Session 8: Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence: Not Just for Bosses Anymore

Business intelligence (BI) refers to the use of technology to collect and effectively use information to improve business effectiveness. Different information systems may be successful at helping users accomplish specific tasks, but they’re typically not well suited at providing information to end users. With business intelligence, users will be able to turn this information into knowledge, and knowledge into profit.

BI enables an organization to track, understand, and manage its business in order to maximize enterprise performance. With BI, organizations are able to improve operational efficiency, build profitable customer relationships, and develop differentiated product offerings.

The widespread use of information technology can generate tremendous amounts of data within an organization. This data contains information that is invaluable to the organization’s decision makers.

The issue for most organizations is that the data is inaccessible to all but the IT department. While IT can run queries and produce reports at the request of business users, a self-service approach to information provides the greatest benefits. With direct, easy access to information, users can find answers to all the questions that are raised by their activities. Armed with precise, up-to-the-minute information, users can develop effective responses that help their organization attain its goals. BI is the key to leveraging this wealth of data that accumulates in an enterprise.

With BI, non-technical users can pinpoint what drives their business activity. BI can help reduce costs, increase revenues, and improve customer satisfaction. While many of these benefits are clearly quantifiable, some of the more intangible ones, such as improved communication throughout the enterprise, improved job satisfaction of empowered users, or sharing of intellectual capital, can give your business the greatest edge over its competitors.

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