files (e.g. Text, CSV, JSON, XML, Parquet)
  • Web Analytics (e.g. Google Analytics, Hotjar)

What are the benefits of Business Intelligence?

What are the benefits of Business Intelligence?

What benefits could be particularly significant and bring additional growth?

Turning data into useful information

Raw data is not very informative. BI systems enable comprehensive data analysis to identify important trends that can be used to modify or implement strategic plans and to understand the relationships between the various functions and aspects of the company.

Improving employee productivity and company efficiency

BI makes the data analysis and interpretation process faster and more efficient, so you can quickly analyze your business data as well as generate reports with one click of the mouse. This gives employees more time to devote themselves to running the company than to analyze it.

Real project management assistance

With BI, you will evaluate project results, improve project management, understand the different perspectives of stakeholders, and ensure project profitability.

More effective supervision over the main business components

BI makes it easy to identify each component of the company, including those often overlooked. This makes it easier to identify components that need improvement and change. This streamlines the processes of accurately determining bottlenecks and key activities, which is especially important in fast-growing organizations.

Improving ROI and the ability to achieve goals faster

BI analysis helps you understand how best to allocate resources to achieve your goals. This allows you to increase your ROI by ensuring that your resources are strategically allocated to meet your goals, and it also prevents people from wandering when the results no longer match the goals.

A better understanding of customer behavior

BI analytics allows you to track global, regional, and local customer patterns to better understand current trends. This, in turn, allows us to develop and deliver products and services that are in demand on the market.

Improvement of marketing and sales

By tracking customer and supplier data, BI helps you understand how they interact with your organization at a deeper level, so you can identify solutions to customer problems and better reach them through targeted messaging to drive sales.

Try reading – Business Intelligence For Small Companies.

Who in the organization will use the BI system?

Top management

One of the big challenges of each dynamically developing company is the quick and qualitative preparation of reports. “Is the report ready?”, “Has the management board received the latest report?”, “Did we take into account the important changes from yesterday in the latest report?” – this is just one of many recurring questions and doubts.

Thanks to BI solutions, we can provide automation and personalization of reporting for each person from the management team according to their personal preferences – format, channel, time. It will always be the latest data, always sent on time and always in a form convenient for the decision-maker.

Business teams

The number of presentations excels and different versions of the “same document” for one purpose is often problematic, and extremely burdensome for companies with rapid growth. BI tools allow you to access identical data in one place from any device, any place, at any time, and for everyone. In this simple way, instead of transmitting documents, e.g. by e-mail and increasing the probability of human error in the communication chain, by creating new documents for other people, we can offer all employees access to the same data. Then, each employee can quickly and effectively process the data into appropriate reports or dashboards according to their needs.

IT staff and PMO

Remote access to data via a mobile phone, without the need to carry a laptop everywhere, is a convenience especially appreciated by project managers, department directors, and team leaders. In this way, we can monitor the progress of projects from anywhere and at any time. This allows for immediate response to changes in projects and faster responsiveness in contact with customers.

BI team (reporting)

Access to all information that is needed at a given moment and the importance of searching for important correlations in data sets make Business Intelligence systems strong support for analysis departments. BI tools are a great help in the work of analysts, thanks to the optimization and automation of activities that are usually time-consuming using the traditional approach to data analysis. In crisis situations, thanks to BI support, we can count on significantly faster responses from the analysis team in the preparation of key reports ad hoc supporting the making of important strategic decisions.

What is Business Intelligence and its types?

BI class systems are a very wide spectrum of possibilities, the choice of which depends on the challenges and business goals of the company. In particular, there are such solutions as:

What is Business Intelligence and its types?


Choosing the right Business Intelligence (BI) tool

When choosing the right tool, you need to choose one that increases the involvement of business users in order to make better decisions in a short time and will lead the entire organization to accelerated growth and success. The most important factor is the quick return of the results. By getting a quick and comprehensive view by choosing the best BI tool, you are able to improve your company’s results and ROI.

Below are the key factors to consider when choosing the right BI tool:

  • Data sources
  • Filters and the ability to drill down
  • User web interface
  • Visualizations
  • Security
  • Data export
  • Mobility

What is successful Business Intelligence (BI) implementation, understanding, and use?

First of all: speed, usability, order

Access to all information that is needed at a given moment makes Business Intelligence systems strong support for managers of many departments of companies. This applies in particular to managers of finance, sales, and IT departments as well as members of management boards.

BI class systems are intuitive IT tools that really facilitate work. The use of BI solutions offers powerful opportunities to increase overall business efficiency at the operational level.

For dynamically developing companies, BI can help achieve many relevant and monitorable (or already monitored) KPIs that will improve after implementation. The overriding added value is maintaining better organization of documents and improving the flow of knowledge in the company.

marketing, sales, innovation

finance, management, HR


If you would like to implement Business Intelligence solutions in your business, contact us. We will help you extract knowledge from your data, integrate it into (ETL) Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) and turn it into daily insights.


Business Intelligence