“Business Intelligence and Analytics platforms are a type of data management software used by businesses to strengthen their understanding of business operations and make informed decisions leading to growth and refinement. They realize absolute data management with in-built tools that carry out data extraction, sorting, preparation, presentation and finally wisdom generation.”

Hallmarks of Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms

  • Extract structured, semi-structured or unstructured data from non-modelled sources like data warehouse / data lake or external data platforms.
  • In-built data discovery, data storage and data management systems – tools that can record, store and reuse data.
  • Pattern and trend recognition, cluster analysis, profile analysis and principal component analysis tools.
  • Data integration, metadata management and text/content analysis capabilities.
  • Short-cuts that enable one-touch analytical output.
  • Integrated unsupervised machine learning to facilitate intelligent profiling, strategic and operational insights and data blending.
  • Interactive dashboards, visual and auditory aids and multi-media incorporation.
  • Cloud-based data retrieval and management.

These features of a Business Intelligence and Analytics platform allow organizations to easily compile internal and external information and use it to improve the functioning of the business. These platforms perform complex procedures that are part of operations management and analytics and allow human employees to focus on perfecting their business strategy, work ethics and productivity.

The Need for BI and Analytics

Setting up a business, expanding its operations and making it succeed is, by no measures, an easy task. At each milestone, it is important for the organization to realize its needs, strengths, and shortcomings. Such self-awareness, however, is hard to develop. Even at minimum capacity, there are a multitude of processes being conducted by various people. It is in vain to try and keep track of each process, change, failure, and success manually. This is where automation in the form of digital tools and software comes into play. Data management tools, such as business intelligence and analytics platforms, that can manage the recording and storage of business operations data help enterprises to solve their data handling concerns. When the data is presented collectively, ‘Business Intelligence’ appears.

Business Intelligence (BI), in other words, is an organization’s awareness of the past, present and future of its operations.

Software that capacitates Business Intelligence can also be used to –

1)Calculate and analyze performance metrics against Key Performance Indicators (KPI).
2) Compare business performance and strategy to that of competitors.
3) Share data and enable inter-departmental collaborations.
4) Visually represent data and make it easily ingestible.

Once a company can see their operations laid out systematically, it can then eliminate redundant processes, simplify complicated actions, create growth strategy and decide how to proceed into the future. The creation of strategy sprouts the need for analytical expertise.
Simply looking at information cannot provide insight. Analysis is essential to make data meaningful. Having said that, it is important to note the differentiation between analysis and analytics.

While ‘analysis’ refers to “a detailed examination of complex information to draw simplified conclusions”, ‘analytics’ deals with the usage of mathematics and statistics in addition to the conclusions drawn through analysis to identify patterns, predict trends and portray solutions.

Analytics can, therefore, be defined as “the use of digital analysis of business processes, data and market insight to highlight trends and foretell outcomes and possible preventive measures and strategy.”

It now becomes clear, that for an enterprise to flourish, they need to be aware of their weaknesses, operational pain points and correct themselves whenever possible. It is also vital to look into the future and strategize in advance to deal with internal and external changes. Business intelligence and analytics platforms are comprehensive digital solutions that allow enterprises to automate business operations management and analysis to become intelligent businesses.

The Relationship and Interchangeability of Business Intelligence and Analytics

Business Intelligence and Business Analytics are two terms that are often used interchangeably. While Business intelligence is concerned with the operation of a business in the past, analytics focuses on the future. BI illuminates how a business has been running and where the opportunities for improvement lie. Analytics, on the other hand, deals with understanding why things have occurred, whether they will occur in the future, and if they do, how they can be dealt with. BI and Analytics are distinct aspects of a unified goal – business improvement. They go hand in hand and one without the other will only lead to unimpressive results.

Business Intelligence and Analytics – A competitive advantage

It is commonly believed that you should “learn from your mistakes.” Being an intelligent business and mining into the large treasure of data that is generated daily can prove to be a deciding factor in how well the business performs. Business intelligence and analytics platforms provide an insight into ‘what, why and when’ of business operations and business performance. The software can also tell you the ‘how’ related to business enhancement. With digital tools and knowledge at hand, there are no hurdles left to prevent the growth of the organization.