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What is Business Intelligence (BI)?

Business Intelligence (BI) is a set of technologies, processes, strategies, and tools used by organizations to analyze raw data and turn it into meaningful information. The aim of business intelligence is to enable data-driven and tactical decision-making within a company and providing stakeholders with insights about the business’s current state, trends, and future actions.

The term was first used in 1958 in an article by Hand Peter Luhn and was coined by the Gartner Group in the early 1990s. Originally, it was mainly IT experts who used BI tools and ran complex queries to create reports and dashboards for stakeholders. However, thanks to the development of self-service BI tools, more and more employees from different industries and with different roles are using business intelligence. Especially in connection with big data, the analytical component of business intelligence is becoming increasingly crucial.

How does the Business Intelligence process work?

A business intelligence process involves storing data in a data warehouse or smaller data marts. Data lakes are also used as repositories for BI and analytics data. The raw data from different source systems needs to be integrated, consolidated, and cleansed before being used in BI applications.

Key components of Business Intelligence include:

  • Data Collection: Gathering data from various sources, both internal (databases, CRM systems, spreadsheets) and external (market research, social media, industry reports).

  • Data Integration: Combining and transforming data from different sources into a consistent format for accuracy.

  • Data Warehousing: Storing integrated data in a centralized location for easy access and analysis.

  • Data Analysis: Applying BI techniques such as reporting, visualization, OLAP (Online Analytical Processing), and data mining to analyze patterns and extract insights.

  • Reporting: Generating reports, dashboards, and scorecards that present data in a comprehensible format for monitoring performance.

  • Data Visualization: Using charts, graphs, and heatmaps to visually represent complex data for better understanding.

  • Business Performance Management: Setting KPIs (key performance indicators)and goals to track organizational performance using BI tools.

Benefits of using BI

Using Business Intelligence (BI) offers numerous benefits to organizations across industries. Here are some key advantages of implementing BI:

  • Informed Decision-Making: BI provides accurate, timely, and relevant information for data-driven decisions. In fact, Business Intelligence can improve decision-making processes by up to 69% by providing timely and accurate insights.

  • Improved Operational efficiency: Process streamlining of data collection, analysis and reporting made easy!

  • Better Data Visualization: Interactive dashboards provide a deeper understanding of complex data.

  • Real-Time Insights: Business Intelligence solutions provide real-time or near-real-time access to data.

  • Competitive Advantage: Insights into market trends and competitors’ activities are easily available to companies with BI tools. Organizations using BI are 26% more likely to gain a competitive advantage.

  • Enhanced Reporting: BI tools generate customizable reports and dashboards for specific information needs.

  • Improved Customer Satisfaction: Business Intelligence helps understand customer preferences and behaviors for tailored strategies.

Although we should often rely on our gut feelings in everyday life, it rarely helps to optimize the performance of a company. This is where business intelligence reduces the risk of missteps and increases the probability of making data-based decisions that benefit the company and its employees.

Business Intelligence Tools

Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) tools are at the heart of all BI solutions. These combine the entire spectrum of data processing and make it available for reporting.
If you are interested in real-time BI applications in the area of reporting, Report Builder for Jira will be a loyal helper. Report Builder combines powerful BI reporting, as you know it from big BI tools, with the simplicity of an out-of-the-box Jira report, combined with unbeatable real-time data. So you are perfectly equipped for your business intelligence journey!


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