What is Business Intelligence?‍

Business intelligence refers to a broad range of strategies, tools, processes, and capabilities that help an organization learn information about itself, its competitors, and the market as a whole. This information can come from a variety of online and offline data sources, including first- and third-party data, quantitative performance statistics, qualitative feedback and surveys, legal and financial filings, and more.

Business intelligence involves organizing, storing, analyzing, and leveraging actionable insights to help businesses make informed decisions.

Benefits of business intelligence

Business intelligence can create many opportunities and advantages for a companies, including:

Better customer insights and experiences

Intelligence provides valuable information about customer behaviors—what they favor, what they don’t, and why they make the decisions they do. With these insights, companies can tailor products, services, and messaging to meet expectations, as well as create more memorable customer experiences.

Improved business operations and efficiency

When a business understands how its own teams, processes, and workflows function, it can more easily spot areas of difficulty and modify operations, re-allocate resources as needed, and share data across the entire enterprise. This leads to greater efficiencies, stronger outcomes, and higher ROI.

A competitive advantage

Improving internal operations is one way to build a competitive advantage—knowing about the competition is another. When a business has insight into how its rivals operate, what they’re planning, and what makes them successful (and why), it can alter its own approach to improve and capitalize on opportunities its competitors aren’t.

A basis for accurate benchmarking

Benchmarking begins with knowing exactly how a company is performing. By establishing a clear starting point, a business can define actionable, achievable benchmark goals, and start building strategies and timelines to help it achieve those goals

Data-driven decision-making

Data is at the basis of successful business decision-making. When a company has accurate, up-to-date insights on areas of its business and its place in the market, it can set priorities and make decisions based on data—instead of relying on outdated, incorrect, or shortsighted personal feelings or preferences.

Business intelligence best practices and tools

The best business intelligence can’t help a business if it’s not leveraged correctly. To ensure proper adoption and application, business intelligence should be:

  • Available in both in-depth and snapshot formats, depending on the context.
  • Able to display historical and comparison views as needed.
  • Filterable, sortable, and exportable in any format that users require.

To help achieve these usability and implementation goals, companies can turn to business intelligence tools such as dashboards, databases, and visualizations, among other data programs and providers, to provide the proper systems to house and manage their data sets.