What is business intelligence?


Is business intelligence just another buzzword created by software vendors that will ultimately disappoint? Or is it going to deliver the much-promised benefits? Here’s what we think…

Let’s keep this simple

The first thing to say is that business intelligence (BI) isn’t just one thing. This is not what you will hear from software vendors that will have you believe BI is just a piece of software (usually theirs). In fact, BI is a combination of software, infrastructure and skills that provides access to, and analysis of, information to optimise decisions and business performance. It is also used to improve decision-making, cut costs and identify new business opportunities by recognising patterns in operational data and backing them up with hard numbers. In other words, BI helps you to make better business decisions because you’re not having to rely on inaccurate gut feelings.

But how easy is all this to achieve?

Like all things data, BI promises a lot, but implementations are full of technical and cultural challenges.

Follow a few simple steps, however, and you should have a good foundation to make your adoption and use of BI a success:

1. Make sure your data is both clean and consistent

2. Define success before you start

3. Ensure you have a key sponsor and align stakeholders around him or her

4. Scope what kind of reports you want to create by asking what questions you need answers to

5. Treat it as a work in progress (first deliver reports that provide the most value, then tweak)

6. Ensure your users are thoroughly trained or you have an outsourced team in place to work the system for you

7. Don’t buy software until you have points 1 – 3 in place!

Find out more

If you are thinking of implementing a BI solution, get in touch with Ipsos Jarmany. We aren’t tied to any particular software company and we have the experience and expertise to make sure your implementation is a success. Talk to us to find out more.