Business intelligence and strategic decision-making

By Brynne Henn - August 19, 2021

In a world where business intelligence is everywhere and BI tools are plentiful, how do you get ahead of the competition?

The right business intelligence system can accelerate business processes and work in tandem with decision makers to boost productivity, efficiency, and evaluation. But many business intelligence tools on the market—while they promise real-time and “big data” insights—oversell the quality and specificity of data analytics that they offer.

The way to gain a competitive advantage with your business decision-making is simple: Choosing business intelligence systems that crunch data and use artificial intelligence and machine learning to spot patterns and trends that are invisible to the human eye.

Business intelligence is a broad umbrella term used to describe the entire collection of practices, technologies, and strategies within a business where data analysis occurs. Everything from Excel spreadsheets to KPI dashboards to employee satisfaction surveys falls under the category of BI. The end goal of every business intelligence system is to draw actionable information from data warehouses throughout an organization.

To put more simply, intelligence—by definition—exists whenever there’s an analytical approach taken with decision-making. Business intelligence, on the other hand, is a subset in which data analytics support the decision-making process of a business.

No matter how analog you perceive your current business analytics to be, some manner of business intelligence tools are already in place. But the next step is evaluating how well these BI tools generate recommendations that truly enhance the decision-making process.

How does business intelligence help us make better decisions?

Unlike computers, which rely mostly on numerical data, humans are better learners when visualizations are involved. It’s easier for us to discern a change to a graph than it is to measure a half-percentage-point dip in productivity in raw data, for example. Therefore, one of the most popular functions of BI tools and decision making is the transformation of data into data visualizations. With the click of a mouse, business intelligence systems can create visualizations of core business information, such as KPIs and aggregated performance metrics, along with providing much more.

Business intelligence tools empower stakeholders to be decisive and effective in their business decision-making, helping to automate resource-intensive parts of business analytics. All of that loading, organizing, and cleaning of data warehouses will be streamlined with the right BI system—no more copying old datasets from multiple sources.

No more heavy lifting around extracting, transforming, and loading raw data. No more need for drawn-out manual querying and trial-and-error hypotheses. BI tools unify data analysis under one system to generate real-time insights all day, every day.

A business intelligence system further empowers stakeholders by stripping bias out of the decision-making process. By relying on data analytics tools that view a business objectively through raw data, BI systems can point decision-makers to a new course of action that isn’t weighed down by historical precedent or long-held assumptions.

Business intelligence removes risk involved with personal relationships and favoritism having influence over strategic business decisions.

Benefits of using business intelligence for business decisions

There’s a reason why Gartner continually highlights the growth and potential of BI in its Magic Quadrant reports. Case studies from leading companies around the world (like Kitu Super Coffee in this Sisu case study) show how the right business intelligence system can drive the decision-making process, and generate significant revenue.

That’s especially true of more advanced BI systems that are powered by augmented analytics—the use of AI and machine learning within business intelligence.

Business intelligence tools have a long track record of success in areas like consumer management. For example, companies such as Coca-Cola have leaned on BI and big data systems to track social media reactions to promotional campaigns, which in turn guides marketing decisions. Automated BI software takes user data and sorts customers based on their activity and engagement levels. This feature of BI helps stakeholders target consumers more appropriately.

Another growing use of BI is bringing automation to core business processes like the supply chain. Often, delays or changes to work orders have ripple effects throughout a business. Adjustments take time to manifest because they must be communicated across multiple channels and separate data systems, requiring significant effort to be planned around. But the right business intelligence system can respond to real-time changes and optimize everything from distribution routes to manufacturing output.

And this doesn’t scratch the surface of all the ways that BI tools can leverage data mining or be combined with predictive analytics to forecast market trends. The right BI system unlocks a data-informed path that leads to continuous competitive advantages over time.

Strategic decision-making is easy with Sisu

Sisu transforms the analytics workflow of your entire business. Sisu’s decision intelligence engine—already tapped by companies like Samsung, Wayfair, and Mastercard—will make the complex, messy, and time-intensive process of drawing insight from data hassle-free. We make sure to put your data to work in ways that fuel smart growth.

Schedule a demo today to learn more about the industry’s first decision intelligence engine that’s fully equipped with augmented analytics.


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