What is business intelligence and why does it matter?

BI refers to the process that offers intelligent decision making for businesses

The hype around a smart, data-driven world is here to stay. For businesses, this means finding ways to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into their technological frameworks to help them make better business decisions. This is where business intelligence (BI) comes in. 

BI is a technology where data is collected, stored, and analysed to optimise the performance of the business. This can be done through data analytics to provide the necessary answers for BI to assist users in the form of meaningful information that goes on to make informed decisions.  

Although commonly mixed up, AI and BI are not exactly the same. While both can assist businesses, AI is a much broader concept that is all about replicating human intelligence, which can benefit a lot of industries. BI, on the other hand, only refers to the process that offers intelligent decision making for businesses.  

Business intelligence and the world

According to research, the global BI market is forecast to reach a CAGR of 8.7% by 2028. London is considered to be the largest tech hub in Europe, with Austin, Seattle, and New York taking the lead in data and tech in the United States, leaving San Francisco and Silicon Valley aside. The Asia Pacific region too is developing at a fast pace with South Korea becoming increasingly popular with data analytics. It’s without a doubt the direction the entire world is moving towards, and businesses want to have a competitive advantage by hiring BI professionals. 

The role of Business Intelligence in an organisation  

In order to succeed today, businesses need to be all about data. To do so, business leaders must allow everyone to have access to business data and help them understand it.

What is data analytics?  ❯

BI is a platform that just makes this whole process so much easier. 

What can BI do in an organisation? 

  • Forecast sales and profits 
  • Analyse customer behaviour 
  • Compare competitor data 
  • Optimise business operations 
  • Spot trends 
  • Analyse marketing campaign results 
  • Automate reporting and access to all stakeholders 
  • Predict success and discover problems early 

BI completes these tasks using various processes and tools that give a comprehensive outlook of an organisation, helping to eliminate inefficiencies and streamline success. 

Data mining is one such process undertaken by BI. It extracts raw data into practical, useful information. Its main purpose is to study large databases and statistics to uncover trends that businesses can use to understand risks and rewards. 

Descriptive and statistical analysis are ways used to understand how and why these trends happen. Preliminary data is analysed to find out the reason something happens, and these results will be further explored with statistics for better understanding.  

Another important BI process is reporting, which as the term suggests, is enabling end-users to access the data and use it. Reporting makes data available to everyone and this empowers users with the knowledge to become experts in their own fields.  

Out of all the processes BI uses to help organisations, data analytics is one of the most important parts that goes hand in hand with BI. Data analytics investigates, analyses, and demonstrates data in many ways that provide use for businesses.

Not familiar with with all the data analytics terms?

Read the glossary  ❯

How do BI and data analytics work together?  

The best way to understand how data analysis works with BI is knowing that BI helps to draw strategic conclusions from data analysis.  

Data analysis is a technical tool that BI uses, which is focused on data alone. The data collected by the data analysis process is used to ask questions such as ‘why did this happen?’ and answer all possibilities to that question. 

BI uses this information, analyses it with other outcomes, and breaks it down further into actionable decisions the business can take. Data analysis can help a lot of industries, but working with businesses is becoming more popular than ever before.  

How can an MSc in Data Analytics help? 

The field of BI is leading to more competitive businesses all over the world. The University of Portsmouth’s online and part-time MSc in Data Analytics provides you with a sound educational background to build a career in this industry, where you'll learn valuable data analysis skills.  

This course is designed for real-life challenges with hands-on experiences. You’ll study Business Intelligence as a dedicated module that will equip you with everything you need to know  - starting with various software applications, particularly Tableau, to analyse, discover, and visualise valuable insights into an organisation. This module will also cover the areas of financial data, data warehousing (storing data), and decision making processes to give you an all-round understanding of this fast-paced industry.  

If you’re keen on becoming a data expert in business and want to step up your career, learn more about this online Masters: 

Explore the course  ❯

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