The digital revolution has made it easier than ever for businesses to collect valuable data. It’s become so easy to do so, that a new problem has been created, and that’s how to interpret the great amount of information now available. Many organisations today don’t even know what data they’re sitting on or how they can use it to their advantage. It’s for that reason that Business Intelligence has emerged as the favourite information management tool of countless businesses. But what is Business Intelligence, and how is it used?

Business Intelligence transforms data into insights

Business Intelligence is an umbrella term that refers to a number of methods and processes used to collect, structure and analyse data. BI can include everything from business analysis and measurement values to visualisation of data. With the right BI tools, you can get insights into what practices work better or worse for your business than others, and create the conditions for ways of working that are more proactive than reactive.


What distinguishes modern BI from traditional BI?

To the untrained eye, a concept like Business Intelligence may sound unnecessarily complicated. But as with other seemingly obscure buzzwords, there’s a simple explanation as to its meaning. The term Business Intelligence was coined in 1958, but developments in the field since that time have been enormous. Today, we collect and analyse data in entirely different ways than before, so nowadays it’s common to hear people talk about traditional BI and modern BI.

Traditional BI still exists in some organisations, but it’s quite inefficient and certainly more time consuming compared to modern BI. Historically, BI has primarily been used by IT departments, technical experts and analysts to create reports and produce statistics. Generally, the tools have been far too technical for anyone else in the organisation to be able to benefit from them, and perhaps that’s why BI has a reputation for being complex.

Modern BI, on the other hand, aims to be a “self-service” kind of BI that allows everyone in the business to access answers to their questions about various initiatives and activities with ease. With modern BI, you can follow-up any changes in practice on the go, and statistics are presented on a visual dashboard that makes complex information easy to understand. This makes identifying business opportunities faster, using data as a basis for all decisions the company makes.


Business Intelligence (BI) vs Artificial Intelligence (AI)

When it comes to data management, there’s sometimes confusion between Business Intelligence (BI) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and when to use which. A BI tool aims to make it easier for the user to analyse valuable information. BI presents quick insights that help decision makers act strategically based on the available data. Artificial Intelligence instead refers to systems that use machine learning to analyse information and make their own predictions about the future. In short, BI packages and shows you data so that you can make better decisions, while AI interprets data itself.


More people are benefiting from Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence puts businesses’ raw data in context. What does that mean? Well, depending on what information you’re after, with a modern BI tool, you can ask your own questions on how different business practices have performed or are performing and get answers right away. These insights can lead you to do either a simple follow-up operation or more in-depth data analysis. Modern BI can enlighten you on everything from finances to marketing, and growth to customer service. Has our latest sales activity generated more leads than before? Did our product launch not go as planned? Which communication channels work better or worse than others for our business? A BI tool allows you to gain real understanding and takes the guesswork out of decision-making. Also, BI tools can often be directly integrated into your existing business systems as little dashboards so that your follow-up operations are as frictionless as possible. Simply put, BI makes everyday life easier for everyone in your company, regardless of their position or the size of the team.


Decision-making that’s data-driven

Most people agree that the best decisions are made based on truths and not assumptions. This is where Business Intelligence comes in, and makes sure decisions are based on factual information and not gut feelings. Of course, visual dashboards and reports don’t quite mean ready-made solutions to all of your challenges. But they do make it easier to interpret information, and that creates the conditions for you to make decisions that are informed by data. As such, you can be sure you’re doing more of what works well and less of what doesn’t.

The reasons why more and more organisations are embracing data-driven decision-making are many. It often increases profitability, reduces costs, and challenges your competitors. Don’t take our word for it! A study by McKinsey Global Institute showed that data-driven organisations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, 6 times more likely to retain customers, and 19 times more likely to become profitable than their non-data-driven counterparts.


Lime BI Analyze is designed to help businesses grow with the help of data-driven insights, no matter what industry they’re in or who in the company uses it. Discover new opportunities, follow market trends and be more prepared for change.

Read more